Researcher evaluates increased dark periods after placement of broiler chicks

Dark period not found to have a significant negative impact on performance as has been previously thought.

May 28, 2024

1 Min Read

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation have announced the completion of a funded research project by researchers at the University of Georgia that evaluated increased dark periods after placement of chicks.

The research was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Koch Foods. The research was conducted by Dr. Brian Fairchild of the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Titled Project #732, the research evaluated zero-, four- and six-hour dark periods during the first seven days on broiler performance physiological responses to light environment. 

Broiler producers typically provide 23 to 24 hours of light during the first seven days of a flock. The theory is that providing chicks with near continuous light ensures that chicks will consume the maximum amount of feed when their growth rates are at their highest.

Fairchild challenged this theory with the objective of his study being to determine the effect of varying day lengths on broiler performance and physiological responses.

Results from the project showed that providing a dark period from the beginning of the flock does not have significant negative impacts on broiler performance, as previously thought by many poultry producers.

The research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website.

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