Effect of the combination of white and red LED lighting during incubation on layer, broiler, and Pekin duck hatchability
Previous research has shown that providing light during incubation can have positive effects on hatchability and chick quality; however, white light alone has been observed to improve these factors only in pigmented broiler eggs and non-pigmented white layer eggs. Monochromatic red light has been shown to improve hatchability in layer eggs. Therefore the objective of this study was to utilize one light fixture that emitted both white and monochromatic red light to determine if this one light source could improve hatchability in both types of chicken eggs and pigmented Pekin duck egg. To determine this, 3 experiments were conducted, the first using White Leghorn eggs (N = 6912), the second using commercial broiler eggs (N = 4608), and the third using commercial Pekin duck eggs (N = 3564) in which eggs were incubated with 12 h of light and 12 h of darkness (LED) or complete darkness (DARK); the light level was 250 lux. Hatchability, embryo mortality, and hatchling quality were measured. In Experiment 1, LED had fewer early dead embryos (P = 0.03), less overall embryo mortality (P = 0.05), fewer chicks with unhealed navels (P < 0.001), fewer chicks with defects (P < 0.001), and a higher percentage of fertile eggs that hatched (P = 0.05) than DARK. In Experiment 2, LED had fewer chicks with unhealed navels (P = 0.003), fewer chicks with defects (P = 0.001), and a higher percentage of fertile eggs that hatched (P = 0.04) than DARK. In Experiment 3, LED had fewer early dead embryos (P = 0.05), lower overall embryo mortality (P = 0.04), and a higher percentage of fertile eggs that hatched (P = 0.05), and had ducklings with lower bodyweights at hatch (P = 0.04) than DARK. These results indicate that providing both white and red light during incubation can improve chick quality across poultry varieties. This type of fixture could be used to improve commercial hatchery efficiency and chick quality.