How to optimize broiler house lighting
A well-designed and carefully implemented broiler house lighting scheme brings many benefits to broilers.
Significant progress has been made since broilers were raised in a continuous light environment. Studies have shown the advantages of lighting schemes tailored to broiler age and environmental conditions.
Care must be taken to provide the appropriate light period, wavelength and intensity within the facility. Once these basic conditions have been selected, the following variables need to be considered to optimize the growth and welfare of broilers in the house. Adjusting Lighting Modes According to Age Turning off the lights and giving broilers the right amount of darkness is one of the best things you can do.
Restricting light time will slightly slow early growth in broilers, but allow them to develop strong hearts and bones to support rapid growth later in life.
Changing the light pattern
before slaughtering Before slaughtering, shortening the dark period can reduce agitation in broiler flocks and facilitate crop emptying. If slaughtered during the day, the duration and intensity of light need to be increased for the previous 48 hours.
Change light to reduce heat stress
Broilers experience more severe heat stress during dark periods when the weather is hot. When the weather is warm, shorten the dark period to allow the broilers to take in water and feed during the cooler hours of the night and prevent them from clumping together.
Often, broiler house lighting schemes need to be adjusted appropriately according to natural light conditions. Design a lighting scheme that is consistent with natural light. When the weather is cooler, turn off the lights at dusk. When the weather is warmer, turn on the lights at sunrise.
Checking and Repairing Light
Bulbs The brightness of bulbs can decrease over time and as dust accumulates. Check bulbs frequently and replace them regularly.
Considering LED lights to replace traditional under-
lighting can increase stress and skin damage, pecking and excessive water consumption in broilers. Fluorescent and incandescent lamps have a limited spectrum, the light travels the least, and there is a flickering effect. In contrast, LED lights have a wider spectrum and spread, and can eliminate black spots if placed correctly.
LED lighting can also better control the brightness of the light, making the transition from bright to dark to be smoother. LED lights consume less energy and do not need to be replaced as often as traditional lighting.
Control light entering a facility during dark periods
While a facility does not need to be completely dark to reap the benefits of a nighttime cycle, the amount of lighting should be controlled.
Heat lamps do not produce enough light to interfere with the lighting program and can have a calming effect on the broiler when the lights are just turned off. Watch for light leaking into the house from fans or windows. If broilers are found crowding into lighted areas, or exhibiting daytime behavior, light sources should be minimized.
Provide uniform lighting for the entire poultry house The
lighting system must be well distributed so that light can reach all areas of the poultry house. This prevents broilers from clumping together in certain areas of the house, competing for feed troughs and drinkers, which can affect growth and batch uniformity. The light intensity should be measured on the ground and should not vary by more than 20%.
Monitoring Behavior of Broilers During Dark-Light Cycles
In dark environments, although broilers are less active and consume less hourly feed, they can still consume a significant portion of their daily food intake. When the lights are first turned on, the broilers become very active and crowd around the feeder and drinker. The increase in activity lasts about 15 minutes and is usually not a big deal.
However, to ensure that broilers are behaving appropriately, take time to observe their behavior during light and dark cycles.
Once the lighting program is established, the lights must be turned off at consistent times. Once the broilers are accustomed to the lights-out time, they will fill their crops and drink before turning off the lights. Maintain consistent lights-out times to encourage this behavior. When making adjustments to the overall dark cycle, the light-on time should also be adjusted accordingly.
Avoid Sudden Changes to Lighting Schemes
Sudden changes to lighting schemes can lead to significant reductions in feed intake and feed efficiency, which can lead to weight loss in broilers. Changes can be made in a gradual manner to avoid this situation.
Consider a dimmer switch
Using a dimmer switch (sometimes called a dusk-dawn light control), the broiler can experience a gradual change in light intensity. This helps keep the broiler calm and reduces the incidence of scratching. The transition between light and dark periods should take at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. Dawn light prevents broilers from crowding in front of feed troughs and drinkers, while dusk light signals to them that darkness is approaching.