Lighting programs used to grow commercial broilers can have a significant impact on overall performance and growth. Consider these factors when setting up your lighting program:
- Market type (whole carcass, cut up, etc.)
- Market age
- Feed cost and impact of day length on feed efficiency
- Stocking density/limited feeder space – if feeder space is an issue, the dark period should be lengthened to avoid an increase in cellulitis
- Feed type – low density/mash feeds require in-creased feeding time and having too long of a dark period will inhibit this and may reduce feed intake
Ultimately, it is difficult to recommend one lighting program for all types of broiler production scenarios. Generally speaking we recommend 24 hours light at placement for 1 day and then gradually reducing the hours of light to 20 hours. We don’t recommend going any shorter than 17 hours of light.
Points To Remember
- Use dusk-to-dawn light controls so that birds experience a gradual change in light intensity. This will help to keep birds calm and reduce the incidence of scratching. Try to change the intensity gradually over a period of 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Ask your Broiler Specialist for ideas on customizing your lighting program specific to your own broiler operation.
- One of the most important things to realize about broilers and their lighting programs is that broilers quickly learn what the lighting program is and they anticipate the lights going off. After a few days of the lights turning off at a specific time, birds start to react by increasing feed and water consumption about 6 hours before the lights are scheduled to turn off. Within 2 hours of the lights beginning to turn off, feed consumption will decrease. By the time the lights are shut off, there are essentially no birds eating or drinking. Therefore, it should be noted that the off time in a broiler barn should never be changed. Always adhere to the same off time! If the dark period needs to be adjusted, make sure to modify the time the lights go on.
Contact a New-Life Mills Poultry Specialist to learn more