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Significance of Light in Poultry Production: A Review



Lighting is an essential for development and functioning of reproductive system and growth. It is a powerful exogenous factor in control of many physiological and behavioral processes. Cold Cathode and Fluorescent bulbs are mostly used as light and it affected by variables like lamp type, reflectance of the floor, walls, ceiling and height intensity of affect. incandescent or fluorescent lights may be used. Lighting patterns for broilers are aimed for stimulating and controlling feed intake. Light as an environmental factor consists of three different aspects like intensity, duration, and wavelength. Broiler behavior is affected by light intensity. Lighting duration is largely dependent upon the age of chickens involved and type of housing in use. Colour of light dictated by wavelength and it exerts variable effects on poultry performance. Darkness is an important to growth and health of broilers as light. It is hypothesized that short photoperiods early in life will reduce feed intake and limit growth.
1154 Advances in Life Sciences 5(4), 2016
Significance of Light in Poultry Production: A Review
Kankuba Pashupalan Vidyapith, Ganpat University, Ganpat Vidyanagar 1
College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, AAU, Anand2
Lighti ng is an essential for devel opment and
functioning of reproductive system and growth. It is a
powerful exogenous factor in control of many
physiological and behavioral processes. Cold Cathode
and Fluorescent bulbs are mostly used as light and it
affected by variables like lamp type, reflectance of the
floor, walls, ceiling and height intensity of affect.
incandescent or fluorescent lights may be used.
Lighting patterns for broilers are aimed for
stimulating and controlling feed intake. Light as an
environmental factor consists of three different
aspects like intensity, duration, and wavelength.
Broiler behavior is affected by light intensity. Lighting
duration is largely dependent upon the age of chickens
involved and type of housing in use. Colour of light
dictated by wavelength and it exerts variable effects
on poultry performance. Darkness is an important to
growth and he al th of broi le rs as light. It is
hypothesized that short photoperiods early in life will
reduce feed intake and limit growth.
Key words Broiler, duration, light, lighting and
Lighting is an e ssentia l component of
successful commercial poultry production. With
laying birds (including breeders) light is significant
in the development and functioning of the bird’s
reproductive system, influencing the age when she
starts laying and how many eggs are laid in a given
period. The patt ern of cha nging day lengt h
experienced by birds influences them in two ways:
1. Increasing natural day length, as occurs in
spring, accelerates sexual maturity of growing
pullets and stimulates egg production during
the laying period.
2. Decreasing day length, as occurs in autumn,
retards sexual maturity of growing pullets and
restrains egg production. Consequently it is
the changing pattern of light received by the
birds which influences them rather than the
duration of the lighting pattern. For example,
pullets reared on a constant 16-hour day will
mature at about the same age as those reared
on a constant 8-hour day. The birds in the
16-hour program will have received more total
light, but are experiencing the same lighting
pattern as those in the 8-hour program, that
is, a constant-light pattern. Supplementary
artificial light is a commercial necessity in
order to maximize egg production.
Importance of Lights
Recent developments in light bulb technology
now make it a good business decision to with
energy-efficient Cold Cathode (CC) and Compact
Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, which are much more
cost-effective. Light intensity is affected by many
variables: lamp type (i.e., incandescent versus
fluorescent, versus high pressure sodium, versus
metal halide, versus low pressure sodium, etc.);
reflectance of the floor, walls, ceiling; height of
the lamp fixture above the working plane; dirty
conditions, and maint ena nce schedul e.
Incandescent or fluorescent fixtures are the most
common in poultry facilities.
Lighting program for laying birds
The aim of any lighting program for layers is
to supplement the varying natural daylight so that
an even pattern of total light is received throughout
the year.
Lighting program for broiler birds
Lighting patterns for broilers are aimed mainly
at stimulating and controlling feed intake. Two
programs are commonly used: a) Continuous
li gh ting except f or 1 hour of darknes s , b)
Intermittent lighting of 2 hours on, 2 hours off.
Advances in Life Sciences 5(4), Print : ISSN 2278-3849, 1154-1160, 2016
PATEL et al., Significance of Light in Poultry Production: A Review 1155
Light Sources and Their Efficiencies
will reduce running costs significantly, but are more
expensive to purchase. As with normal fluorescent
installations these represent a long- term investment,
and are particularly suitable for converting existing
incandescent lighting to a fluorescent system
without changing any fittings. The conversion to
fluorescent bulbs is a cost- efficient proposition as
the savings in running costs soon outweigh the extra
cost of the fluorescent globes.
