As broiler breeders are restricted in their feed intake, it is important not to feed during the period the eggs are produced. As the production of the egg takes the individual bird a rather long time, she might choose not to stay in the laying nest long enough with the change to lose her portion of the feed. Feeding during the period of egg laying will increase the chance of floor eggs.
For similar reason, we also do not want to feed during the last hours of the day, as during this time, most of the matings take place. If we supply feed in this period, the number of matings might be reduced.
This actually leaves us two main periods of feeding.
- The first period is directly after the light goes on in the morning. As from this moment onwards, it will still take one or two hours before the eggs are produced.
+ The advantage of this system is that the feed is digested before the middle of the day. Especially in hot climates this is an advantage, as excessive heat production in this period should be avoided.
+ A disadvantage is that some feed will still be available when eggs are produced, if the feeding time takes too long.
+ Another, bigger disadvantage is that the calcium for the egg shells is already released from the blood by the time the egg shells are formed, during the dark period.
- The other option is to feed after the majority of the eggs are produced, about 6-8 hours after the light has been turned on.
+ The advantage of this system is that feed is given during day time, which makes control easier.
+ Also the availability of calcium in the blood is at the correct moment, especially when a coarse source of calcium is used.
+ A disadvantage is that digestion and with it maximum heat production occurs at the warmest moment of the day.