Improving early feed intake of newly hatched broiler chicks raised without antibiotics using light during incubation

Traditionally commercial poultry is incubated and hatched in the dark. There are indications that significant benefits could be realized from providing light to developing chicken embryos during incubation. These indications include chicks that eat and drink more upon arrival at the farm. This early feeding behavior should improve the health and survival of baby chicks and could be a valuable management practice especially now that the Canadian industry is transitioning away from the use of antibiotics to boost the health of chicks early in life. Understanding the impact of light on physiological changes that occur during embryo development will help the industry as they work to determine the optimum settings for providing light during incubation.

Xujie Li
Faculty Supervisor: 
Bruce Rathgeber
Nova Scotia
Partner University: