New lights help boost hen productivity

News articles – originally printed in Real Agriculture, November 06, 2014

EggsThe light emitted by an innovative new LED bulb designed for poultry farmers can help chickens lay more eggs.

AgriLux was developed through research led by Dr. Grégoy Bédécarrats from the University of Guelph’s Department of Animal and Poultry Science.

A partnership with Thies Electrical Distributing in Cambridge, Ontario helped bring the product to market.

Bédécarrats’ research shows the typical annual production of a modern laying hen increased from between 325 to 335 eggs, to 344 eggs during an annual production cycle. This means that a farm with 40,000 laying hens could produce an additional 360,000 to 760,000 eggs a year.

The new lighting also led to much calmer birds, and their feed consumption did not increase, despite the increased production.

Bédécarrats discovered that different light sources had a different effect on the brains of laying hens, and that chickens see much better in the red spectrum than humans do.

Incandescent light bulbs used in many barns have a light spectrum mainly on the red side, but they’re very energy inefficient. Compact fluorescent bulbs have a spectrum closer to the green side, but can be difficult to dim without flickering.

LED lights have a long half-life, are very energy efficient and can be created to a desired light spectrum.

Several years of testing and in-barn trials have resulted in AgriLux, which is dimmable, dust proof, and water resistant even when barns are pressured washed to clean them in between flocks. Its one-piece cast aluminum design keeps dust and water out.

A video posted on biotalk.ca provides more in-depth information about the work that went into developing AgriLux and how its impact on laying hens was measured: http://www.biotalk.ca/news/categories/agriculture/item/149-oaft-agrilux-july15-2014#.VE1JiMntlSQ.

This article is one in a series provided by AgInnovation Ontario highlighting innovation in Ontario’s agri-food sector. AgInnovation Ontario is a project of the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre (ATCC). The ATCC is funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. www.aginnovationontario.ca.

This article originally appeared at realagriculture.com