The primary aim of this study was to investigate the impact of three dietary levels of lactose (LAC) originating from conventional dried whey (DW) and the duration of these treatments (from 8 to 21 or to 42 days of age) on growth performance, basic post-slaughter traits and excreta quality of broiler chickens kept in cages. A secondary purpose was to investigate the effect of LAC level on some parameters of the caecal micro-environment and gross morphology in these birds. A total of 560 Ross 308 chickens (sex ratio 1:1) were assigned to 7 dietary combinations with 10 replicate cages of 8 birds per cage. The control group was fed basal diets consisting of maize, wheat and soybean meal. The other 6 groups received the same basal diets with DW added in amounts equivalent to a LAC dietary levels of 1, 2 or 3%. Only continuous feeding (day 8 to 42) with 1% and 2% levels of LAC was found to yield the overall body weight gain (BWG) during the whole 42-day rearing period, which was significantly higher than that on the control diet, with a larger share of breast meat in carcass at a 2% LAC. However, these effects were associated with greater faecal score values indicating more watery excreta compared with the control. Increasing levels of LAC augmented the relative caecal weight and length. A reduction in the caecal pH was confirmed at day 21 for birds fed 1% and 2% of dietary LAC. The lower pH values were correlated to an increased sum of total volatile fatty acids (VFA), causing large increases in the concentration of undissociated forms of individual VFA. The decline in plate counts of coliform bacteria was observed with 2% and 3% LAC, whereas the counts of lactic acid-producing bacteria (LAB) were higher at these two LAC levels. The present findings lead to the conclusion that the dietary level of 2% LAC originated from DW is the most effective in enhancing the productivity of broilers, with moderate occurrence of undesirable side effects.