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Midnight Feeding

An optional lighting technique that will promote greater feed consumption is the "midnight feeding." The technique involves turning the lights on for 1-2 hours in the middle of the dark period and running the feeders during this time.

Midnight-feeding lighting program. The dark periods should be at least 3 hours in duration. The 1-2 hours of light should be removed gradually when no longer needed (see text).

Midnight feeding will generally increase feed intake about 2 to 5 g/day per bird (0.4 to 1.1 lb/day per 100 birds). The technique is applicable for heat stress conditions, or any time a greater feed intake is desired in either growing or laying flocks.
For a typical layer lighting program with 16 hours of light and 8 hours dark, the night would consist of 3 hours of darkness, 1-2 hours of light, and 3 hours of darkness. The regular 16-hour light period should not be changed (because the 1-2 hour midnight-feeding period is not long enough to count as "daylight"). However, it is important that the dark periods surrounding the 1-2 hour midnight-feeding period are at least 3 hours long.
The 1-2 hours of light can be added all at once, but, when no longer necessary, should be removed gradually at the rate of 15 minutes per week.


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