The Science of Layer Lighting
Light, a key environmental factor and essential to sustain life, is why raising animals in indoor facilities requires specialized lighting programs to achieve optimal results. ONCE® animal-centric lighting systems offering a scientifically-proven solution designed to influence desirable physiological and biological processes in animals. With AgriShift® technology and a production dimmer program, light intensity, photoperiod and color spectrum can be adjusted for better performance, naturally resulting in increased production and enhanced animal welfare. However, artificial lighting programs must be applied with a thorough understanding of the animal’s response to light and the significance of the different characteristics of light.
The light we see affects our mind and a wide variety of metabolic processes within our body. Eyes are undeniably one of our most important organs. It is where light penetrates the retina and stimulates multiple biological functions. The light we perceive is part of the electromagnetic spectrum our eyes can detect, known as the visible spectrum.
The Effect of Lighting Indoors
The light we see affects our mind and a wide variety of metabolic processes within our body. Eyes are undeniably one of our most important organs. It is where light penetrates the retina and stimulates multiple biological functions. The light we perceive is part of the electromagnetic spectrum our eyes can detect, known as the visible spectrum. There are several aspects of artificial light important to poultry producers, including these of some significance:
- Spectral composition: The distribution of light wavelengths (indicates how much of each color is present)
- Photoperiod: The number of hours of light and dark in a 24-hour period
- Light intensity: The total amount of luminous power produced in the visual part of the light spectrum
Using an inappropriate artificial light, or simply improperly measured light intensities, will result in the illuminance (footcandle, lux) being too high or too low. The consequences of inappropriate lighting may affect health, production and welfare of your flock due to the abnormal light-induced biological responses.
Turkeys See Differently
The graphs below show the typical color sensitivity of a human eye compared to the sensitivity of a typical chicken eye. In the Human Eye Spectrum (left) the highest sensitivity is in green and yellow, showing that humans see these colors better than they see blue and red. In the Domestic Fowl Spectrum you can see there are 4 (four) distinct color peaks. The highest sensitivities are to green, blue and red light but you can see another one in the UV spectrum (far left peak on the curve).
Improve Animal Welfare
Reducing stress improves animal livability and performance. Sunrise and sunset simulation eliminates the stress inputs of switching lights on and off abruptly, lowering mortality and supporting a bird’s immune response. Research and on-farm testing using AgriShift® lighting has shown immediate changes in bird behavior, increased performance and lower overall stress indicators.
ONCE® lighting programs and systems are directed toward minimizing extreme changes in lighting. Abrupt changes are shown to excite flight responses, increasing cortisol levels and inhibit melatonin secretion—both of which have a negative effect on the well-being of the bird. By offering LED fixtures that present uniform coverage and a consistent light, as well as the ability to provide sunset and sunrise functionality, corticosterone levels and other stress markers are minimized.
Remembering back to the beginning, when it was a natural part of life for every living creature to experience a morning sunrise and an evening sunset, is the reason we focus on perfecting the science of animal-centric lighting with our mission to: Improve animal health through applied photo-biology.
Sunset and Sunrise
The circadian pacemaker consists of two component oscillators. One is entrained to dusk and controls the onset of melatonin secretion. The second is entrained to dawn and controls the melatonin amplitude. The natural daylight spectrum during sunsets and sunrises is different from natural light at noon. There are also significant seasonal variances in the spectral composition of sunset and sunrise light.
Birds react not only to seasonal changes in daylength, but also seasonal changes in the light spectrum. These facts add to the importance of considering spectrum in the addition of sunrise/sunset controls in artificial lighting choices. The second picture on your right illustrates the typical spectrum of a summer sunset.
In the spectrum charts below, daylight at noon is compared to daylight at sunset is compared.
The Importance of Light Color
When applying ONCE® recommended lighting schedules, you’re ensuring the light is adjusted at key times in your animals’ development cycle, allowing for uniform growth. Under Dim-to-Blue® Technology birds have been shown to be calmer, less prone to flight, notably less aggressive and consequently put more feed energy into just growing.
Green light increases growth during early stages of development, while blue light is shown to be helpful in the growth of poultry at a later age. Blue light keeps birds calm by reducing coricosterone levels and heterophil:lymphocyte ratios—blood markers for short and long-term stress.
For Turkey Breeders, a red enhanced spectrum encourages the onset of the egg-laying period and extends the peak production period.
Blue and Green Spectrum
Consistently, research concludes monochromatic LED source lighting increases growth in broilers reared under green monochromatic light during the early stage by enhancing proliferation of skeletal muscle satellite cells.
The blue spectrum has been shown to naturally calm chickens. Therefore, by providing lighting that shifts from red content in brood to blue content during grow-out, performance is maximized, while aggressive behaviors are minimized. Blue light has also been shown to be helpful in the growth and sexual development of poultry at a later age by elevation of plasma androgens.
Combined green and blue light promotes myofiber growth due to more effective stimulation of testosterone secretion. Other studies show exposure to blue light causes a decrease in blood pressure and positively effects blood glucose levels and triglyceride levels.
One of the main functions of red light when raising Breeders is to regulate Melatonin and stimulate reproductive activity. The red spectrum is the only spectrum which entrains hypothalamic and pineal oscillators. The rhythm of melatonin synthesis is driven both by an extrapineal and an intrapineal oscillator entrained by light and dark information, which is perceived directly and indirectly by the pineal gland. Melatonin enhances the immune response and counteracts immunodeficiency states resulting from acute stress, viral diseases, aging, or drug treatment.
Experience a Return-On-Investment
When applied properly, lighting can greatly enhance performance and therefore profitability. A lighting system in a barn has three characteristics–color of the light (wavelength), intensity of the light, and the amount of time the lights are on each day (daily photoperiod). With advancing LED technologies, farmers can now simultaneously vary the color, intensity and photoperiod of the lighting in animal houses and barns.
The Right Lighting Program
ONCE® has a team of experts who know the best solutions specific to you and your animals. They make sure you get a lighting layout with the correct light levels and placement of the lights, for free! They can also help answer questions about lighting schedules and surge protectors as well. Contact someone on our Layer team today to learn more about what the right lighting program can do for you:
+1 (763) 381-5621 – Ext. 2
AgriShift® LED fixtures are more energy efficient than fluorescent and incandescent lighting. Switching from incandescent lighting to LED lighting with dimming can save you anywhere from 85 to 95% of your lighting electricity costs. Switching from compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to ONCE® LED lighting products saves from 45 to 50%.
Durable and Lasting Product Design
ONCE® animal-centric lighting systems go beyond traditional LEDs by offering a SOLUTION so both the animal and your bottom line benefit. By researching the science of light exclusively for the agricultural market, ONCE® is able to incorporate a robust design that is made specifically for harsh agricultural environments.
The Jelly Jar (JJ), Junction Box (JB), and Hard Wire (HW) versions are suitable for use in wet locations and are IP-66 rated. Article 547 of the National Electric Code requires LED luminaries in agricultural building be suitable for wet locations. This is to prevent electrical shock hazard, reduce the risk of fire, and prolong the life of the equipment.
In addition to being wet-rated, ONCE® lighting systems are built to withstand the corrosive vapors from animal excrement and excessive dust accumulation. This prolongs the life and eliminates maintenance costs.