Poultry Farm Lighting System; You must use the factors given below to plan the right lighting for an industry or farm:

•    Lighting levels needed to carry out certain tasks
•    Factors that affect the quality of light
•    Reflectivity factors and room characteristics
•    Forms of lamps and their luminaries used
•    Relationship between the lamp output and illumination level
•     Relationship between lamp spacing and room height
•    The form of supplementary lights that are specific for certain jobs
•    Maintenance and care of the system after its installation

Poultry Farm Lighting System: Best Overview

Various illumination levels are required for carrying out different tasks done by poultry specialists and workers.  At times, extremely high light may be needed, and at times, low light may be needed.  New guideline for good lighting systems has been provided by the Farm Lighting Committee, which is made up of Illuminating Engineering Society and the American Society of Agricultural Engineer.

How light affects egg production

The intensity and length of light received by your birds can impact their egg production.  The anterior lobe of the brain of your birds is stimulated by the light. The anterior lobe is the frontal part of their pituitary gland. The light can access this part of the brain via the optic nerve of the bird. The stimulation will lead to the production of LH and FSH.  The light energy can equally enter via the feathers, skin, and skull of the bird.  The growth of ovarian follicles is due to FSH.  The ovum gets released once it has reached maturity, and this is due to the activity of LH.

How to light the broiler house

Intensity:  If there is a blackout, the broilers can be given access to about 2 fc from the first three days. They can then be placed on about 1 fc to processing. If it is in a natural light housing; that is, curtain or window houses, you can supplement the natural light with about 2.5 fc for as long as the supplemental lighting is being used.

Duration: This is determined by how old the chicken is. It can also be determined by the housing type. You can expose your broiler chicks to about 23 hours of constant light for the first two days of life, which can then be reduced to about 20 hours of light until they are processed. The birds can benefit from both dark and light for their health, according to research. The pineal gland produces a hormone called melatonin when the birds get exposed to darkness.  A strong association exists between immune function and melatonin for improvement in diseases resistance.  Very few health-related problems are recorded in birds that are exposed to sufficient dark periods, like leg problems, spiking mortality and sudden death.  

Poultry Farm Lighting System: Best Overview


Important points about light

•    The wavelength of light visible is from 400 to 700 millimicrons
•    The light with the longer wavelength (Red) requires a shorter period to reach the brain than the one having a shorter wavelength.
•    There is variation in  the intensity of light rays from the sun due to:
o    Moisture and dust in the air
o    Cloudiness
o    Sun’s position
•    Length and amount of light changes based on how the earth is positioned to the sun.
•    In the northern hemisphere, a)    Shortest day of the year is December 21st
b)    The longest day of the year is June 21st.
•    The above data is reversed in the southern hemisphere
•    Signs of daylight show up some 30 minutes before sunrise, while darkness starts showing up some 30 minutes after sunset; this is consequent of the earth’s surface curvature. As a result, the hours from sunrise to sunset are shorter than the length of light day.  The “light day” refers to the period between the sunrise and sunset.

Terms being used in light  


Lumen is defined by the rate at which light falls on a surface area of the square foot, which is also about one foot from a light source having an intensity of one candela.


Foot-candle is used in measuring illumination on a surface.  A foot-candle represents the intensity of light that strikes each point of a given segment of the inner surface of an imaginary one-foot radius sphere having one candlepower as its source in the center.  This means that one-foot-candle is equivalent to one lumen per square foot.


The lux of light intensity is equivalent to one lumen per square foot. Then 1-foot candle equals 10.76 lux.

Poultry Farm Lighting System: Best Overview
LED light bulbs

Types of light

In the poultry house, four different types of light are used:
•    Compact Fluorescent lighting (CF): It produces efficient energy.  One-fifth of it is required for providing them with light intensity
•    Mercury vapor:  It can last for up to 24,000 hours, which means it has a very long life.  It needs some minutes to warm up, and it is not recommended for use in any house that has a low ceiling.
•    Fluorescent:  It is about four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and it has about ten times longer lifetime compared to the incandescent bulb
•    Incandescent:  It is the cheapest form of light used in a poultry house.  There is a need for reflectors, and its lifespan is short; that is, about 1000 hours.

