(MURFREESBORO) The impact of changing the color of a chicken’s feed is being examined by Middle Tennessee State University, according to Associate Professor of Poultry Science Kevub Downs.
With former graduate student Joseph Gulizia, Downs conducted two trials to determine the effect of feed color on broiler performance over a 21-day period. The research is based on the established knowledge that chickens have well-developed vision. They can see all sections of the visible light spectrum as well as some ultraviolet light.
One trial included a complete starter diet with a control group of regular feed and groups of feed dyed red, green and blue. Another trial included a control group of regular feed and groups of feed dyed orange, yellow and purple.
While most of the broiler performance was not influenced by feed color, the blue and purple feed colors seemed to have a positive influence on food conversion and body weight gain more than other colors. Red appeared to be the chickens’ least favorite feed color.
Downs noted, “In addition to just playing around with color a little bit, we also wanted to see if there was something maybe different in a more modern broiler than what we saw in previous data back in the ‘70s.”