The Importance of Light in Chicken Farming

Light has been used by farmers to increase production on poultry farms for a very long time. But we often find that the reasons behind the use of light are not always understood completely.

In this blog post, I share insightful information and how light effects chickens.

How Chickens Perceive Light

According to Prof. Karen Schwean – Larder from the department of poultry at the University of Saskatchewan, chickens perceive light in a very different way to humans. When chickens are exposed to light, it travels through the top of the skull and their eyes, whereas humans perceive light through their eyes.

When exposed to light, chickens receive light through the pineal gland. It then travels to the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. This process directly influences the growth of birds. It, along with a chicken’s need for a regulated day-and-night cycle, play an important role in improving a bird’s immune system, their mobility, alertness and leads to better growth.

Poultry Houses and Lighting

Light plays a crucial part in the commercial production of layers and breeders. Birds are generally kept indoors, the need to stimulate growth along with managed day-and-night cycles rely on the use of artificial light. You need to be able to provide the right amount of light at the right time.

But the use of light goes beyond just growth stimulation, light serves another practical purpose. Chickens require quality conditions to thrive, light becomes a critical tool to ensure that buildings are maintained according to the highest possible standards.

The right amount of light enables chicken handlers to inspect their flock thoroughly for possible ailments or diseases that can spread. It also helps them clean buildings completely to prevent the manifestation of diseases.

Light and Feeding

Light is also a valuable resource for newborn chicks. The right amount of light exposure can positively affect their growth and produce more uniform birds. Feeding is also directly impacted as adequate light helps chicks find feeders and, therefore, receive the right amount of nutrition to aid growth.

The Right Amount of Light

While light is invaluable when used correctly, it can also be used incorrectly, thereby adversely affecting your flock. Abrupt changes in your lighting program can leads to discomfort for your birds and ultimately affect their feed intake and feed conversion efficiency.

As you experiment to find the adequate amounts of lighting for your birds, make sure that any changes are gradual so as not to upset them.


Light directly influences the biology of your birds and is, therefore, one of the most important tools that you can use to enhance efficiency and production on your farm. The right amount of light can create positive effects in your birds, while inadequate lighting can harm them. It's always advisable to make minor, measured adjustments to find the perfect setting to get the best possible results from your birds.

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