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Poult Sci. 2013 Apr;92(4):869-73. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02679.

Effects of colored light-emitting diode illumination on behavior and performance of laying hens.

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Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, Länggasse 85, CH-Zollikofen, Switzerland.


The best method for lighting poultry houses has been an issue for many decades, generating much interest in any new systems that become available. Poultry farmers are now increasingly using colored LED (light-emitting diodes) to illuminate hen houses (e.g., in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and England). In Switzerland all newly installed systems are now equipped with LED, preferably green ones. The LED give monochromatic light from different wavelengths and have several advantages over conventional illuminants, including high energy efficiency, long life, high reliability, and low maintenance costs. The following study examines the effects of illumination with white, red, and green LED on behavior and production parameters of laying hens. Light intensities in the 3 treatments were adjusted to be perceived by hens as equal. Twenty-four groups of 25 laying hens were kept in identical compartments (5.0 × 3.3 m) equipped with a litter area, raised perches, feed and drinking facilities, and nest boxes. Initially, they were kept under white LED for a 2-wk adaptation period. For the next 4 wk, 8 randomly chosen compartments were lit with red LED (640 nm) and 8 others with green LED (520 nm). Behavior was monitored during the last 2 wk of the trial. Additionally weight gain, feed consumption, onset of lay, and laying performance were recorded. The results showed minor effects of green light on explorative behavior, whereas red light reduced aggressiveness compared with white light. The accelerating effect of red light on sexual development of laying hens was confirmed, and the trial demonstrated that this effect was due to the specific wavelength and not the intensity of light. However, an additional effect of light intensity may exist and should not be excluded.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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