Management of light

The efficiency of the light in the poultry house also has a thing to do with the way the lights are installed. When fixing bulb in a poultry house, you should follow the important points described below:
•    The distance between each of the bulbs should be about 1 ½ times the distance between the bulb and the level of the birds
•    The distance between the poultry house’s outer edge and the bulbs should not be more than half of the distance between each of the bulbs.
•    If you are using a cage system, you shod place the bulbs in a manner that the rays they emit fall on the birds and their feeds.
•    The light intensity  can be increased by 50% at bird level using clean reflectors, which may not be so if there is no reflector
•    Cone shaped reflectors should be avoided since such reflectors can confine the rays of light to very limited areas. It is better to use only flat reflectors that feature rounded edge.
•    If deep litter system is being used, it is better to place the bulbs some eight inches above.   You should, however, keep the bulb in the aisle if you are using cage house.
•    It is not proper to hang the bulbs by a cord if they are to be fitted with open houses.
•    The bulbs can only emit about 1/3 less light intensity if they are dirty
•    You should attempt to clean your light bulbs at least once in two weeks

Effect of light during the growing period

If you reduce the length of light day in the poultry, you will end up with the following conditions:
•    There will be an increase in the size of the first set of eggs to be produced
•    There will be a rise in the number of eggs that are produced in the course of the first half of egg production. However, this does not spell an increase in the total number of eggs that are laid
•     There will be an increase in the age at which the birds attain sexual maturity
The sexual maturity of the birds can be delayed by light restriction alone for about three weeks.  The sexual maturity can, however, be delayed by up to four weeks if the light restriction is combined with feed restriction.

Effects of light during the laying period

There is an increase in egg production by birds that are reared under an increased day-light; this is due to the release of LH and FSH from the pituitary gland. Egg production is equally affected by light brightness. There is a need for one foot candlelight intensity in layer houses. Minimum of 0.5-foot-candle light intensity is required at the lower deck of multi-deck cage system.  The birds should be exposed to up to 16 hours of light during the peak egg production period. Egg production can be drastically reduced if photoperiod is reduced during this period. You can give the artificial light in the morning or evening; it can also be given at both the morning and evening.

Combination growing-laying light programs

 The two vital lighting points worthy of consideration are:
•    The period of light exposure should not be reduced for laying pullets
•    The period of light exposure should not be increased for growing pullets

In-season flocks

These are the birds that grow during a time the period of natural light exposure is reduced, especially in the last part of the growing cycle.  Chicks that are hatched in the Northern Hemisphere from March first to August 31st are called in-season flocks.

Out-season flocks

Out-season flocks are those chicks that are hatched from September first to February 28th.  This is because their growing period occurs during increasing light-day.
Instructions for laying and growing light programs in an open-sided poultry house

•    In-season flock: There is no need for artificial lights for about 20 weeks, which can extend for 22 weeks in meat-type breeders.  The light exposure can be increased to 13 hours after the 20 weeks. You can now add an extra hour each week until the chicks are exposed to 16 hours of light.

•    Out-season flock: You can adopt two methods here:

o    Constant light-day program:You should determine the period of natural light exposed before the chicks are 20 weeks old. This period must be maintained for 20 weeks from day 3 by adding artificial light to natural light.
o    Decreasing day-light program: You should determine the total period of exposure to natural light after the chicks are up to 20 weeks old. You can add seven hours after this.


This is a situation in which the birds cannot respond to a long period of daylight. The decrease in egg production is more pronounced with an increase in stimulatory day length.

Ahmeral lighting programs

The ahmeral lighting cycle occurs when the addition of light and dark period does not equate to 24 hours. They are of two types: Longer day is about 14 hours of dark plus 14 hours of light; Shorter day is 11 hours of dark plus 11 hours of dark.      


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