TUCKER, Ga. – US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) and its foundation announced on Sept. 24 that an Iowa State Univ. broiler house enrichment research project using lasers was completed and funded.

Elizabeth Bobeck, Ph.D., Animal Science, at Iowa State Univ. looked at ways to use laser devices in broiler houses to simulate enhanced bird activity. 

“The unique laser enrichment device tested here not only significantly increased broiler activity (weeks 2-5) but improved performance outcomes including feed intake and weight gain, average daily gain and feed conversion ratio,” Bobeck wrote in the research summary. “Importantly, measures of bird welfare, including gait score, contact dermatitis score, tibia quality, and air and litter quality, were not negatively impacted by laser treatment.” 

The summary said that laser-enriched birds gained a greater end weight of 0.24 kg per bird on day 42 of the experiment. Feed conversion improvement also led to a 5 percent reduction in feed costs. 

Research also showed that laser devices could be implemented in commercial barns. Bobeck said it does not require altered management or bird contact, which allows for easier cleaning and use over many flocks. 

The project was made possible after a gift from Rogers, Arkansas-based Ozark Mountain Poultry. The company is part of USPOULTRY’s program that tries to research all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.

The entire research summary is available here