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When Turkeys Attack!

March 4, 2013

Inside the finishing barn at Lakewood TurkeysOver the past year, The Minnesota Project has been working with twelve poultry producers to introduce ultra-energy efficient LED lights into their poultry barns.  To date, we’ve implemented over 2,500 LED lights to reduce poultry farmers’ input costs and bring healthy meat to the Minnesota consumer.

Though the energy savings for our farm participants have been obvious (imagine changing out a 75 watt incandescent bulb for a 12 watt LED bulb!), we have anecdotal evidence of other benefits.  Several farmers report having calmer birds and one saw improved feed conversion.

Calmer birds may not mean much to the non-farmer, but for poultry farmers, an even-tempered turkey may mean reduced instances of turkey cannibalism.  Though a biased source, the lighting industry has conducted studies which indicate a red-heavy lighting spectrum can trigger a pecking response and aggressive behavior.  In contrast, blue and green tend to keep the peace amongst winged aggressors.  A green-heavy light spectrum may also improve feed conversion, the ratio of pounds of feed to pounds of meat.  A good feed conversion ratio can improve farmer profitability by reducing feed costs.   In sum, LED lights may present an advantage for poultry farmers because they have an adjustable light spectrum, unlike other conventional lighting systems.

Please stay tuned to TMP’s Centered on Sustainability blog for developments on our LED poultry lighting project…and to learn how to fend off a flock of turkeys in case they attack.

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