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Research Project: Enhancing Sustainability and Production Efficiency through Improved Management and Housing Design in Commercial Broilers

Location: Poultry Research

Title: Effect of Photoperiod on Live Performance in Neonatal Broiler Chicks

Author
item Magee, Christopher - Chris
item Olanrewaju, Hammed
item CAMPBELL, J - Auburn University
item Purswell, Joseph - Jody

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.japr.2022.100295

Interpretive Summary: Lighting programs for broilers have traditionally employed continuous or near-continuous daylength for chicks through the first week of life to ensure chicks can successfully locate feed and water. Eye development can benefit from longer dark periods, but daylength research in broilers has not typically examined the post-hatch period. This study examines the effect of a longer dark period applied during the first 7 days post-hatch on live performance. Two different daylength treatments 20 vs. 23 hours were used from from day-of-hatch. Live performance including crop fill, body weight, feed consumption, and feed conversion were not affected by daylength. Reduced daylength may be implemented as early as day-of-hatch without any compromise in performance.

Technical Abstract: Lighting programs for broilers have traditionally employed continuous or near-continuous photoperiods for neonates through the first week of life to ensure chicks can successfully navigate the rearing environment for feed and water. Normal melatonin production and ocular development require a minimum of 4 h of darkness, yet photoperiod research in broilers has not typically examined the neonatal phase. This study examines the effect of a longer dark phase (scotophase) applied during the first 7 days post-hatch on live performance. A total of 384 Ross 708 broiler chickens were reared in two trials to 14 days of age using two different lighting program treatments (20L:4D vs 23L:1D) applied from day-of-hatch. No significant differences were observed between treatment groups for live performance parameters including body weight (BW), body weight gain (BWG), feed intake (FI), and feed conversion ratio (FCR). Crop fill rates were also assessed, and no significant differences were observed. Increased scotophase length may be implemented as early as day-of-hatch without any compromise in performance.