If you’re an amateur chicken farmer with a backyard brood or a full-scale poultry producer, you know chickens need light. But have you ever asked yourself why? Many people wrongly assume that the only reason is for sight. While that is part of the equation, it is hardly the entire answer.

Before modern agriculture really took hold in the middle part of the last century, year-round chicken farming was not possible because science had yet to discover the photoperiod (cycle of sunlight and darkness) and its impact to production. It wasn’t even until the 1930’s that what we consider the modern broiler was produced. Prior to that, chicken was rarely used as a meat source and only as a byproduct to egg production.

The 8.5 billion broilers produced each year will easily tell us times have changed. With that, and the nearly 100 billion eggs produced, it behooves farmers to continually adapt their production models. One of those adaptations has been the use of LED light bulbs in their birdhouses.

Let’s discuss some reasons for poultry lighting, the different options of lights, and finally the light bulbs we recommend – the LED bulbs manufactured by Overdrive®.

Why is Light Necessary in Poultry Houses?

Without getting too scientific, there are several basic reasons for lighting your poultry houses. Poultry need light to:

  • Facilitate sight
  • Stimulate internal cycles due to day length changes
  • Initiate hormone release

While those answers are simple, they are deceptively so. The science behind how light impacts each of those points has kept many scientists employed since the time it was discovered. Suffice it to say, it has a lot to do with wavelengths, retinal photoreceptors, and how the artificial light replicates natural sunlight. For our purposes just understanding what it does is enough.

However, not all artificial light is created equal. The proper lighting can have a huge impact on production and your bottom line. It can lower electricity costs, improve weight gain, increase egg output, improve feed conversion, and regulate reproductive cycles. And, that list is only hitting the high points. Investing in top of the line lighting systems for your barns could pay dividends.

With that said, you may be asking, what are the options for lights and which is best? Let’s take a minute and answer those questions.

Options for Poultry Lighting

There are several different options for light bulbs for your poultry houses. Here are a couple of the major players in the industry. All three have their benefits and drawbacks.

  • Incandescent – These bulbs create high amounts of heat and are inexpensive. However, they are highly inefficient. While they are in the process of being phased out of production for most producers, for many years they were the standard.
  • Fluorescent – There are several options for fluorescent bulbs, including compact fluorescent, tube fluorescent, and cold cathode fluorescent. They are more energy efficient and last longer (up to 10x) than incandescent. However, they are harder to dim and take up to a minute to reach full brightness.
  • LED or light emitting diodes – LED bulbs carry huge energy saving benefits, which is their primary draw. By most studies, LED’s are 80-85% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. However, they are much more expensive. Most LED bulbs emit multi directional lighting, which is not necessarily good for poultry production.

Many in the poultry industry are making the switch to LED lighting, like the bulbs manufactured by Overdrive®, to reap the benefits of the energy cost savings. However, many have asked the question; will the birds perform as well under LED bulbs as they do with other bulbs?

From numerous studies, the answer to that question seems to be a resounding, YES.

Why Chose Overdrive® for Your Lighting Needs?

One major drawback critics have identified with LED bulbs is the multidirectional light they give off. While this feature may seem perfect for commercial or home use, it is wasted energy in a poultry house, where the majority of the light should be directed toward the ground.

Additionally, the environment of a poultry house is not compatible with just any LED bulb. The dust, humidity, and ammonia in poultry productions is harsh and most bulbs will not withstand that kind of abuse. We recommend selecting a bulb that has been tested in a chicken house environment.

We invite you to consider the light bulbs manufactured by Overdrive®.

Selecting Overdrive® Bulbs

What makes Overdrive® light bulbs different? They have solved both of the problems we mentioned. They have created a bulb that concentrates the beam at the correct angle and can withstand the rigors of a poultry house.

Their LED bulb has also been shown to reduce growing time on chicks from 5 weeks to 4.5 weeks. It is definitely worth considering Overdrive® for your lighting needs.

Check out some of their products:

  • LED Overdrive ™ Dimmable – This LED bulb is available in both 10-watt and 6-watt options. It also includes several different color output options (3000K and 5000K) to meet the needs of your poultry. These bulbs have an optimized beam that shines downward at a 120˚ angle to provide the ideal light. This bulb has been designed with the Ag industry in mind. The concentrated, flicker free light keeps birds calm and chicks thriving.
  • Overdrive™ Dimmable LED Controller – These dimmers are designed around the Overdrive LED’s and offer the best low light level dimming and offer longer LED life – when lamp and dimmers are used together.
  • Dimmable Compact Fluorescent Bulb – The lone fluorescent bulb on the list and it still makes a great option for your poultry houses. This bulb will help cut energy cost in comparison to an incandescent bulb and its “glove” design will keep it free from dust and insect buildup. It can be dimmed as low as a standard incandescent bulb without the negative light flicker.

Find Out More

If you have made the decision to switch your poultry houses to LED, we believe you have made a good one. You should anticipate major energy savings and increases in production, both which will add to your bottom line. Consider your options carefully, but we recommend Overdrive® to meet your poultry house lighting needs.

Check out the bulbs we mentioned and other options here. For questions about Overdrive® light bulbs, we recommend speaking with a QC Supply representative.