LED lighting in poultry facilities is cost-effective and could reduce aggressiveness in birds, according to the Aichi Agricultural Research Center in Nagakute, Japan, which is studying the use of LED lights in raising the country's Nagoya Cochin breed of chickens.

Japan's government put out an order in 2008 for manufacturers to stop producing incandescent lightbulbs by the end of 2012 as part of energy-saving efforts, causing poultry producers to look for alternative ways of lighting their facilities. The center conducted tests on four-week-old birds for three months using four different colors of LED lights: red, yellow, green and blue. Researchers found that birds raised under yellow LEDs consumed the least amount of food but still grew the most during the test period. In addition, birds raised under yellow bulbs exhibited no signs of aggressive behavior, as opposed to the 10 percent that showed aggressive behavior under incandescent bulbs.

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"So far, we haven't found any downside to switching to LED lights," said Yuzo Ida, an engineer in the research center's animal husbandry laboratory. "But I hope to carry out further research with different colors to help farmers (make a more informed decision)."