A total of 2 400 medium type pullets was used in an experiment to compare three methods of nutrient restriction from 2 to 20 weeks of age. The treatments consisted of the following: two quantitative food restriction treatments designed to reduce body mass at 20 weeks by l5 and,30% below that of a group fed ad libitum; 2 low lysine treatments: a low protein treatment balanced in respect of all amino acids, and a control treatment reared according to present commercial practice. Egg production performance was monitored from 20 to 68 weeks of age. There was considerable variation in food consumption to 20 weeks, with pullets on the low lysine treatments recording the highest intakes. Body mass at 20 weeks of age was significantly reduced by all restriction treatments, and sexual maturity was delayed proportionately The delay in sexual maturity resulted in a significant reduction in the production of small and medium sized eggs. At 68 weeks of age there was no significant difference in total mass of eggs produced, total hen-housed egg number, or percentage hen-housed production. Mortality was not adversely affected by any of the rearing treatments. There was very little variation between treatments during the laying period. However, it would appear that the quantitative restriction treatment is the method of choice, due to the considerable saving in food cost during the rearing period.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher