How lighting impacts broiler, worker welfare

Often overlooked, lighting plays a crucial role in health and performance in the poultry industry.

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Brightly Lit Broiler House
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Proper lighting has benefits for both humans working in the barns and the birds that live in the barns.

“Safety is paramount in all processes, whether it’s poultry or any other industry. Poor lighting has led to the most slips, trips and falls of any other safety application. When you think about it from that perspective, consistent, quality lighting for the people is paramount,” Tim Cillessen, VP of sales, Dialight, explained.

“But the same thing is true for animals. Animals are very much like humans in that lighting affects their mood. It affects their behavior. It affects their stress.”

Recent research funded by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association (USPOULTRY) revealed that lighting, especially variable light intensity programs play a crucial role in the health, welfare and performance of commercial broilers.

“Even at night, lack of light is important too. Your body needs to rest. Poultry need to rest. They can’t live with 24/7 lights on because it creates a lot of stress,” Cillessen added.

Selecting the right kind of lighting

Cillessen recommends that poultry facilities select LED lighting for their clarity and energy efficiency.

“LED has done more for light quality than any other lighting technologies in the last 100 years,” he said. “LEDs use at least 75% less energy, and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent and other legacy lighting technologies. They also offer even greater energy savings, through advanced controls functionality and energy rebates.”

For the poultry industry, it’s also important to select lighting that is designed for a wide range of temperatures and environments. Customizability is crucial, so that the lighting fits the exact needs of a poultry house.

“Durability is another area. We’ve gotten accustomed to changing light bulbs. We need to get out of that thought process,” Cillessen said. “You’ve got better things to be doing besides changing lightbulbs.”

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