Crowding is detrimental to litter
The birds instinctively seek to rest in dark areas where they will crowd together in small groups. The birds give off body heat, leading to an increase in litter temperature. Warm litter means dry litter. In those areas of the house where birds do not crowd together, the litter is not being heated. It becomes cold and most often damp, possibly even wet. The birds do not like lying down in cold and wet areas, starting a vicious circle leading to even bigger patches with poor litter.
Bird behaviour in the livestock house can be adjusted with the following means:
- Distribution of light
- Light intensity
Equal light distribution
The difference between highest and lowest light intensity in the house should not exceed 20-30%. This means that where the light intensity just under the light source is 20 lux, the light intensity in the darkest area should be at least 14 lux (20 lux - 30% = 14 lux). The birds will distribute unevenly in the house when the light intensity difference is greater. Obviously, existing legislation in the relevant country must always be adhered to.
Light intensity adapted to age of birds
The recommended light intensity depends on the age of the birds. A day-old chicken requires a very high light intensity. Eyes are not yet fully developed and it does not know where the feed is. As a result, it needs a high light intensity. After the first week, the light intensity can be reduced in order to avoid stress and to control growth. Toward the latter part of the growth period, it may be necessary to increase the light intensity with a view to stimulating the feeding urge and achieve maximum gain.
|Age||Min. Lux||Max. Lux|
Use a light program to avoid leg problems
A light program covers the physiological needs of the birds and has a behaviour adjusting effect. Studies show that birds have fewer leg problems when a light program is used to provide dark periods. We have developed an advanced light control as an integrated element in our production computers DOL 535/539. This controller allows the user to select desired light programs.
The program consists of three different types of light: primary light, slave light, and inspection light which can be set to on or off independently of each other for the desired periods. Additionally, light sources can be supplied with a dimmer to allow for varying light intensities.