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15 September 2015

Effects of color of light on preferences, performance, and welfare in broilers

Broiler houses are mainly lit by fluorescent light. With the expected continued increase in energy prices, the interest in less energy consuming light sources is growing. The light-emitting diode (LED) is an energy-saving alternative. The aims of the present 2 studies were to examine 1) the preference for LED color temperature and effects on behavior, and 2) effects of LED color temperature on performance and welfare of male broilers (Ross 308). Two color temperatures were investigated: neutral-white (4,100 K) and cold-white (6,065 K). First, 6 groups of 6-day-old chicks were housed in pens consisting of 2 lightproof compartments with a pop-hole between allowing chicks to move freely between compartments. Number of broilers in each compartment and their behavior were recorded every 15 min on 6 d. A preference for 6,065 K was found (P < 0.001). On d 16, 28, and 34, more time was spent in the 6,065 K treatment (P < 0.03), whereas indifference between treatments was found on d 4, 10, and 22 (P > 0.07). Second, each of the 2 light conditions was applied to 6 groups of 75 chicks. BW and feed consumption were registered weekly. On d 34, we scored gait, foot pad dermatitis, and hock burns in 15 individuals/pen. At slaughter (d 35), cold carcass weight was recorded from all individuals, while yields of different body parts were collected from 9 individuals/group. Broilers from the 6,065 K treatment were 67.4 ± 19.2 g heavier on the day of slaughter (P = 0.0009), whereas no difference was found at other ages (P > 0.12). Feed intake was found to be similar for the 2 treatments (P = 0.52). Pectoralis minor was 4.1 ± 1.9 g heavier in the 6,065 K treatment (P = 0.03). There was no difference between the light treatments in any of the welfare parameters. We conclude from the results that of the 2 color temperatures examined, the most suitable for use in commercial broiler houses is 6,065 K.
Author/Organization: Anja B. Riber
Year: 2015
Topics: animal behaviour, animal welfare/general concepts, broilers, welfare assessment