Lighting is an essential factor in the success of the commercial production of layers and broilers. The demand for food worldwide is expected to double by 2030. To meet that demand, chicken producers are adopting new approaches to increase production at a reduced cost, with less stress on the environment. Generally speaking, the focus id on enhancing traditional inputs such as water, air, nutrients, and housing, however lighting would deserve more interest.
Light is an important aspect of an animals environment. Avian species respond to light energy in a variety of ways, including growth and reproductive performance. The value of regulating the exposition to light of poultry and livestock to stimulate reproduction has been recognized for many years and is used regularly by commercial poultry and farmers.
Many poultry producers still utilize old residential and commercial incandescent lamps in their barns. These lamps are not the best suited for poultries. Indeed, iincandescent light is not the same as sunlight, and the best light for humans is not necessarily the best light for animals.
Animals used to live under the sunlight, whose spectrum differs substantially from that of incandescent light. Sunlight is a combination of all colors. Modernfarm lighting system should attempt to mimic the sun’s spectrum.
LEDs are the most efficient and environmentally friendly of the agricultural lighting options, producing white light by combining a blue LED with red and green phosphors. The spectrum is near continuous besides. Besides not exactly the same tan daylight, the LED spectrum provides a close approximation of daylight. Led lighting have the longest lifetime , are highly rugged, are not susceptible to shock or vibration, and allow for color shifting and color control. Even if LEDs have high upfront costs, these costs are quickly recouped through energy savings.
By utilizing LED lighting and taking advantage of the unique spectral requirements of poultry, farmers can reduce stress and mortality, regulate circadian rhythm, and substantially increase the production of eggs, meat, and other protein sources, while dramatically reducing energy use and other input costs.
Processors and breeding companies have clear requirements for both light intensity for brooding and light intensity for the growing of a flock. This usually results in a general requirement of approximately 20 lux and above for brooding and 5 to 8 lux for growing.
Research with different coloured light has been done over many years, however, the major breeding companies still have a general recommendation for a dimable white light.
Where to place the light fixtures in the poultry facility ?
The distribution of light within your poultry facility will depend upon placement of the lamps. The lamps should be placed so that the maximum illumination value is spread over the largest area. This all depends upon the physical dimensions and equipment in your building.
• The distance between bulbs should be 1½ times the distance from the bulb to the bird level.
• The distance from the bulbs to the outer edges of the house should be only ½ the distance between bulbs.
• In cage system, the bulbs should be placed in such a way that their rays fall on the feed and on the birds.
• Clean reflectors increase the light intensity at bird level by 50%, compared with no reflector.
• In case of deep litter system, the bulb is to be placed at 7-8’ height whereas in cage house, keep in aisle.
• Very dirty bulbs emit about 1/3 less light than clean bulbs.
• Light bulbs should be cleaned once in two weeks.