Proper lighting in poultry barns has everything to do with bird growth. Proper lighting can improve feed conversion rates which leads to increases in bird weight and maintains consistency in the lifespan of the animal. However, a poor lighting system can inhibit growth and cause an animal to grow too fast, leading to bird health concerns.
There are three key considerations for proper poultry barn lighting:
- Intensity: How many foot candles of light you have in your barn
- Spectrum: Color- which poultry see differently than humans
- Duration: How long the lights are on, often with the goal of creating a natural sunrise and sunset pattern for the welfare of the birds
Poultry lighting companies will give their own opinion about the best ways to handle these considerations, but the key is to find a program that works for your operation.
Here’s an example of how some companies run their broiler lighting plan.
|Days||Light (hrs)||Dark (hrs)||Intensity (lux)|
* Denotes addition of 1 hr light in middle of dark period. (Program adapted from Classen and Goldkist, Inc.)
Quality Light Bulbs Make a Difference
For years, LED bulbs were simply too expensive for most poultry producers to use in their operation. But today’s LED bulbs are more affordable, and the energy savings mean the costs can be recouped fairly quickly. The big concern now is lower quality bulbs working with high quality dimmers. Low quality bulbs can negate the positive impact of a quality dimmer and a well thought out lighting program, so make sure you are buying the proper bulbs for your dimmer system.
Not All Dimmers are Created Equal
There are a number of good dimmers on the market. The key is to find one that smoothly increases and decreases intensity from top to bottom, limits the flicker that can agitate chickens, and accepts a variety of bulbs.
Cumberland’s premier dimmer, Versillum, does all this and integrates nicely with smart controllers, such as the EDGE controller.
Source Chart - Controlling Light in Broiler Production, National Poultry Technology Center