19 LOHMANN TIERZUCHT › MANAGEMENT GUIDE 19 Pre-layer feed should be used for a short pe- riod of time before a flock starts being sup- plied with phase 1 layer feed. This leads to a smooth transition from the developer feed (low calcium and low nutrient density) to a diet with high calcium and nutrient levels. It helps to avoid the often reduced appe- tite/daily feed intake during early produc- tion. Typically, pre-layer feed contains about 2.0–2.5% calcium. This is too much for a typical feed for rearing but not enough for a bird starting to produce eggs. From a nutri- tional point of view, it’s therefore considered a compromise and never as “optimal” feed. Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile to use pre-layer feed for a short period of time. Correct use can enhance the uniformity of a pullet flock. It’s especially beneficial for flocks with very low uniformity and also aids the develop- ment of Ca-metabolism in medullar bones. Since pre-layer feed is a compromise feed for the short transition period, it cannot supply a bird in full lay sufficiently. Therefore, it cannot be used when feed logistics and correct tim- ing do not work. Please consider the following recommenda- tions while using pre-layer feed: › Start using pre-layer feed dependent on to the birds sexual maturity, age and their standard body weights. › Use pre-layer feed for about 10 days with a maximum of 1 kg per bird. › The wrong way to use pre-layer feed is ei- ther to start using it too early and/or use it too long. For example if the onset of lay is scheduled for the 19 th weeks of age, you may start feed- ing the birds with pre-layer feed only after they are 17 weeks old. In case of an earlier or later production, ad- just this schedule accordingly. Age at transfer Feeding program week days kg feed Followed by kg feed 15 105 1.0 ➔ 1.0 16 112 0.5 ➔ 1.0 17 119 – ➔ 1.0 18 126 – ➔ 0.5 after 18 after 126 immediately supply start lay feed or layer phase 1 feed Correct Use of Pre-Layer Feed NUTRITION