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Comparison of Red and White LED Light Bulbs and Their Effects on Laying Hen Performance, Stress, and Behavior
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Lighting is a vital aspect of every commercial poultry operation. Since chickens are a photorefractory species, an inadequate lighting program could be detrimental to their growth and productivity. Few studies have looked at the effects of lighting on laying hens, but it has been shown that red light can potentially stimulate egg production. The company Once Innovations has produced a red LED light bulb marketed to poultry producers. However, this new light bulb costs $23 to Overdrive’s $10 white LED. The effects of the two different light bulbs on bird performance, stress, and behavior were compared to determine which type is more beneficial to the birds and more cost-effective for poultry producers. Three replicates were run for a total of six treatments, with 36 birds per treatment. Initially there were no differences between the two treatments. At the end of the study, after exposing the birds to the two separate treatments, no difference (P < 0.05) was found in Haugh units (Red, 105.81 ± 0.54; White, 105.75 ± 0.63), but eggs laid under white light had a higher breaking strength (Red, 3195.56 ± 29.28 g; White, 3251.07 ± 24.32 g). The feed conversion ratio was better for hens housed under red light (Red, 2.04; White, 2.06). Birds housed under white light were more stressed, with higher blood corticosterone levels (Red, 550 ± 84 ng/dl; White, 1884 ± 195 ng/dl), a higher blood heterophil/lymphocyte ratio (Red, 0.57 ± 0.08; White, 1.14 ± 0.11), and a greater increase in physical asymmetry (Red Start, 1.52 ± 0.09 & Red End, 1.15 ± 0.06; White Start, 1.47 ± 0.11 & White End, 1.59 ± 0.10). No differences in Tonic Immobility were observed (P > 0.05). All data was analyzed using PROC GLM and significant differences were considered at P < 0.05. Results indicated that birds housed under red light were less stressed and more productive; therefore, red lighting may be a beneficial means to increase production while also decreasing stress in the birds. However, more research is needed to determine the effects of red lighting through the second half of the lay cycle.
Berger, Emily Cay (2017). Comparison of Red and White LED Light Bulbs and Their Effects on Laying Hen Performance, Stress, and Behavior. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from