Review of Literature
Lighting is a powerful exogenous factor in
control of many physiological and behaviora l
processes. Light may be the most critical of all
environmental factors to birds. It is integral to sight,
including both visual acuity and color discrimination
(Manser, 1996). Light allows the bird to establish
rhythmicity and synchroni ze many essenti al
functions, including body temperature and various
metabolic steps that facilitate feeding and digestion.
Of equal importance, light stimulates secretory
patterns of several hormones that control, in large
part, growth, matur a tion, and reprodu cti on.
Globally, chickens are rea red in a var iety of
production syste ms. These inc lude outdoor
enclosures that basically utilize natural climatic
conditions, production house of various sizes and
construction that have little to extensive control
over light and other environmental factors, and very
large homogeneous houses that allow precise
control of environmental factor s, incl uding
temperature, humidity, air velocity, rate of air
exchange, gases, light intensity, duration and color.
Increased environmental complexity in poultry
rearing facilities is recognized as a means to achieve
productivity goals and to resolve welfare concerns
(Newberry, 1995; Wemels felder and Birke, 1997;
Lighting schedules and intensities
Bird type Lighting
Young chickens
(1–5 days)
24 hours constant light at 40 lux minimum with 5–60 minutes blackout training
Young chickens
(6–10 days old)
23 hours constant light at 30 lux
Pullets 15 hours constant light at 5 lux
Layers 15 hours constant light at 10 lux
Broilers 23 hours constant light at 40 lux 1–5 days, then 23 hours constant light at 3–5 lux, or
alternate 2 hours light at 5 lux, 2 hours dark
Ducks and geese 15 hours constant light at 10 lux
Pheasant breeders 15 hours constant light at 10 lux from January to end of breeding season (about April)
Note: Lux is the unit of illumination and measures the amount of light per square metre. 50 lux is about the brightness of an
average lounge room.
Lighting Programmes for Other Functions
Other Functions Light Intensity Lux (foot-
Feed storage/
100-200 (10-20)
Barn inspection/
50 (5)
Egg handling 500 (50)
Egg processing 700-1000 (70-100)
Office (desk surface) 400-500 (40-50)
Shop (rough bench
500 (50)
Shop (detailed bench
1000 (100)
Lamp Type Efficiency Lumens per
Incandescent 10-20
Mercury vapour 20-60
Fluorescent 40-100
Metal helide 50-110
High pressure sodium 50-140
Types of lights
Either incandescent or fluorescent lights may
be used. Commercially, fluorescent lights are a
cheaper long-term proposition because of their
greater light efficiency and low maintenance and
running costs. However, installation costs are
higher. Another alternative is to use fluorescent
globes which fit into normal batten holders used
for incandescent globes. These fluorescent globes
1156 Advances in Life Sciences 5(4), 2016
Mench, 1998). Light as an environmental factor
consists of thr ee different aspec ts: int ensity,
duration, and wavelength. Light intensity, color, and
the photoperiodic regime can affect the physical
activity of broiler chickens (Lewis and Morris,
1998). The increased in physical activity can
stimulate bone development, thereby improve the
leg health of birds. Each of these aspects will be
discussed relative to rearing broilers. Houses with
dark curtains or solid sidewalls allow the producer
to establish lighting systems that control intensity,
duration, and wavelength throughout the entire
grow-out period.
The genetic potentiality of broilers would not
beutilized fully due to environmental constraint.
Therefore,an improvement of the production and
its efficiency solely depends on the quality of the
environmental management. There is little question
that light is crucial to incidences of diseases
attributed to fast growth.Decreased photoperiods
are reported to decrease susceptibility to metabolic
diseases such as ascites associated with pulmonary
hypertension syndrome, sudden death syndrome,
tibial dyschondroplasia and other skeletal disorders
(Classen and Riddell, 1989; Classen et al., 1991;
Rendenet al., 1991; Peteket al.,2005). Additionally,
intermittent lighting programs canreduce lameness
and circulatory problems in broilersand roasters
(Buckland, 1975; Ononiwu et al., 1979;Simmons,
1982; Wilson et al., 1984; Renden et al.,1991,
Kritensen et al . , 2004 ) . Beha vioral
evaluationsutilizing radar equipment have revealed
that broilersexposed to intermittent lighting are more
active duringthe light periods (Simmons, 1982;
Simmons and Haye,1985). Finally, intermittent
lighting programs have shownincreased livability
and decreased leg problems,mortality and incidence
of circulatory diseases (Ononiwu et al., 1979;
Classen and Riddell, 1989) .Since broilers are
commonly reared in dimand near- continuous
lighting, it is possible that a largenumber of birds in
commercial production may sufferfrom light-
induced changes in eye morphology. Research
indicates the extremely low light intensities (less
than 5 l x ) can ca use r etin al degener a t ion,
buphthalmos, myopia, glaucoma and damage to
thel ens leading to blindnes s (B uyse et al.,
1996;Cummings et al., 1986; Ashton et al., 1973;
Chiu et al., 1975; Li et al., 1995). Preference
studies, i.e., providing birds with choices ofseveral
lighting int ensi ties have shown that broilers
willexhibit preference for light intensity by 6 wk of
age. Youngchick (1 to 28 days of age) generally
preferred brighter light(~20 lx) (Berk, 1995).
