For calmer chickens, bathe eggs in light

For calmer chickens, bathe eggs in light

Fearful, flighty chickens raised for eating can hurt themselves while trying to avoid human handlers. But there may be a simple way to hatch calmer chicks: Shine light on the eggs for at least 12 hours a day.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis bathed eggs daily in light for different time periods during their three-week incubation. When the chickens reached 3 to 6 weeks old, the scientists tested the birds’ fear responses. In one test, 120 chickens were randomly selected from the 1,006-bird sample and placed one by one in a box with a human “predator” sitting visibly nearby. The chickens incubated in light the longest — 12 hours — made an average of 179 distress calls in three minutes, compared with 211 from birds incubated in complete darkness, animal scientists Gregory Archer and Joy Mench report in January in Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Chickens exposed to lots of light as eggs “would sit in the closest part of the box to me and just chill out,” Archer says. The others spent their time trying to get away. How light has its effect is unclear. On commercial chicken farms, eggs typically sit in warm, dark incubation rooms. The researchers are now testing light's effects in large, commercial incubators. Using light exposure to raise less-fearful chickens could reduce broken bones during handling at processing plants, Archer says. It might also decrease harmful anxious behaviors, such as feather pecking of nearby chickens. 



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Future of beach warfare: US Marines test ‘HyperSub,’ machine-gun toting robots & more (VIDEOS)

Future of beach warfare: US Marines test ‘HyperSub,’ machine-gun toting robots & more (VIDEOS)..

28-Apr, 06:48

Around 50 advanced weapons are being tested by the US Marine Corps, from...

Report Fox sex settlement probe expands to second agency, report says

Report Fox sex settlement probe expands to second agency, report says..

28-Apr, 11:16

Roger Ailes attends the Carnegie Hall 125th Season Opening Night Gala at...

Michelle Obama: 'I won't run for office' for my children

Michelle Obama: 'I won't run for office' for my children..

28-Apr, 13:56

Former First Lady Michelle Obama appeared to rule out running for elected...

Judge won't hear gay adoptions because it's not in a child's 'best interest'

Judge won't hear gay adoptions because it's not in a child's 'best interest'..

28-Apr, 15:57

A family court judge who sits in Barren and Metcalfe counties has...

Pence tells European allies US 'strongly supports' NATO and will be 'unwavering' in its commitment to the alliance

Pence tells European allies US 'strongly supports' NATO and will be 'unwavering' in its..

18-Feb, 04:04

Pence tells European allies US 'strongly supports' NATO and will be...

Chinese firm ZTE pleads guilty to breaking Iran sanctions

Chinese firm ZTE pleads guilty to breaking Iran sanctions..

07-Mar, 11:54

Chinese cellphone equipment maker ZTE Corp. has agreed to plead guilty...

HHS Secretary Tom Price won't guarantee new health care plan would cover all Americans

HHS Secretary Tom Price won't guarantee new health care plan would cover all Americans..

08-Mar, 07:44

Dr. Tom Price, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services,...

Want to Be a Scientist? Maybe You Better Learn Chinese

Want to Be a Scientist? Maybe You Better Learn Chinese..

07-Mar, 07:42

Alexis Carulli is one of those terribly bright grad students in...