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When I was young, I was told never to put a fluorescent light in a hen house because it continuously turns on and off. Extra lighting is used, as far as I know, to 'extend' a chicken's day. Human eyes don't have the refresh frequency to notice that, but there are animals who have a frame-rate of up to 200 Hz (so they actually see the lights turn off and back on again). I was told chickens are among those animals and that they'd stop laying eggs when continuously exposed to interrupted lighting.

However, my neighbour has fluorescent lighting in his hen house. So either the above is bogus, or I have my facts mixed up. So, how (if at all) are chickens affected by light?

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It seems like they are not affected by fluorescent light frequency. I did not find anything about their visual sampling rate. Their hearing is between 0-200Hz with an average of 86Hz so I guess the visual sampling rate is under this, but that's just a guess.

We conclude that at the illumination levels used in this experiment, the hens did not perceive the flicker of low-frequency light or they perceived it but did not find it aversive. Low-frequency fluorescent light does not appear to adversely affect the welfare of hens.

1996 - Laying hens do not have a preference for high-frequency versus low-frequency compact fluorescent light sources

It concludes that there is no evidence that fluorescent or high pressure sodium lighting, irrespective of intensity or spectral distribution, has any consistent detrimental effect on growth, food utilization, reproductive performance, mortality, behaviour or live bird quality in either domestic fowl or turkeys, nor in the egg production of geese.

1998 - Responses of domestic poultry to various light sources

A monochromatic (LED) light can be more beneficial according to this:

A significant reduction in egg production was observed in all 880nm groups; no differences in egg production and quality were found in the other groups. Feed consumption was significantly lower by 7% in all 0.01 W/m2 groups. We suggest that an important reduction in rearing costs of laying hens may be obtained by using this system.

1998 - New monochromatic light source for laying hens

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