Another preference study showedthat broilers
preferred blue or green light over red or white light
(Prayitno et al., 1997).
Lighting intensity
Broiler behavior is strongly affected by light
intensity. Generally, brighter light will foster
increa sed activity, while lower intensities are
effective in controlling aggressive acts that can lead
to cannibalism. Producers regularly use modern
electronic systems to increase light intensity for
short periods during grow-out to increase exercise
and thereby reduce skeletal and metabolic disorders.
Newberry et al. (1985) reported increased activity
in brighter (6 to 12 lx) vs. darker (0.5 lx) areas
within pens. It should be noted that in this study
the chicks were subjected to changes in light
intensity over time. A subsequent study, Newberry
et a l. (1986 ) used const a nt light i nt ensity
treatments that ranged from 0.1 to 100 lx. Results
suggested that as light intensity increased, activity
was decreased with each incremental increase in
age. Charles et al. (1992) observed an increase in
BW when broilers were grown under a light
intensity of 5 lx. Low intensities have been
associated with reduced walking and standing, as
well as with decreased incidences of fighting,
feather pecking and cannibalism (Buyse et al.,
1996). Field studies have generally shown that
higher light intensities (in excess of 5 lx) decrease
body weight due to increased activity. These studies
indicated a reduction in the incidence of skeletal
disorders such as tibial dyschondropla sia and
enlarged hocks. Most modern lighting programs
begin with a high lightintensity (~20 lx) that is
decreased to around 5 lx by 14 to 21 days and then
maintained at 5 lx or less for the remainder of the
grow - out per iod. Such pr ograms have been
implicated in structural changes in eye morphology.
Since broilers are commonly reared in dim and near-
continuous lighting, it is possible that a large number
of birds in commercial production may suffer from
light-induced changes in eye morphology.
Light duration
Lighting duration, i.e., photoperiod, is the
second major aspect of light that will alter broiler
performance. Mos t rese a rch invol ving li ght
management has focused on this factor. Different
photoperiodicregimes have been applied and tested
over the years,while almost all of them have been
shown to improvebroiler welfare with conventional
PATEL et al., Significance of Light in Poultry Production: A Review 1157
near-continuouslighting (Gordon, 1994). Lighting
duration is largely dependent upon the age of
chickens involved and type ofhousing in use.
Research and discussion continue inan attempt to
define the optimal photoperiodic regimesuitable for
broiler chickens. However, results to datesuggest
an absolute minimum uninterrupted darkperiod of
4 hours should be given, but the requirementsfor
sleep may be higher at certain points of the growing
period (Blokhuis, 1983).
Darknes s
Broiler lighting schedules can be characterized
in a number of ways, including the numberof hours
of darkness and how many periods of darkness
areincluded in each 24 h cycle. Research has shown
that darkness is as important to growth and health
of broilers as light (Classen et al., 1991). It is
hypothesized that short photoperiods early in life
will reduce feed intake and limit growth. Recent
research comparing 12L:12D, 16L:8D and 20L:4D
lighting schedules demonstratedclearly that longer
periods of darkness prevent regular access to feed
and consequently reduce feed intake and limit
growth (Classen, 2004a). Furthermore, Classen et
al. (2004b) also compared lighting programs with
12 hof darkness per each 24 h period provided in
1, 6, or 12h intervals. Their study indicated that
early growth ratewas significantly reduced by
longer periods of darkness,but gain from 14 to 35
d, as well as final body weightwere not affected
by lighting programs. Feedconversions were higher
for 12L:12D and two 6L:6Dperiods per each 24 h
period than 12 (1L:1D) periodsper each 24 h period.
The 12L:12D treatment resulted inlower mortality
than the 12 (1L:1D) treatment and the 2(6L:6D)
was intermediate.
