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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGERIAL AND NUTRITIONAL STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY OF HEAVY BROILER CHICKENS Title: Effect of varying light intensity on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens grown to heavy weights

Authors
item Olanrewaju, Hammed
item Purswell, Joseph
item Collier, Stephanie
item Branton, Scott

Submitted to: International Journal of Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2011
Publication Date: December 10, 2011
Citation: Olanrewaju, H.A., Purswell, J.L., Collier, S.D., Branton, S.L. 2011. Effect of varying light intensity on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens grown to heavy weights. International Journal of Poultry Science. 10(12):921-926.

Interpretive Summary: Manipulation of lighting programs is a strategy used to reduce the incidence of metabolic and skeletal disorders in broiler chickens. Improvements in feed intake and feed conversion with broiler lighting programs are well documented in the literature with broilers grown to an average weight of 2.5 kg; however, the results are inconsistent. Most studies have not evaluated gradient levels of light intensity at ranges typically used in commercial practice with modern early- and late-developing broiler production systems designed to optimum growth and meat yield. To address this knowledge gap, we investigated the effects of varying levels of light intensities (25, 10, 5, 2.5, and 0.2 lx) on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens grown to heavy weights. Results indicated that at 56 days of age, there was no effect of light intensity on growth performance, except difference in efficiency on 28 d of age under 25 and 5 lx. Broilers reared under 5 lx had higher live weight and carcass weight in comparison with 0.2 and 25 lx. In addition, broilers reared under 5 and 10 lx had higher breast and tender weights when compared with birds reared under 0.2 and 25 lx. There were age and gender effects on most examined production variables. This study shows the positive impact on profits to commercial poultry facilities that are using low lighting environment to reduce hyperactivity, reduce pecking damage, and energy costs without physiological stress effects on broiler welfare.

Technical Abstract: This study investigated effects of varying levels of light intensities (25, 10, 5, 2.5, and 0.2 lx) on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens grown to heavy weights. Four identical trials were conducted with two replications per trial. In each trial, 600 1-d-old Ross 308 chicks were randomly distributed into 10 environmentally controlled chambers (30 males and 30 females chicks/chamber). Each chamber was randomly assigned one of five light intensities from d 22 to 56. Feed and water were provided ad libitum. Birds were provided a four phase-feeding program (starter, grower, finisher, and withdrawal). Birds and feed were weighed on 0, 14, 28, 42, and 56 d of age for growth performance. Also at 56 d of age, 20 birds (10 males and 10 females) from each chamber were processed to determine weights and yields. There was no effect of light intensity on growth performance, except significant (P = 0.054) difference in FCR on 28 d of age under 25 and 5 lx. Broilers reared under 5 lx had significantly higher live weight (P = 0.046) and carcass weight (P = 0.026) in comparison with 0.2 and 25 lx. Birds reared under 5 and 10 lx had significantly higher fillet (P = 0.025) and tender (P = 0.034) weights when compared with birds reared under 0.2 and 25 lx. Mortality was not affected by light intensity treatments. In addition, plasma corticosterone concentrations were not statistically affected by light intensity, suggesting an absence of stress. There were age and gender effects on most examined production variables. These results indicate that at 56 d of age, broilers reared at either 2.5 or 10 lx performed better than birds reared under 0.2 or 25 lx. This study shows the positive impact on profits to commercial poultry facilities that are using low lighting environment to reduce hyperactivity, reduce pecking damage, and energy costs without physiological stress effects on broiler welfare.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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