18 LOHMANN TIERZUCHT › MANAGEMENT GUIDE 18 reached. A reduced nutrient density and an increased content of crude fibre (5–6 %) dur- ing this phase is beneficial for improving eat- ing capacity. The pre-layer diet has about twice the calcium content of developer as well as higher levels of protein and amino ac- ids. Feeding such a diet for about 10 days prior to the planned start of lay is therefore beneficial. This diet improves flock uniformity by providing a better nutrient supply to late maturing birds and by enabling early matur- ing birds to obtain sufficient calcium for egg- shell production of the first eggs. Crude Fibre Crude fibre, sometimes described as insolu- ble NSP*, may not have nutritional values for poultry, but it does have other benefits for a healthy and stable digestive physiol- ogy. Used in the second half of the rearing period, it can positively influence the devel- opment of the digestive tract, the crop size and the appetite of pullets. This is beneficial for young layers, especially at the start of production, when the appetite of the birds is sometimes not sufficient enough to meet their nutrient demands. The tool has been proven to be very beneficial under varying feeding situations in a lot of countries. This is the reason for the implementation of a minimum recommen- dation of crude fibre (5–6%) in the developer feed for LOHMANN L ayers. Cereals and their by-products (e.g. bran) or oil seed by-products (e.g. meal of sunflow- ers or rapeseed), can be used as a source of crude fibre. DDGS** can be used as a source of crude fibre as well. Other raw materials, which are rich of crude fibre, may be used if available, but only as long as their inclusion does not reduce the energy level of the diet. With a classical corn-soy diet, the recom- mended crude fibre content can hardly be achieved. In such cases, other feed ingredi- ents must be used. For advice, please contact the technical service department at LOHMANN TIERZUCHT . There so called “fibre concentrates” available for special use. * Non-StarchPolysaccharides ** DriedDistillersGrainswithSolubles