YES In birds and including chicken, Light is a very important component in their growth and development.
The intensity and period of light in which your chicken are exposed affects their reproductive development.
What does light help in poultry?
· Sunlight is known to actively contribute in the development of the chicken reproductive system.
Light stimulates the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland through optic nerve for the release of FSH and LH
FSH – Follicle-stimulating hormone, is an important part of the reproductive system. It’s responsible for the growth of ovarian follicles in all birds including chicken.
LH- luteinizing hormone which also aids in healthy growth of the reproductive parts of the chicken.
· Light also helps to increase feeding time during the growing stages of chicken . If they can see they can eat .If the eat extra hours then the can convert more food into energy for growth.
However, it is important to note that overfeeding for chicken leads to losses and so will underfeeding.
· Exposure to sunlight also aids in making of vitamin D which in turn helps in calcium metabolism. Calcium is an important component for layers because it aids in healthy bones and high quality eggshells.
How do I regulate light for my chicken?
Chicken coup site
When deciding where to locate your chicken house it is very important to consider a location where the sunlight will not be too limited.
A completely open area would be fine if the housing is designed with shades.
The chicken coup orientation affects the amount of direct sunlight that reaches the birds. This is also the same for the roofing design .
Chicken coups that have the lighting windows oriented in the east west direction are considered the best for small and medium poultry farms and housings.
Artificial automated light
A view inside a cage-free “aviary” chicken house, designed by Big Dutchman.
In huge poultry farms where it is difficult to distribute direct sunlight , clear roofing and artificial lights are used .These can be programmed to go on and off when required in order to achieve the desired lighting period for maximum egg production and chicken health.
How much sunlight do my chicken need for good production?
It is known that up to 1 hour of exposure to sunlight is quite enough for a chicken to get its daily requirements for vitamin D.
However in big commercial farms depending on the sizes and type of housing the time that the birds are exposed to direct sunlight can be limited. Here Oral supplements for essential vitamins are administered to maintain production.
Below is a table used to refer to how much sunlight is required by you poultry especially layers.
NOTE; This amount of regulation is best when automated and in big farms where little difference in production makes a huge impact in overall performance of the whole farm financially.
|Weeks of age||Light hours required|
|1 to 2||22.5-23|
|8 to 16||12-13|
|18||14.5 from here light hours should be increased by half an hours up to 17 hours to the 23rd day .|
Notice the table ends at 18 weeks. Layers start laying eggs at this point life .This is where they are moved from growers to layers coup.
Light is kept high at the early times in growth life to enable them to eat enough for sufficient growth since egg production is going to require energy once time comes.
For any Farmer Light is the most important thing to consider in all aspects of Poultry Farming.