Your LAYING HENS are in DARK?
EARN MORE MONEY: LIGHTS at night with solar PHOTOVOLTAICS!
The importance of light in poultry activity.
Chickens are strictly diurnal. At night they protect and cease their activity. Only when there is bright they eat, interact and match. The duration of light (photoperiod) conditions its growth, reproduction and egg laying. (Source: Guide Poultry UAB)
There are three Poultry activities with different Lighting programs for each case:
- Lighting breeders (broiler breeder hens)
- Lighting for meat production (broilers)
- Lighting for poultry laying with two variants: A) breeding and rearing of pullets for egg business and B) laying hens. In this post I will focus on these last two cases.
Lighting in breeding and rearing of pullets for egg laying
The sexual maturity of hens is determined directly by the lighting program during the rearing of the future laying hens. The aim is that birds do not reach sexual maturity before they reach an adequate body development, physiological and hormonal (around 18-20 weeks of age). No forward over the account of sexual maturity, it will get a larger size of eggs laid.
In open sheds with natural light, the best program is the downward lighting that incorporates successive decreases in the duration of illumination until it decides to boost the light stimulation and the onset of sexual maturity.
Lighting in Laying Hens
The light acts as a main trigger of the process of egg formation and oviposition, which requires about 25 hours to complete its cycle.
The light stimulation is usually started between 17-19 weeks of age. Increasing the photoperiod longirud 1-2 hours and then suddenly increases progressively each week (about 15-30 minutes per week) to reach 14 to 16 hours of light. Since then remains constant throughout the laying cycle, without reduction of photoperiod!. Must maintain a minimum of 8 hours of darkness.
Efficient lighting in a ship laying hens
It is recommended a light intensity of only 5 to 10 lux average. Birds perceive extremely low light, almost dark, so even up to transcranial pituitary gland that regulates their activity.
The low consumption fluorescent lamps and LED linear options are more desirable to have the lowest power consumption in an isolated farm.
In a poultry flock isolated from the mains, the most logical is to have natural light in the daytime. The artificial lighting will start each night until all hours required according to each luminous programming at each stage of development of the hen. Some authors recommend that at sunset the ship gradually gets darker and the lights on over night for example from 2 am to 6 am, when the sun is out. The reason is to avoid a sudden off of artificial light that causes unnecessary panic to the chickens.
Photovoltaic modules for autonomous electricity.
The lighting requirements have been reduced if we stay with the 5 to 10 lux, if we adjust the lighting program and if we choose very low fluorescent.
In this case, a few PV modules feed into a battery C10 or C20 (download 10 or 20 hours) adapted to the need for a few hours a day, I think it can be a profitable solution to be paid to the increased production of eggs.
Collaboration between local poultry veterinary and renewable energy professional can be an opportunity to earn more money in your commercial egg production. Despite being on a farm without electric line!
What do you think of it? Your experience concerns us all!