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Lighting & visual perception: defining an optimal light environment for laying hens. - AW0225

Description
Laying hens are usually housed in light environments that differ in many respects from natural light and to which the birds` visual system may be ill-suited. Inappropriate lighting conditions, e.g. too dim or with inappropriate colour balance, may compromise the performance of important visually-guided behaviours, such as food location and recognition of flock mates or threat. This may occur either because inadequacies in the lighting compromise transmission of biologically relevant information or because the light environment during rearing causes developmental abnormalities in vision, particularly accommodation. In either case, sensory deprivation may occur that can, in turn, damage the bird`s welfare.

Currently there is insufficient information about the effects of different lighting systems to allow the formulation of realistic guidelines or recommendations. By addressing this issue in a systematic and multi-disciplinary fashion we aim to identify an optimal light environment for pullets and laying hens.

The main objectives are:

1. With industrial and other consultation, to select six light environments in which to rear and test the birds.
2. Determine how each light environment affects the bird`s ability to resolve spacial detail (acuity) and the functional development of visual accommodation.
3. Determine how each light environment affects the bird`s ability to recognise and respond appropriately to biologically relevant stimuli.
4. Determine how each rearing environemnt affects underlying fear and distress.
5. Integrate the collected information into an optimal lighting environment for pullets and laying hens and test its effects on production, behaviour and welfare under farm conditions.
Objective
01: Select commercially relevant lighting environments for testing (Silsoe, Roslin and Bristol)
02: Quantify visual abilities and their ontogeny in artifically iluminated environments (Silsoe and Bristol).
03: Assess visual perception of biologically relevant stimuli in selected lighting environemnts (Roslin and Silsoe).
04: Determine the relationships between lightningf environments, fear and distress (Roslin and Silsoe).
05: Derive and test an optimal light environemtn (Silsoe, Roslin and Bristol)
Project Documents
• Final Report : Lighting & visual perception: defining an optimal light environment for laying hens   (254k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2001

To: 2005

Cost: £396,277
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Silsoe Research Institute (BBSRC)
Keywords
Animal Welfare              
Plants and Animals              
Poultry              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare