Variable light intensity programs impact broiler welfare - research

Behaviour, gait score and stress impacted
calendar icon 28 July 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

In a recent press release USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announced the completion of a funded research project at the University of Arkansas in which researchers evaluated the effects of variable light intensity programs on broiler welfare. 

David Caldwell, head of the Department of Poultry Science and the director for the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science within the University of Arkansas, and his team recently completed the project. The goal of the project was to determine the effects of variable intensity lighting and natural lighting programs on behaviour, gait score and stress hormone (corticosterone) compared with constant light intensity programs in commercial broiler farms. Other objectives in the study included investigating the effect of enrichment huts on broiler behaviour, gait score and stress in the different lighting programs. 

Findings showed that the variable light intensity lighting program stimulated the dust bathing behaviour and volunteer movement of birds. In addition, litter moisture content and footpad lesions were lowest in the variable light intensity lighting program house.

The research was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Simmons Foods and proceeds from the International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The research is part of the Association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. In total, $35,700,000 has been invested in research by the Association and Foundation.

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