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Recommendations on the lighting regime on the modern broiler poultry farm

Serafin Garcia Freire, Technical support manager of the Bedson S.A.

lighting

Length of day light period

According to scientific literature, the length of light period to achieve the best poultry performance is:

  1. In the first week of life light in the poultry house must be working 23 hours for fostering the feed consumption. The more feed the birds eat this first week of life:
    • The faster the absorption of the yolk sac.
    • The longer the intestinal villi.
    • The higher the development of digestive enzymes
    • The larger the Bursa of Fabricius
  2. After the first week of life chickens need one constant dark period, in the middle of the night, for 4-5 hours dark. The main advantages of that light mode are less mortality, more harmonious growth and less FCR; Both proven in any slaughter weight but especially in high body weights (≥ 3 kg).

Pic. 1. Effect of daylight on the live body weight at 48-49 days (Schwean-lardner et al, 2010).

graph1

Pic. 2. Effect of daylight on feed to gain ration (mortality corrected) of broilers at 48-49 days (Schwean-lardner et al, 2010).

graph2

In previous years the program of continuous lighting  (24 hours light) was widely used, but it has following disadvantages: slow gain of body weight and increased FCR, frequents leg problems, higher spiking mortality, higher ascites, higher social stress so higher corticosterone levels in blood which means lower immune response. Today, according to European legislation «continuous lighting program” is forbidden due to animal welfare issues (Directive 2007-43-EC).

 

Light intensity

According to scientific literature, the light intensity to achieve the best poultry performance is:

  1. First week of lifeAs much as possible for fostering the food consumption. Minimum 25 lux, advisable 40-60 lux.
  2. After first week of life –10 lux is scientifically enough. When rearing chickens with little light intensity, birds are quieter, there is less energy expenditure in the movement and therefore there is more energy, from the feed, available for growth

Literature used:

Schwean-Lardner, K., B.I. Fancher, and H.L. Classen. Effect of daylength on physiological and behavioural rhythms in broilers // Poult. Sci. 2010. —  89 (Supp.1). – P. 521.

27.10.2017