Constant light
When photoperiod is maintained at a constant
level throughout the growth cycle of broiler
chickens, shorter the length is associated with
slower growth (Li et al., 1995). The slower growth
rate is areflection of reduced feed intake associated
with shorterdays and reduced leg abnormalities
(Gordon, 1994). If given a choice, chickens prefer
to eat during the photoperiod,although they will eat
during darkness if insufficient periods of lightare
provided (Simmons, 1982). The length of day
required to reduce growth rate has not been defined.
Continuous light disrupts the diurnal rhythm and
has some welfare concerns. Among those are high
prevalence of leg and skeletal disorders in poultry
(Sanotra et al., 2001, 2002) and affected birdsmay
even experience difficulty in getting to feed and
water (Wong-Valle et al., 1993).
Intermittent lighting
Research on intermittent lightinghas been
extensive but complicated by a wide variety of light-
dark cycles and management systems. However,
inter mittent lighting programs have frequently
resul ted in super ior broi ler productivity in
comparison to constant light (Classen, 2004a;
Rahimi et al., 2005). In addition,intermittent lighting
frequently reduces the incidence of leg disorders
and has also been shown to reduce sudden death
syndrome (Buckland, 1975; Simmons, 1986;
Classen and Riddel, 1989).
Color of light
Color is the third major aspect of light. It is
dictated by wavelength and it exerts variable effects
on poultry performance. None of the commonly
used typesof fluorescent light emits appreciable
amounts ofultraviolet A light (UVA, 320-400 nm).
Daylight has arelatively even distribution of
wavelengths between 400 and 700 nm. Birds sense
light through their eyes(retinal photoreceptors) and
through photosensitive cellsin the brain (extra-
retinal photoreceptors). Blue light hasa calming
effe ct on birds, while re d will e nhance
featherpecking and cannibalism. Blue-green light
stimulatesgrowth in chickens, while orange-red
stimulates reproduction (Rozenboim et al., 1999;
2004). Light ofdifferent wavelengths has varying
stimulatory effects on the retina and can result in
behavioural changes that will affect growth and
development (Lewis and Morris, 2000).There are
four kinds of lamps available to poultryproducers:
incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide andhigh-
pressure sodium. All four types are in use in
poultryfacilities for laying hens, breeder flocks,
broilers andturkeys. The incandescent bulb is the
current standardby which others are compared,
especially in broilerproduction. Incandescent bulbs
provide light energy butmuch of it is electrical
energy with a light efficiency ofabout 8-24 lumens
per watt and a rated life of about 750-2000 h (Darre
and Rock, 1995). Fluorescent lamps maylast more
than 20,000 h under poultry house conditionsand
may decrease their light output by about 20-30
%over their lifetime (Darre, 1986). High pressure
sodiumlamps release an electric current through a
high level ofsodium vapor producing energy, but
the highest intensityis in the yellow, orange and red
1158 Advances in Life Sciences 5(4), 2016
regions with longestrated life of all lamps at about
24,000 h (Dare and Rock,1995; Darre, 2005). They
require a warm up time ofbetween 5 and 15 min,
which indicates that after apower outage, backup
lighting may be necessary untilfull illumination has
been achieved. Metal halide lampshave between 32
and 1,500 watts with three differentouter bulb
finishes: clear, phosphor and diffuse (Darre,2005)
with light across the entire visible spectrum, theyare
considered a cool light, having a lot of blue.
Theyhave between 80 and 100 lumens per watt
and are ratedat about 10,000 to 20,500 h of life
(Darre, 2005). Theselamps also have a warm up
period of 5 to 15 min to achieve full illumination.
The four most important visual abilities of poultry
are spectral and flicke r sensitivities as well
asaccommodation and acuity (Prescott and Wattes,
1999). Domestic fowl have a number of adaptations
to theircolor apparatus not shared by humans. They
possessthree photoreceptors compared with just
two (rods andcones) receptors in humans (King-
Smith, 1971). Theadditional photoreceptor is a
double cone, but itsfunction is not clear, though it
does respond to incidentlight. Birds have four photo
reactive pigments associatedwith cone cell that are
responsible for photonic colorvision, while humans
have only three pigments(Yoshizawa, 1992). The
pigments in bird cones aremaximally sensitive at
wavelengths of 415, 455, 508 and571 nm, while
thos e of huma ns a re max imally se nsi tiveto
wavelengths of 419, 531 and 558 nm (Dartnall et
al.,1983). In birds, the proportion of the different
cone celltypes also varies on the retinal surface.
