Lighting program for meaties.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WildfireSmitty, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. This is a great lighting program. Would work for large scale and small scale meat bird production. I Raise a lot of meat birds and I find this program to be very helpful, a pain sometimes, but it does work.

    Not sure if it has already been posted, info similar to this.

    Turning the lights off is one of the best things that you can do for young meat-type chickens. By giving your birds short days and long nights from one to three weeks of age, you can help them to maintain a healthy body and rapid growth rate. Long dark periods help stimulate melatonin, vitamin D3 and other hormone levels in the blood that improve the chick's immune system and tissue development. Limiting the hours of light will slow early growth slightly, allowing the birds to develop the strong hearts and bones needed to support rapid growth later in the flock. Turning the lights out when the birds are young produces benefits that can last the life of the flock.

    Flocks given significant hours of dark from 7 to 21 days of age benefit from fewer health problems:
    Leg Problems - The most dramatic effect of the lighting program is to reduce leg problems, especially twisted legs. The birds will be more active and spend more time walking.
    Heart Problems - Turning the lights off will reduce heart problems such as "flips" and ascites. The flips are large birds in good condition that die suddenly and are often found dead lying on their backs. Ascites is a form of heart failure that can lead to fluid build up in the abdomen and dark discolouration of the comb due to poor blood circulation. Lighting programs will reduce but not eliminate these heart problems. Feeding programs and barns temperature must also be properly managed if you want to minimize these health problems
    Stunting - Sometimes birds that are challenged by disease early in life will become stunted (noticeably smaller in size than their flock mates). In severe cases, the birds may not feather properly and retain much of their chick down. Research and farm experience suggests that a lighting program will help to combat this condition.
    In general, all flocks benefit from lighting programs but farms where total mortality averages 5% or higher will benefit the most.

    What Lighting Program is Recommended?

    1. Provide 24 hours of bright light each day for the first 3 days after the chicks hatch.
    2. Provide 18 to 23 hours of light (1 to 6 hours of darkness) each day from 4 to 6 days of age. The dark period should be provided in one large block, not in little periods of darkness throughout the day. The full 6 hours of darkness is preferred but even one hour of darkness will help the birds become accustomed to having the lights off.
    3. Provide 8 hours of light and 16 hours of darkness each day from 7 to 21 days of age. The dark should be provided in one large block during the day or two large blocks split up by an hour of light. For example, you could turn the lights off at 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon and turn them back on at 9:00 a.m. the next morning. An example of breaking up the dark period would be to turn off the lights at 4:00 p.m., turn them on again for an hour at 10:00 p.m. and then leave them off until 9:00 a.m. the next day. The dark period should not be provided in small periods interspersed throughout the day.
    4. At three weeks of age, provide the birds with 12 hours of light each day. From 4 weeks of age to market, provide 14 hours of light or natural daylight.

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