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The effect of supplementary ultraviolet wavelengths on the performance of broiler chickens

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lucy Asher



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2020Qualities of the light environment, such as the spectral composition of light, have been shown to impact growth and performance of broiler chickens. UVA light is visible to broiler chickens, whereas UVB wavelengths promote endogenous vitamin D synthesis, which could support their rapid development. The aim of the current study was to investigate the impacts of supplementary UVA and UVB wavelengths on performance indicators of broiler chickens. Day-old Ross 308 chicks (n = 638), reared to a target stocking density of 33 kg/m2, were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 lighting treatments: A) White light emitting diode (LED) and supplementary UVA LED lighting (18-h photoperiod); B) White LED with supplementary UVA and UVB fluorescent lighting providing 30 μW/cm2 UVB at bird level (lights on for 8 h of the total photoperiod to avoid overexposure of UVB); and C) White LED control group, representative of farm conditions (18-h photoperiod). Mortality was recorded, and broiler chickens were individually weighed at 8, 15, 22, 27, and 34 D of age. Generalized linear models and nonlinear mixed effects models (Gompertz curve) were fitted to determine the effects of UV wavelengths on broiler mortality and growth performance. UV did not impact breast or leg weight of broiler chickens but was associated with differences in mortality, growth, and end weight. Broiler chickens provided with UVA for the full 18-h photoperiod had slower initial growth than control broilers and a reduction in mortality. Results from male broilers reared with supplementary UVA + UVB for 8 h indicated they could reach finishing weights sooner than controls, which supports the potential for UVA + B to improve the growth performance of males. Results suggest that the provision of supplementary UVA + UVB wavelengths may improve the performance of male broiler chickens. The reduction in mortality in the UVA only treatment may warrant further investigation. The inclusion of UV wavelengths within poultry lighting regimes represents a promising area of further study.

Publication metadata

Author(s): James C, Wiseman J, Asher L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Poultry Science

Year: 2020

Volume: 99

Issue: 11

Pages: 5517-5525

Online publication date: 06/08/2020

Acceptance date: 25/07/2020

Date deposited: 26/02/2021

ISSN (print): 0032-5791

ISSN (electronic): 1525-3171

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.psj.2020.07.018

PubMed id: 33142470


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