Birds possesscolored oil droplets in their cone cells
such that incidentlight is filtered before it reaches
the photoreactive pigments. These droplets are
associ ated with individualcone cell species
(Bowmaker and Knowles, 1977). Theability of
chickens to visua lize color is similar to that
ofhumans, but they cannot see as well when
exposed toshort wavelengths (blue-green). Specific
lightwavelength may have an impact on production
andcharacteristics of broilers. During the early
period, shortwa velengths appear to stimulate
growth. However, whenthe bird approaches the
time of sexual maturity longwavelengths (orange-
red) increase growth and areeffective in stimulating
sexual hormonal pathways thatculminate in fertile
egg production. Growth in broilers is affected by
light spectra. Broilersunder blue or green light
become significantly heavierthan those reared under
red or white light (Rozenboim et al., 2004). Green
light accelerates muscle growth(Halevy et al.,
1998) and stimulates growth at an earlyage, whereas
blue ligh t stimulat es growt h in old er
birds(Rozenboim et al., 1999 a,b; 2004) . In
addi t ion,circulating thyroid hormones i.e.
triiodothronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4) are important
growth promoters (McNabband King, 1993) and
play a relatively important role ingrowth inhibition
as well as compensatory growthacceleration in
broilers (Yahav, 1999). Researchcompleted to date
is not sufficient to permit therecommendation of
blue light throughout the productioncycle of
broilers. However, recent studies show thatyoung
br oi ler s have a str ong preference for bright
light(Davis et al., 1997).
Points to remember
a) Regularly check operation of time clocks and
light fittings, especially after power failures.
b) Clean light fittings at least annually.
c) Keep time clock covers in place to prevent
dust and moisture clogging the mechanism.
d) Pullets should receive either a constant or
decreasing light pattern prior to laying.
e) Never let laying birds experience a decrease
in light pattern.
f) Use light levels specified for the type and age
of poultry housed.
g) Hours of day length have an important impact
on growth r a t e wi th the e ff ects b eing
dependent upon marketing age.
h) Providing broilers with 20 hours of light a
day gave the highest growth rate at all ages.
i) As birds age they are able to adapt to shorter
day lengths. Broilers marketed at older ages
perform relatively better on shorter day lengths
than birds marketed at younger ages.
j) Short day lengths (i.e. 14 hours of light) lead
to a reduced growth rate regardless of market
k) Increasing day length to 23 hours a day also
has a negative impact on growth rate. The
data from this trial do not support the idea
that providing near constant light (23 hours)
will achieve the highest growth rates.
l) Feed efficiency is improved with decreasing
daylength (longer night periods); the best feed
efficiency occurred when broilers were given
14 hours of light regardless of market age.
m) This improvement in feed efficiency is not
due to differences in body-weight gain but
may be due to re duced mai nt enance
PATEL et al., Significance of Light in Poultry Production: A Review 1159
requi rements as a result of the l ower
metabolism that occurs during darkness.
Light management is an important component
of poultry production. Wavelength andintensity are
impor tant in be havior a l modification s
whileexposure of poultry to darkness is essential
to birdhealth. Light management is widely used to
improveproduction efficiency.Restricted lighting
pr ograms enha nce poultry pr oduction
throughimprovements in BW, FCR, immune status,
and betterhealth as a result. Much is known about
the effects of thelighting on production, but how
the welfare of the birdsmay be affected is lacking.
To assess this meaningfully,it is importa nt to
understand how birds perceive theirenvironment
and to quantify aspects of the physical light
environment, especially luminance and photo period
effects, on the functional development of the eye
andvision. These gaps in our understanding of
poultryresponses to the light environment must be
bridgedbefore we can explore meaningfully the
relationshipbetween lighting in poultry houses and
poultry well-being.
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Received on 06-02-2016 Accepted on 11-02-2016
... Artificial light, as an external environmental factor, is crucial for the release of various hormones, which play key roles in the activity, growth, immunity, and reproduction of birds (Patel et al., 2016). For laying birds, light plays an important role in the development and functioning of their reproductive systems, significantly influencing the age when they start laying and how many eggs they could lay in a given period (Min et al., 2012;Huber-Eicher et al., 2013). ...
... birds more activities. However findings on the effects of lights on the growth performance of birds are not consistent (Firouzi et al., 2014;Hassan et al., 2014;Seo et al., 2015;Patel et al., 2016). In the current study, geese reared under blue light had a higher body weight than those under red and white lights at the early stage but had a lower body weight at the late stage, especially at the experimental day 63 (P , 0.05). ...
