The main dietary challenge in organic laying hen production is to fulfil the digestible methionine (MET) requirement in a diet consisting of ingredients of organic origin only. The aim of the present experiment was to determine the response of organic housed laying hens (26–34 weeks of age) to dietary energy and MET during a summer and winter trial. Per trial, a total of 128 17-week-old Brown Nick hens were allotted to 16 pens, which were connected to an outdoor run. Each experiment comprised 8 dietary treatments according to a 4 × 2 factorial design. The factors were AFD MET level (2.3, 2.7, 3.1 and 3.5 g/kg) and energy content (10.9 and 12.1 MJ). Dietary energy content did not affect energy intake (1361 kJ/d) in summer, whereas energy intake in winter was increased in hens that were fed on the 12.1-MJ diets (1514 vs. 1421 kJ/d). Maximal egg mass in summer was achieved if a diet with 3.5 g/kg MET was given, corresponding to a digestible MET intake of 421 mg/d. During winter, maximal egg mass was achieved with a digestible MET intake of 360 mg/d, which was already realised with a MET content of 2.7 g/kg. Because digestible MET content for maximal egg performance differed between the summer and winter trial, dietary energy to MET ratio might be adjusted to seasonal conditions.
van Krimpen, M. M., Binnendijk, G. P., Ogun, M., & Kwakkel, R. P. (2015). Responses of organic housed laying hens to dietary methionine and energy during a summer and winter season. British Poultry Science, 56(1), 121-131. https://doi.org/10.1080/00071668.2014.989196