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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

Location: Poultry Research

Title: Influence of photoperiod, light intensity, and their interaction on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broilers 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: October 15, 2012
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Citation: Olanrewaju, H.A., Purswell, J.L., Collier, S.D., Branton, S.L. 2012. Influence of photoperiod, light intensity, and their interaction on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broilers grown to heavy weights. International Journal of Poultry Science. 11(12):739-746.

Interpretive Summary: The poultry industry has made rapid progress in improving the genetics and nutrition along with changes in environmental management, resulting in more rapid broiler growth. In order to maximize the genetic potential of modern heavy weight broilers (3.0 kg and above) while ensuring bird health, microenvironmental factors (light, air, temperature, humidity) recommendation are important. Although many studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of the lighting programs in broilers production, still more studies are necessary to examine the interrelationship of photoperiod and light intensity related to the mechanisms that control the modern heavy broilers’ blood physiology (acid-base, electrolytes, metabolites, endocrine). Exposure of chicks to 3 photoperiods (long/continuous [23L:1D] from d 8 - d 56; regular/intermittent [2L:2D], and short/non-intermittent [8L:16D] from d 8 - d 48 and 23L:1D from d 49 - d 56, respectively) along with concurrent exposure to 3 light intensities (10, 5.0 and 0.5 lx) from d 8 through d 56 days of age on growth performance, carcass characteristics and the resultant welfare of modern heavy broilers were examined. Results indicated that broilers subjected to short/non-intermittent photoperiod had lowest body weight, body weight gain, feed intake, carcass weight, and pectoralis major and minor weights compared with broilers reared under long/continuous and regular/intermittent photoperiods. Feed to gain ratio and mortality were not affected by treatments. There was no effect of light-intensity or photoperiod × light intensity interactions on all examined variables. These results indicate that long/continuous and regular/intermittent photoperiod equally improved broiler performance and they may reduce energy cost, optimize the environment in broiler houses, aid in maximizing the genetic potential of broilers and reduce production cost compared with a short/non-intermittent photoperiod and no significant effect due to light intensity treatments observed in this study.

Technical Abstract: We investigated the effects of photoperiod, light intensity and their interaction on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broilers in 2 trials. In each trial, 540 1-d-old Ross × Ross 708 chicks were randomly distributed into 9 environmentally controlled rooms (30 males/30 females chicks/room), provided 23L:1D with 20 lx of intensity from d 1 to 7 d, and then subjected to the treatments thereafter. The treatments consisted of 3 photoperiod (long/continuous [23L:1D] from d 8 - d 56; regular/intermittent [2L:2D], and short/non-intermittent [8L:16D] from d 8 - d 48 and 23L:1D from d 49 - d 56, respectively) and exposure to 3 light intensities (10, 5.0 and 0.5 lx) from d 8 through d 56 at 50% RH. Birds were provided a four phase-feeding program and water were provided ad libitum. Birds and feed were weighed on 0, 14, 28, 42, and 56 d of age for growth performance evaluation. At 56 d of age, 20 (10 males and 10 females) birds from each room were randomly selected and processed to determine weights and yields. Broilers subjected to short/non-intermittent photoperiod significantly (P = 0.05) had lowest BW, BW gain, FI, carcass weight, and pectoralis major and minor weights compared with broilers reared under long/continuous and regular/intermittent photoperiods. Feed conversion and mortality were not affected by treatments. There was no effect of light-intensity or photoperiod × light intensity interactions on all examined variables. Corticosterone concentrations were not affected by treatments, suggesting an absence of physiological stress. These results indicate that long/continuous and regular/intermittent photoperiod equally improved broiler performance compared with short/non-intermittent photoperiod and no significant effect due to light intensity treatments.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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