Quality Water is Vital for Poultry Production
September 8, 2008
Poultry Times Magazine Volume 55, Number 19
Jeff Odle is a technical service leader with Finally, maintaining a comfortable tempera- U Use an acidic cleaner to remove scale and
DuPont Animal Health Solutions - North ture is necessary to ensure proper water in- a strong oxidative disinfectant to kill odor-
America in Wilmington, Del. His primary take and overall bird health. Keeping a poul- causing bacteria and biofilm in waterlines.
responsibility is to assist customers and try house cool can be challenging during the This should be done between each
distributors in the proper and safe use of summer months. Cool cell pads and fans are flock rotation. In addition, a continuous treat-
DuPont products. the predominant means of lowering the tem- ment with disinfectant in the water during
perature inside a house. The pads work by growout, with birds present, maintains the
dripping clean water over them at one end of cleanliness of the waterlines and controls
the house and using fans to pull air through any incoming bacteria from the well source.
the pads and out the opposite end of the It is important to note that birds prefer water
house. However, running fans constantly will slightly on the acidic side, thus disinfectant
WILMINGTON, Del. — Water is essential not help to an appreciable degree if the pads efficacy can be greatly affected by variations
to life. Humans, plants and animals alike all are clogged with mineral scale, dirt and algae. in pH that may exist in poultry water.
require an adequate and clean supply of water Dirty pads also raise energy costs which cut
daily to survive. Livestock and poultry do not into profits. U Periodically inspect cool cell pads to en-
have the option to seek out their own fresh, sure that they are installed correctly and in
clean water supply; instead, they must rely What determines the quality of water? good condition and inspect water nozzles
on what is provided for them. While many The key to high-quality water is actually for blockages. Contaminants restrict airflow
people may assume the well water feeding what is not present. through the pads, preventing sufficient air
their poultry houses is adequate, water qual- movement across the wet surface. The sump,
ity and quantity is actually one of the most U Bacteria the pads and the waterline feeding the pads
overlooked best management practices in Bacteria such as coliforms affect taste and should be cleaned every spring and fall using
livestock production today. Water pH, hard- odor, and just like people, animals do not an acidic cleaner to remove hard water scale.
ness, bacteria levels, mineral content and pol- like drinking water that smells and tastes bad. Follow up the cleaning step with an algae-
lutants all have a major affect on water qual- Introducing certain bacteria into the birds’ cide/disinfectant to prevent algae and bacte-
ity and resulting bird health. system also causes them to go into a mainte- rial growth. These simple steps will improve
nance mode, in which their bodies fight infec- airflow and allow the fans and cool cell pads
How does water affect bird health and tion, rather than a growth mode in which they to lower the temperature inside the house.
farm productivity? Water has three func- perform at top efficiency.
tions in a poultry house: U Make sure the water used to clean poul-
Many chronic poultry health problems can be try houses is clean itself. You would not mop
U Consumption avoided by proper drinking water manage- your kitchen floor with dirty water, so why
U Cleaning ment practices, including the removal of all clean a poultry house with dirty water? Con-
U Cooling harmful bacteria. taminated water re-introduces pathogens that
may potentially minimize the effectiveness of
Let’s first look at consumption. Water is the UMinerals the disinfectant and could also contaminate
largest component of blood and is essential Water should be treated to remove high lev- subsequent flocks. Like the inside of a water-
for many physiochemical reactions needed els of mineral content that can produce scale, line, other surfaces inside the house can also
for growth. Under heat stress, drinking plenty which will build up inside the lines, harbor develop hard water scale and biofilms, which
of clean water helps regulate internal body bacteria and may interfere with the perfor- form a protective coating and prevent the dis-
temperature. Overheated birds eat less and mance of some cleaners, disinfectants and infectant from killing the targeted pathogens.
suffer higher mortality rates, specially larger medications. Suspended solids and other
birds. Water aids digestion and nutrient ab- particulates can be removed using filtration, Quality water is crucial to good animal
sorption. For every pound of feed eaten, birds which will in turn help prevent blockages or health. It is an essential element in metabolic
will typically drink a quart of water. Dur- leaks in the drinkers and minimize interaction processes and maintaining proper body tem-
ing the summer months, they could drink as with medications and vaccines. perature.
much as 1 gallon of water per pound of feed.
UContaminants In poultry production, water plays a key role
Second, water plays a vital role in cleaning Nitrates commonly found in fertilizers or hu- in cleaning, cooling and consumption, all of
and disinfection. It is impossible to effec- man and animal waste are water soluble and which are fundamental to a successful opera-
tively clean and disinfect any segment of a have been shown to negatively affect growth tion. Putting an effective biosecurity program
poultry facility without first having a clean rates in broilers. These contaminants are in place and ensuring the availability of high-
water source and apparatus. The effective- probably the most common; however, pesti- quality water will allow your flocks to grow,
ness of disinfectants can be negatively af- cides, heavy metals and many others can also along with your
fected if water used in prior cleaning has high infiltrate watering systems in poultry houses. profitability.
levels of minerals such as quats, idophors and
others. High quality water is the first line of What should be done to ensure quality Jeff Odle
defense in maintaining a clean environment drinking water in poultry houses? Follow DuPont Animal Health Solutions
for poultry production. these three important practices:
Poultry Times Magazine September 8, 2008 Volume 55, Number 19