... However, effects of red and blue lights were inconsistent on broilers. Most of the previous studies reported that blue light had the advantage of improving growth performance over red light because blue light kept birds calmer than red one (Prayitno et al., 1997a;Seo et al., 2015;Patel et al., 2016). However, some studies found opposite results that red light improved growth performance in the late rearing period, as red light increased activity and reduced locomotion disorders (Prayitno et al., 1997b;Firouzi et al., 2014;Hassan et al., 2014). ...
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Besides on the reproductive performance, the light also has an important effect on the growth in birds. In the present study, we for the first time investigated effects of colored light-emitting diodes (LED) on both growth performance and fecal microbiota in meat geese. We randomly selected a total of 120 geese at birth (0-day), divided them into 3 groups evenly (i.e., 40 geese each group), and then reared them under 3 colored light-emitting diodes (i.e., blue, red, and white) with the same photoperiod for 9 wk, respectively. We collected fecal samples at the experimental day 35 and 63, respectively. We observed that geese in blue light had higher body weight than those in red and white lights at the early stage of the experiment but showed lower body weight at the late stage, particularly at day 63 (P < 0.05). Interestingly, we found that the relative abundances of 3 dominant bacteria phyla, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Cyanobacteria, were comparable among 3 groups at day 35, while at day 63, the blue light group had the significantly (P < 0.05) lowest and highest abundance for Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, respectively. Functional enrichment analyses revealed that the fecal microbiota in the red light group was mainly involved in metabolism at day 35, whereas at day 63, the fecal microbiota were engaged into membrane transportation and transcription. In contrast, the blue light group had more enriched pathways relevant with membrane transportation at day 63 than day 35 and had several pathways involved in metabolism at day 63 as well. Collectively, our results revealed that the light with different colors affects the growth performance of geese via the gut microbiota, which in turn influences the digestion and absorption of geese.
... Light is one of the important factors for the production performance of broiler. Lighting is an essential component of successful commercial poultry production (Patel et al., 2016). Many physiological and behavioral aspects of broiler is affected by lightening. ...
... In the beginning, at 33 weeks of age, no positive effect of different light colors was recorded for FPD and FS in laying hens, while at 50 weeks, higher incidence of FPD was observed (P ≤ 0.05) in birds that were reared under red LED light, followed by green, green-red, and white LED lights, respectively (Table 6). Patel et al. [43] recorded the effects of different LED light colors on laying hens' behavior and reported a higher cannibalism rate in hens treated with red light as compared to those treated with blue LED light. The reason might be that the red LED light would reach the hypothalamus more rapidly as compared to blue light. ...
... Various physiological processes of the birds are influenced by light as an important environmental variable . It helps the birds to ensure rhythmicity and synchronise several essential processes and functions, such as metabolism and also body temperature (Patel et al. 2016). Light supplementation has therefore become an important factor in modern broiler production (Andrews and Zimmerman 1993) especially in an environmentally controlled housing condition where only artificial lighting is used. ...
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Artificial illumination, including light quality, is crucial in modern broiler management. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a switch in light colour on the performance of broiler chickens in tropical environments. A total of 280 1-day-old Arbor acre male chicks were used for this study and were weighed and assigned to different light environments viz. white (WH), green (GR), blue (BL), GR switched to BL at 14 days (GB), BL switched to GR at 14 days (BG), BL switched to GR at 28 days (BGG) and GR switched to BL at 28 days (GBB) having four replicates of ten birds each. Body weight, weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio were recorded weekly. Blood samples were collected from 2 birds per replicate weekly for the determination of plasma triiodothyronine (T3), haematology and serum biochemical parameters. The experiment was laid out in a completely randomised design. Results showed that the final body weights of the birds in GBB and GB were comparable but higher than those of the other treatment groups. Feed intake of the chickens in WH was similar to that of BG but higher than those of the other treatment groups, while FCR of the birds in WH was higher (P < 0.05) than the other treatment groups. Plasma T3 of the birds in GR was comparable to that of birds in BL but significantly higher than those of the birds in WH and a similar trend was also observed at weeks 1 and 2. Heterophil/lymphocyte ratio (H/L) of the birds in WH was significantly higher than those of BL and GR whose values were similar to those in GB and BG. Heterophil/lymphocytes of the birds in WH was higher than those of BG, GR, BGG, GB and GBB but similar to those of BL. The breast muscle of the birds in GBB and GB was similar to those of BGG and GR and significantly higher than those of WH, BL and BG. Based on the results obtained in this study, it was concluded that the use of green light up to 28 days in combination with blue light stimulated the growth of broiler chickens and manipulation of light colours can be used to improve the welfare and performance of chickens.
