16 LOHMANN TIERZUCHT › MANAGEMENT GUIDE 16 General To get the best out of the genetic perfor- mance potential of LOHMANN Layers, feed- ing them with a good structured mash feed with full nutritive value is a must. Such nutri- tion can best be guaranteed by a complete feed adapted to the performance potential. Our feeding recommendations concentrate on the essential nutrients and are designed to cover the requirements for the best per- formance in every stage of development. Ad Libitum Feed Supply LOHMANN Layers and their breeders are specialised birds selected for a high egg production. Because of their high turnover rates “feed into food”, they have a big de- mand for nutrients. Layers in full production convert roughly one third of the consumed nutrients into eggs. There is no danger in wasting feed by supplying feed ad libitum, because the hens can adjust their intake to the nutrient density of the feed. But there is a real danger in restricting birds in feed in- take. An undersupply of nutrients will harm the birds. They lose production and once exhausted, they easily can run into a health problem. Feed Consumption Feed consumption is mainly affected by: › Body weight › Performance › House temperature: Low temperature increases the maintenance requirement for energy. › Condition of feathering: Poor feathering condition due to management mistakes or malnutrition increases the maintenance requirement for energy. › Feed texture: Coarse and homogenous texture increases while fine texture de- creases feed intake. › Energy level: The higher the energy level of the feed, the lower the feed intake and vice versa. › Nutrient imbalances: The hen will try to compensate for any nutrient deficits by increasing feed consumption especially in the latest age of production. Rearing A balanced and nutritious diet during the rearing stage is essential to enable the chick to develop into a mature pullet. Chicks and pullets should be fed a coarse diet (for parti- cle sizes see table on page 16) of a NUTRITION