How much lighting should be provided to your broilers? In a previous post, we have seen that for layer farming in the Philippines, there is need for sufficient lighting as well as lux in order to maximize on the production.
However, this is not necessarily the case with broiler farming. When you are looking at the intensity of lighting for broilers, you must also keep in mind the type of housing in which the broiler kitchens are staying.
The amount of light that you give to a growing broiler should be the amount of lighting and lux that is necessary for them to see and access their feeders and drinkers. Activity in the broiler operation must be kept to a minimum in order to enable you obtain the genetic potential of the chicken.
At the bird level, you should be looking at intensity of 40 watt light that is positioned 2.0m above the birds. If you are using a 60 watt lighting source, position it at 3.1m above the bird level. This level of lighting is just sufficient to allow the birds to feed but minimizes bird activity that is likely to result in energy usage and extra feed consumption.
It is easy to meet this requirement in a house that is environmentally controlled. If the house is open on both sides or has windows, then the lighting requirement will also be met by the sunshine. Optimal lighting in broiler production will also lead to excellent feed conversion ratios (FCRs).
Effect of Increasing Lighting above the Optimal Requirement Stated Above
As the lighting intensity in the chicken house increases above this optimal level, then certain antisocial behaviours begin manifesting themselves in the birds. Increasing lux will lead to cannibalism, piling as well as increased activity levels amongst the flock.
In broiler poultry production in the Philippines, an open house that lets in lots of lighting from the sun can be a disadvantage as it does not allow you to control lux to optimal levels that will help you obtain the genetic potential of the chickens.
Improving Broiler Feed Conversion Ratios in an Open House
For better feed conversion ratios in an open house, start by offering the chickens up 48 hours of continuous lighting. You can then follow this up by providing dim lighting for all the dark hours except for one hour during the midnight.
The one hour of darkness will ensure your chickens are acclimatized to darkness in order to prevent panic and injuries in the flock should you experience power blackouts. Remember we said that chickens are creatures of habit and dislike abrupt changes in their environment. A 40 watt light intensity source placed 2m above the bird level should be sufficient to cover 25 square meters.