Influence of light sources and photoperiod on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and health indices of broilers grown to heavy weights2

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Effects of light sources and photoperiod on growth performance, carcass characteristics and health indices of broilers were investigated in 4 trials. In each trial, 720 1-day-old Ross × Ross 708 chicks were randomly distributed into 12 environmentally controlled rooms (30 males/30 females/room). The experimental design was a 4 × 3 factorial treatments consisted of 4 light sources [incandescent (ICD, standard), compact fluorescent (CFL), neutral light-emitting diode (Neutral-LED), and cool poultry-specific filtered LED (Cool-PSF-LED)] and 3 photoperiods [long/continuous (23L:1D), regular/intermittent (2L:2D), and short/non-intermittent (8L:16D)] from d8-d56. Birds were fed the same diet, while feed and water were provided ad libitum. Birds and feed were weighed on 1, 14, 28, 42, and 56 d of age for growth performance. Mortality was recorded daily and feed conversion was adjusted for mortality. Immune response was determined on d 28 to 35, whereas other welfare indices were performed on d 42, 43, and 49. At 56 d of age, 10 male and 10 female birds from each room were randomly selected and processed to determine weights and yields. The BW, BW gain, live weight, and carcass weights and yields of birds reared under Cool-PSF-LED were increased (P ≤ 0.05) in comparison to birds reared under ICD, but FI, FCR, and mortality were not affected. Moreover, broilers subjected to the short/non-intermittent photoperiod had the lowest (P ≤ 0.05) BW, BW gain, FI, live weight, carcass weight, and pectoralis major and minor weights compared to other 2 photoperiods. There was no effect of treatments on some carcass characteristics. There was no effect of treatments on welfare indices, suggesting that the light sources evaluated did not compromise welfare of heavy broilers. It was concluded that the 3 light sources evaluated in this study may be suitable for replacement of ICD light source along with regular/intermittent photoperiod instead of long/continuous photoperiod in poultry facilities to save energy utilization, thereby reducing the total cost of production.

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