Lights Too Bright Give Birds a Fright?

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The days of “eyeballing it” to determine if a poultry house is adequately lighted are over. Thanks to new research, poultry producers may have a more unobstructed view of how lighting impacts bird comfort and productivity. Chicken_Summit Livestock FacilitiesThe new 2-year study by Tyson Foods and the University of Arkansas promises to reveal key considerations for optimizing lighting in broiler facilities—helping producers balance economic variables like lighting and feed costs with objective measures of welfare and productivity.

Chickens perceive light differently than humans. They tend to be more sensitive to light than humans. Lighting characteristics important to chickens include:

  • Color (wavelength)
  • Brightness (intensity)
  • Duration (photoperiod)

Lighting programs have long been known to affect poultry behavior and physiology. For example, excessively bright lighting has been linked to increased stress and mortality. Factors such as the color, evenness, and photoperiod of light also appear to play a role. However, the precise effects of specific lighting programs within various production systems are still mostly under-described.

The project, funded by a $110,000 grant from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, will be conducted in Tyson’s new Broiler Welfare Research Facility.