Windows are being put into broiler houses supplying the Moy Park group as part of its bird welfare programme.  

Speaking at a recent East Midlands poultry discussion group meeting, Moy Park general manager of agriculture, Andrew Ballantyne, told members that research and practical experience indicated that birds respond well to daylight.

They were more active, moved around the house more and made more use of their legs, with obvious benefits to leg health. 

“It gives them something positive to do and they are better for it,” he said.

But soon after the houses were first commissioned, farm managers discovered that flocks in windowed houses within range of vehicle headlights ran the risk of the occasional disturbed night.

Moonlight, starlight and security lights were not a problem, but the beam from a passing vehicle could give rise to a mass migration from one end of the house to the other as the headlights lit up the roof of the building. 

“Once we discovered the cause, it was just a matter of fitting shutters to keep out the unwanted light,” Mr Ballantyne explained.