Effect of early feed withdrawal on subsequent laying hen performance.

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Two experiments evaluated the effects of short periods of feed withdrawal early in production on subsequent performance of laying hens. Laying hens of the H&N strain (22 or 20 wk of age) were full fed (control) or deprived of feed for 4 or 7 days when they reached 10% production. Egg production was evaluated for 45 wk, but other performance data were collected for 32 wk because no treatment differences existed beyond that point. Feed withdrawal for 4 and 7 days caused BW losses of 14 and 20%, respectively. In Experiment 1 (winter), BW at 2-wk postwithdrawal for hens that did not eat for 7 days were reduced (P < or = .05) compared with controls or hens that did not eat for 4 days. However, in Experiment 2 (summer), BW of hens deprived of feed for 4 or 7 days were lower (P < or = .05) than those of controls. Average early egg weight (Weeks 1 to 6) was not different among treatments in both experiments. The only observed effect of treatment on long-term egg weight was that egg weight for 7-day hens was greater (P < or = .05) than for controls in Experiment 2. Early hen-day egg production was depressed by 4- or 7-day feed withdrawal, but long-term production was not different between control and 4-day hens in both experiments. However, hen-housed production was lower (P < or = .05) for 4-day hens compared with controls in Experiment 2. Fewer (P < or = .05) eggs were produced by 7-day hens versus controls in both experiments.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2229-2235
Number of pages7
JournalPoultry science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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