... Improved environmental control of poultry houses plays a significant role in ensuring and maintaining effective poultry production. In order to ensure maintenance of optimal indoor environmental conditions, poultry houses must be properly designed in the farmstead, due consideration need to be given to environmental factors (Barre, 2012), such as temperature (Charles, 1986;Kic, 2016), relative humidity (Longhouse et al., 1968;Xin et al., 1994), movement of the air (Drury, 1966;Luck et al., 2014), ventilation (Miragliotta et al., 2006;Cemek et al., 2016) and intensity of light (Araújo et al., 2015;Patel et al., 2016). ...
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In poultry production, degree-day values are used as fundamental design parameters considered among others in determining the extent of heating and cooling of poultry housing. In this study, heating and cooling data values for each of broiler production period were determined using the degree-day method. The total length of the experiment was 123 days which corresponds to 3 growing periods. The inside and outside air temperatures of the poultry house were measured using air temperature data loggers positioned at different points and heights within and outside broiler house. Knowledge of heating and cooling day values is important as it necessitates the provision and maintenance of ideal bird’s production conditions and ensuring the economic viability of the enterprise through optimized energy consumption.
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The light output and lamp life of compact fluorescent (CF) lamps placed in three commercial caged-layer poultry facilities were studied. Only 7- and 9-watt CF lamps were used. This study revealed that the 7-watt lamp maintained 82% of its original light output with 34% of the lamps still operating after 23, 000 hr of on time. The 9-watt lamps maintained 71.84% of their original light output with 34% of the lamps still operating after more than 23, 000 hr of on time. The mean failure rate for both 7- and 9-watt lamps was 21, 480 hr with no ballast failures.
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Two experiments were conducted to study the effect of continuous (CT) light (23 h of light and 1 h of darkness) or intermittent (IT) light (1 h light and 3 h of darkness) on the performance and incidence of tibial dyschondroplasia (TD) of broilers. In Experiment 1, 1,008 broilers of both sexes were used from three lines of broilers exhibiting a high (H) or low (L) incidence of TD and an unselected control (C) line. In Experiment 2, 1,200 male broilers were used. Incidence of TD was not affected by lighting program in Experiment 1 or 2. However, there was a line by lighting program interaction. Incidence of TD at 4 and 7 wk was significantly lower in the IT than in the CT lighting program in the C line whereas incidence of TD was not affected by light in the H and L lines. The incidence of TD was significantly greater for the H than for the L lines. There were no significant differences in body weight due to lighting program or between the H and the L lines. In Experiment 1, broilers with TD were significantly heavier at 4 wk and significantly lighter at 7 wk than broilers without TD. In Experiment 2, broilers with TD were heavier at 4 wk but did not differ in body weight at 7 wk when compared with normal broilers.
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Treatments in which light alternated from side to side within pens at regular intervals had no effect on male roaster chicken performance or mortality due to sudden death syndrome (SDS) compared with continuous light. Strain differences in performance and SDS mortality were noted. No differences were found between the locations of death of chickens dying from SDS vs. other causes.
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Broilers are currently reared under nearly continuous lighting (CL) schedules. However, the suitability of such lighting regimens may be questioned in terms of performance and welfare. This paper reviews the literature concerning the effects of intermittent lighting (IL) schedules on these issues. Final body weights at market age of broilers reared under IL schedules are equal to, or even higher than, those of broilers reared under CL schedules. However, endogenous (genotype and sex) and exogenous (dietary composition, feeder space, etc.) factors may interact with the lighting schedule. In contrast, feed conversion is consistently improved with IL, partly as a consequence of a more concave growth curve (initial growth depression followed by compensatory growth). Inconsistencies in the literature concerning the effect of IL on (abdominal) fat content and dressing yield are caused by interactions with other factors. However, it is clearly demonstrated that IL reduces leg abnormalities, in particular the incidence of twisted legs. Additional welfare benefits of IL are found in reduced physiological stress and improved eye condition. An increase in the amount of catching damage has been observed with IL, but this may be avoided by modifying light management before commencement of the catching operation. The importance of light is not restricted to the lighting schedule; aspects of the light quality are also important. Although the data related to light intensity are conflicting, it is generally recommended that an intensity of 51ux should be provided. Whilst fluorescent light does not affect broiler performance adversely, its lower use of electricity compared with incandescent lighting does reduce input costs. More research is needed to evaluate the impact of these qualitative aspects of lighting on poultry welfare.
