Light is an important aspect of an animals environment. Avian species as well as mammalian species respond to light energy in a variety of ways, including growth and reproductive performance. The value of regulating the photoperiod of poultry and livestock to stimulate reproduction has been recognized for many years and is used regularly by commercial poultry and livestock farmers. For chickens there are three major functions of light: 1. to facilitate sight, 2. to stimulate internal cycles due to day-length changes, and 3. to initiate hormone release. Providing light for chickens has become a little more complex during the last 15 years than just screwing in a bulb and flicking on a switch. Now there are a wide variety of lighting programs and devices available to poultry producers, each with its own characteristics and applicability to rearing chickens. However, before we get to the details, I have found that most people are slightly confused about what light is and what aspects of it are important to rearing poultry. I would therefore like to elaborate on this just a little.
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