An energy efficient lighting system designed specifically for poultry farms emits a light spectrum adjusted for a chicken's retinas, helping to promote happy and stress-free fowl. Matthew Stock reports.
Keeping up with the demand for eggs can be stressful... but not for the hens at Woodcock Farm in Derbyshire. Here, they've installed a lighting system its makers say reduces pecking and crowding; making for relaxed, happy, chickens. Traditional incandescent lamps are designed for human eyes, but critics say that's short-sighted when it comes to a chicken's needs. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHN MATCHAM, TECHNICAL SALES DIRECTOR, GREENGAGE LIGHTING, SAYING: "When you look into this environment, how we see it; we're only seeing about 40 percent or so of what the chicken actually sees. They see much, much more detail. So it's not just about how bright the light is; it's about light saturation, image saturation." The AgriLamp Induction System - known as ALIS - emits a full spectrum of light ideally suited to the retinas of chickens. This not only allows them to see more clearly, but helps mimic the natural light that keeps hens laying eggs. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHN MATCHAM, TECHNICAL SALES DIRECTOR, GREENGAGE LIGHTING, SAYING: "The right type of light has to do a multitude of tasks; it has to keep the birds calm, it has to stimulate all of the different glands inside of the body that work to produce the hormones that says 'I'm going to lay an egg'; and then we get a nice egg." This made it a perfect option for Woodcock Farm, which has been using the ALIS system for two years. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDREW WATSON, WOODCOCK FARM OWNER, SAYING: "I can definitely say that the chickens are moving around a lot more even; the way they perch and sleep at night... The difference between outside and inside is a lot more balanced. So even inside when they're in the scratching areas; they're very happy, they're scratching, natural behaviour... so they must be clearly enjoying it because they can see better. And if the chickens are happy, I'm happy - it wins for everybody." The induction technology in each ALIS lamp means it is simply clipped onto the power cable in order to turn on. It's shatterproof and water resistant, with the bulbs designed to last at least 60,000 hours. While farmers will be glad to know the technology makes chickens happy, stress-free... and the pressure of egg laying won't make them crack up.