More energy efficient and longer lasting lamps are being used to replace incandescent lighting in poultry houses. This paper reviews the response of domestic fowl, turkeys and geese to various sources of illumination. It concludes that there is no evidence that fluorescent or high pressure sodium lighting, irrespective of intensity or spectral distribution, has any consistent detrimental effect on growth, food utilization, reproductive performance, mortality, behaviour or live bird quality in either domestic fowl or turkeys, nor in the egg production of geese. There are limited data to suggest that the use of fluorescent lighting may be beneficial in the reduction of leg problems in meat chickens. Notwithstanding that poultry may perceive low frequency fluorescent light as discontinuous (at least in Europe), it does not appear to compromise the welfare of poultry, and has been shown in one study with laying fowl to be preferred to incansdescent lighting.
The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and the extent of leg problems in broiler chicks reared in conventional production systems in Denmark. The survey, which was designed as a cross-sectional study, included 28 broiler flocks (8% of the total number of flocks in Denmark); 2800 chicks in total (100 chicks per flock) were investigated for the occurrence of leg disorders in relation to animal welfare. The leg disorders included impaired walking ability, tibial dyschondroplasia (TD), varus/valgus deformations, crooked toes, foot pad burns, and asymmetrical development of the tarsometatarsus. The mean prevalence of impaired walking ability (gait score >0), tibial dyschondroplasia (TD score >0), varus/valgus deformations, crooked toes and foot pad burns was 75.0%, 57.1%, 37.0%, 32.6% and 42.0%, respectively. The risks of the occurrence of these leg problems were significantly influenced by body weight and sex of the chicks. For birds with impaired walking ability (corresponding to gait scores >0 and >2), significant interactions were found between body weight and sex. Positive correlations (r >0.20) were found between gait score and TD score, gait score and varus/valgus deformations, TD score and varus/valgus deformations, varus/valgus deformations and body weight, crooked toes and body weight, and between varus/valgus deformations and body weight. Only weak correlations were found between the relative asymmetry in the length, thickness and diameter of the tarsometatarsus and the other leg problems measured. It was concluded that the prevalence of leg problems in broilers in conventional production systems is very high and compromises the welfare of the birds. One of the main factors responsible is their high growth rate.
Although not all the reports dealing with the effects of intermittent lighting on the body weight of chickens agree, there is a definite indication that birds grown on intermittent light may be expected to be heavier than those grown on continuous light. This was particularly noticeable in the report of a field trial involving 220,000 broilers. One report noted interactions with respect to body weight between lighting programme and strain, ration and bird density which indicates the range of factors that may affect the response of chickens to intermittent light. With respect to feed conversion and mortality the results reviewed indicate a definite trend in favour of intermittent light which together with the results obtained with respect to body weight lead one to conclude that intermittent light will result in improved performance of chickens for market when compared to continuous light. Since all lighting programmes were not compared in one experiment it is difficult to ascertain which is the best. However, the author believes a programme of ½ to 1 hour of light combine with 2 to 3 hours of darkness such as 1L: 3D will be the most satisfactory for chickens. No effect of lighting programme was noted on the carcass quality or percentage of leg abnormalities of chickens. Although there is much less data available on the effect of intermittent lighting on the performance of turkeys the results indicate that with respect to body weight, feed efficiency and litter conditions a system of 1L:3D may be superior. Again, there was no significant effect noted of lighting programme on carcass quality or percentage of leg abnormalities, although the intermittent light did result in a marked improvement in litter conditions.
Poultry have four types of cone in the retina of the eye, and this means that they probably see colour differently from trichromatic humans. Notwith- standing the fact that humans and birds have maximum sensitivity in a similar part of the spectrum (545–575nm), poultry are likely to perceive light from various types of lamp at a different intensity from humans because they are more sensitive to the blue and red parts of the spectrum. Although colour has been confounded with illuminance in many trials, wavelength has an unquestionable effect on poultry production and behaviour. Growth and behaviour responses depend principally on retinal photoreception, whereas photosexual responses are mainly influenced by hypothalamic light reception. In turkeys and chickens growth under red illumination is inferior to that under blue or green light, and this may be a result of birds exposed to red light being more active and showing more aggression than birds exposed to shorter wavelength radiation. In contrast, the easier penetration of longer wavelength radiation to the hypothalamus makes red light more sexually stimulatory than blue or green, although the hypothalamic photo- receptors are more sensitive to blue/green light when illuminated directly. Egg production traits, however, appear to be minimally affected by wavelength.