Light perception in birds is composed of the retina and extraretinal sites, located in the brain. Previous studies indicate that selective photostimulation of the eye decreased reproductive performance, whereas extraretinal photostimulation increases it. Differential photostimulation of the retina and extraretinal sites is based on the retina's sensitivity to green wavelengths and on the red wavelengths' ability to penetrate body tissues. We previously found that short-day exposure to green light within a long-day exposure to red light increases reproductive activity in female turkeys and broiler breeder hens. Furthermore, in a study conducted recently in our laboratory, we found that blue light repressed expression of green light receptor in the retina, which can further enhance reproduction activity in broiler breeders. Here, we examined the “brain activate/eye deactivate” hypothesis on gonadal axis activity and reproductive performance in a broiler breeder flock. Broiler breeder hens and roosters (ROSS 308) were divided into 5 light-treatment groups (controlled rooms with light-emitting diodes [LED] lamps): warm white (control), long-day (14 h) red (630 nm) and short-day (6 h) green (514 nm) (red-green), long-day green and short-day red (green-red), long-day red and short-day blue (456 nm) (red-blue), and long-day blue and short-day red (blue-red). Birds were reared from 20 to 55 wk of age. Eggs were collected daily. Weekly egg production calculated. All eggs were incubated for fertility and hatchability examination. Blood was drawn monthly for plasma analysis. At 35 wk of age (after peak production) and 55 wk of age (end of the experiment), 10 hens from each treatment group were euthanized, and selected tissues and glands were taken for gene expression trials. Providing long-day red light to extraretinal photoreceptors while maintaining retinal photoreceptors on short day with blue or green light significantly improved reproductive activities, manifested by elevated egg production and gonadal axis activity compared with Controls and primary breeder recommendations. Long-day green light reduced reproductive performances. We suggest that targeted photostimulation enhances reproductive and gonadal axis activities in broiler breeders.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by grant no. 0390286 from the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture.
This research was funded by grant no. 0390286 from the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture .
- broiler breeder
- extraretinal photoreceptors
- gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone
- gonadotropin-releasing hormone