Effects of Light Color on Energy Expenditure and Behavior in Broiler Chickens

  • Kim, Nara (Department of Animal Science and Environment, Konkuk University) ;
  • Lee, Sang-Rak (Department of Animal Science and Environment, Konkuk University) ;
  • Lee, Sang-Jin (Animal Plant and Fisheries Quarantine and Inspection Agency)
  • Received : 2012.08.07
  • Accepted : 2014.04.02
  • Published : 2014.07.01


This study was conducted in order to investigate whether the presence of light or different colors of light would influence the energy expenditure and behavior of broiler chickens. Eight 8-week-old broiler chickens were adapted to a respiration chamber (Length, 28.5 cm; Height, 38.5 cm; Width, 44.0 cm) for one week prior to the initiation of the experiment. In experiment 1, energy expenditure and behavior of the chickens were analyzed in the presence or absence of light for four days. Chickens were exposed to 6 cycles of 2 h light/2 h dark period per day. In experiment 2, the broiler chickens that had been used in experiment 1 were used to evaluate the effect of 4 different wavelength light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on the energy expenditure and behavior of broiler chickens. The LEDs used in this study had the following wavelength bands; white (control), red (618 to 635 nm), green (515 to 530 nm) and blue (450 to 470 nm). The chickens were randomly exposed to a 2-h LED light in a random and sequential order per day for 3 days. Oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production of the chickens were recorded using an open-circuit calorimeter system, and energy expenditure was calculated based on the collected data. The behavior of the chickens was analyzed based on following categories i.e., resting, standing, and pecking, and closed-circuit television was used to record these behavioral postures. The analysis of data from experiment 1 showed that the energy expenditure was higher (p<0.001) in chickens under light condition compared with those under dark condition. The chickens spent more time with pecking during a light period, but they frequently exhibited resting during a dark period. Experiment 2 showed that there was no significant difference in terms of energy expenditure and behavior based on the color of light (white, red, green, and blue) to which the chickens were exposed. In conclusion, the energy expenditure and behavior of broiler chickens were found to be strongly affected by the presence of light. On the other hand, there was no discernible difference in their energy expenditure and behavior of broiler chickens exposed to the different LED lights.


  1. Alvino, G. M., G. S. Archer, and J. A. Mench. 2009. Behavioural time budgets of broiler chickens reared in varying light intensities. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 118:54-61.
  2. Appleby, M. C., B. O. Hughes, and H. A. Elson. 1992. Poultry Production Systems: Behaviour, Management and Welfare. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
  3. Bizeray, D., C. Leterrier, P. Constantin, M. Picard, and J. M. Faure. 2000. Early locomotor behaviour in genetic stocks of chickens with different growth rates. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 68:231-242.
  4. Blair, R., R. C. Newberry, and E. E. Gardiner. 1993. Effects of lighting pattern and dietary tryptophan supplementation on growth and mortality of broilers. Poult. Sci. 72:495-502.
  5. Boshouwers, F. M. G. and E. Nicaise. 1987. Physical activity and energy expenditure of laying hens as affected by light intensity. Br. Poult. Sci. 28:155-163.
  6. Buckland, R. B., D. E. Bermon, and A. Goldrosen. 1976. Effect of four lighting regimes on broiler performance, leg abnormalities and plasma corticoid levels. Poult. Sci. 55:1072-1076.
  7. Classen, H. L., C. Riddell, and F. E. Robinson. 1991. Effects of increasing photoperiod length on performance and health of broiler chickens. Br. Poult. Sci. 32:21-29.
  8. Hooppaw, P. D. and B. L. Goodman. 1976. The influence of intermittent light on growth performance and other traits in young chicks. Poult. Sci. 55:2285-2289.
  9. Kjaer, J. B. and K. S. Vestergaard. 1999. Development of feather pecking in relation to light intensity. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 62:243-254.
  10. Kondra, P. A. 1961. The effects of colored light on growth and feed efficiency of chicks and poults. Poult. Sci. 40:268-269.
  11. Kristensen, H. H., N. B. Prescott, G. C. Perry, J. Ladewig, A. K. Ersboll, K. C. Overad, and C. M. Wathes. 2007. The behaviour of broiler chickens in different light sources and illuminances. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 103:75-89.
  12. Lott, B. D., S. L. Branton, and J. D. May. 1996. The effect of photoperiod and nutrition on ascites incidence in broilers. Avian Dis. 40:788-791.
  13. MacLeod, M. G., T. R. Jewitt, and J. E. M. Anderson. 1988. Energy expenditure and physical activity in domestic fowl kept on standard and interrupted lighting patterns. Br. Poult. Sci. 29:231-244.
  14. Malone, G. W., G. W. Chaloupka, E. W. Walpole, and L. H. Littlfield. 1980. The effect of dietary energy and light treatment on broiler performance. Poult. Sci. 59:576-581.
  15. Mclean, J. A. and G. Tobin. 1987. Animal and human calorimetry. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. pp. 83-119.
  16. Murphy, L. B. and A. P. Preston. 1988. Time-budgeting in meat chickens grown commercially. Br. Poult. Sci. 29:571-580.
  17. North, M. O. and D. D. Bell. 1993. Commercial chicken production manual. 4th Ed. AVI Publishing Co., Westport, CT, USA.
  18. Phillips, C. J. C. and D. Piggins. 1992. Environmental factors influencing the production and welfare of farm animals: Photoperiod. CAB International, Oxford, UK. pp. 49-65.
  19. Prayitno, D. S., C. J. C. Phillips, and H. Omed. 1997. The effects of color of lighting on the behavior and production of meat chickens. Poult. Sci. 76:452-457.
  20. Prescott, N. B. and C. M. Wathes. 1999a. Reflective properties of domestic fowl (Gallus g. domesticus), the fabric of their housing and the characteristics of the light environment in environmentally controlled poultry houses. Br. Poult. Sci. 40:185-193.
  21. Riddell, C. and H. L. Classen. 1992. Effects of increasing photoperiod length and anticoccidials on performance and health of roaster chickens. Avian Dis. 36:491-498.
  22. Schumaier, G., P. C. Harrison, and J. McGinnis. 1968. Effects of colored fluorescent light on growth, cannibalism and subsequent egg production of single comb White Leghorn pullets. Poult. Sci. 47:1599-1602.
  23. Son, J. H. and R. Velmurugu. 2009. The effects of light colors on the behavior and performance of broiler chickens. Korean J. Poult. Sci. 36:329-335.
  24. Wathes, C. M., H. H. Spechter, and T. S. Bray. 1982. The effects of light illuminance and wavelength on the growth of broiler chickens. J. Agric. Sci. (Cambridge) 98:195-201.
  25. Widowski, T. M., L. J. Keeling, and I. J. H. Duncan. 1992. The preferences of hens for compact fluorescent over incandescent lighting. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 72:203-211.
  26. Zulkifli, I., A. Rasedee, O. Nor Syaadah, and M. T. Che Norma. 1998. Daylength effects on stress and fear responses in broiler chickens. Asian Australas. J. Anim. Sci. 11:751-754.

Cited by

  1. The influence of light on thermal responses vol.216, pp.2, 2015,
  2. Green Light-emitting Diodes Light Stimuli during Incubation Enhances Posthatch Growth without Disrupting Normal Eye Development of Broiler Embryos and Hatchlings vol.29, pp.11, 2016,
  3. Light spectrum and intensity, and the timekeeping in birds vol.48, pp.5, 2017,