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Changes in light intensity can influence age at sexual maturity in domestic pullets

Lewis, P. D., Sharp, P. J., Wilson, P. W. and Leeson, S. (2004) Changes in light intensity can influence age at sexual maturity in domestic pullets. British Poultry Science, 45 (1). pp. 123-132. ISSN 0007-1668

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00071660410001668950


1. Shaver White and ISA Brown pullets were reared to 140 d in groups of 8 in cages on a 10-h photoperiod of incandescent light and maintained at an illuminance of 3 or 25 lux, or transferred from 3 to 25 lux or from 25 to 3 lux at 63 or 112 d of age. 2. There was no significant difference in sexual maturity, measured as eggs per 100 bird.d at 139 and 140 d, for ISA Brown maintained on 3 or 25 lux, but Shaver White pullets exposed to constant 3 lux matured significantly later than those maintained on 25 lux. 3. In Shaver Whites, sexual maturity was significantly delayed by an increase from 3 to 25 lux at 63 and 112 d, and advanced by a decrease from 25 to 3 lux at 112 d. Sexual maturity of ISA Browns was not significantly affected by a change in illuminance at 63 or 112 d, though responses were in the same direction as for Shaver Whites. 4. In both breeds, total feed consumed to 112 d was higher for birds on 3 lux than 25 lux, but lower between 112 d and 140 d when birds on 25 lux underwent rapid sexual development. In both breeds, body weight at 63 d was higher for birds exposed to 3 lux than 25 lux, but body weight gain thereafter was similar for the two light intensities. 5. In both breeds, plasma luteinising hormone (LH) concentration at 63 and 112 d was lower in birds maintained on 3 lux than 25 lux. At 63 and 112 d, transfers from 25 to 3 lux depressed, whereas transfers from 3 to 25 lux at 63 d, but not at 112 d, increased plasma LH. 6. Advances or delays in sexual maturity induced by changes in illuminance were not correlated with differences in feed intake, body weight gain, or with changes in plasma LH. 7. One possible explanation for the inverse relationship between the direction of change in illuminance at 63 and 112 d in pullets exposed to a 10-h photoperiod and the age at which they became sexually mature is that changes in light intensity and/or spectral composition affect the entrainment of the circadian rhythm of photoinducibility, to effect a phase shift in the photoinducible phase and/or the responsiveness of phototransduction pathways.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:8832

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