Animals and Light

How Poultry See

Animals see colors differently than humans do.  By understanding how a particular animal sees colors, we can produce a better quality of light for that particular species.  This can result in more desirable behaviors and enhanced productivity.  Here is a brief description about how poultry vision is different from human vision.

 Lighting products for humans are typically categorized on a white scale.  But remember white light, particularly sunlight is made of all the colors.  Think of a prism and how it separates white light into all of its inherent colors.  If the individual colors are mixed differently, the color of the light we perceive changes.  As humans, we all have the same types of photoreceptors in our eyes and will perceive the same colors.  When an animal like a chicken or pig sees the same light, they perceive something totally different because they have an entirely different set of photoreceptors.  In the next few paragraphs, we walk you through the way different animals “see”.

 Human Spectrum

The graph below shows the typical color sensitivity of a human. It is the smooth white line curve.  The large hill in the center of the curve is showing that humans see Green and Yellow colors better than they see Blue and Red.   The higher the white line is on a particular color, the more sensitive the human eye is to that color.  Looking more closely, you can see the height of the curve in both the Red and Blue spectrums are much lower than the height at Green which is indicating the human eye is not as sensitive to Blue light or Red light


Domestic Fowl Spectrum

Domestic fowl have a similar Green sensitivity as humans do but Blue and Red are very different.  The graph below is shows the sensitivity of a typical chicken eye.  You can see there are 4 (four) distinct color peaks.  The highest sensitivities are to Green, Blue and Red light but you can see another one in the UV spectrum (far left bump on the curve). 


Here is an example of what a butterfly may look like compared between human and domestic fowl views.


Links to other interesting articles about animal vision:


Lighting Influence on Productivity


How Does Light Enhance Productivity?

Broiler Lights

Under the Dim-to Blue™ Agrishift® LED lamps, the birds are calmer, less prone to run or jump and consequently put more feed energy into growth. This also has a positive effect on both ADG and uniformity. On-farm testing has shown immediate changes in bird behavior, better feed conversion and increased growth when Agrishift® LED lamps with Dim-to Blue™ functionality were used.

Layer Lights

Once’s Dim-to Red™ Agrishift® LED lamps have shown to enhance egg productivity. The light shortens the time to peak production, extends the peak production period and stimulates the time of lay. Put simply, red light increases the amount of eggs laid by a layer.

Swine Lights

Once Agrishift® MLS swine light provides proper lighting levels that lessen seasonal growth variations, stimulates melatonin production for proper circadian rhythms and produces a calmer animal. The lighting is also used to boost the swine immune system.

Extraretinal Photoreceptors and Their Regulation of Temporal Physiology

from Reviews of Reproduction

View the pdf.

Color Vision 6: Color with 1, 2 or 3 Cones. In Humans and Various Animals

6th video in a series of interesting color vision videos.