Effect of fluorescent vs. poultry-specific light-emitting diode lights on production performance and egg quality of W-36 laying hens
More energy-efficient, durable, affordable, and dimmable light-emitting diode (LED) lights are finding applications in poultry production. However, data are lacking on controlled comparative studies concerning the impact of such lights during the pullet rearing and subsequent laying phase. This study evaluated two types of poultry-specific LED light (PS-LED) vs. fluorescent light (FL) with regards to their effects on hen laying performance. A total of 432 Hy-Line W-36 laying hens were tested in two batches using four environmental chambers (nine cages per chamber and 6 birds per cage) from 17 to 41 weeks of age (WOA). Dim-to-red PS-LED and warm-white FL were used in the laying phase. The hens had been reared under a dim-to-blue PS-LED or a warm-white FL from 1 to 16 WOA. The measured performance variables included 1) timing of sexual maturity, 2) egg production performance, 3) egg quality, and 4) egg yolk cholesterol. Results showed that the two types of light used during the laying phase had comparable performance responses for all response parameters (P > 0.05) with a few exceptions. Specifically, eggs laid from hens in the PS-LED treatment had lower shell thickness (P = 0.01) and strength (P = 0.03) than those in the FL treatment at 41 WOA. The two types of light used during the rearing phase did not influence the 17 to 41 WOA laying performance, except that hens reared under the PS-LED laid eggs with lower shell thickness (P = 0.02) at 32 WOA as compared to hens reared under the FL. This study demonstrates that the emerging poultry-specific LED lights yield comparable production performance and egg quality of W-36 laying hens to the traditional fluorescent lights.