Numerous factors play a role in poultry performance. These factors include equipment, management practices that help with the fight against ammonia, house environment such as improving litter quality, and housing type. Enhancing any of these daily operations is important, but water quality may be the most critical.
Water is needed for bird consumption, facility sanitation, and reducing air temperature, and is an essential nutrient in bird nutrition and metabolism. Water consumed by the bird is used for:
- body temperature regulation
- enzymatic and chemical reactions in the body
- lubrication of joints and organs
- nutrient transportation.
The necessity of providing a plentiful supply and sufficient access to water is well understood, but the importance of water quality on performance is often overlooked and misunderstood.
Poor water quality may interfere with bird digestion and subsequent bird performance. Bacteria, fungi, minerals, molds, and water additives interact in the water source and within piping and drinkers to impede management practices necessary to ensure the best quality water for your bird’s peak performance. Bacteria should not be present in drinking water in the ideal situation. Their presence often comes with contamination by organic materials. The presence of coliform bacteria in drinking water is typically from fecal contamination resulting from runoff to surface or groundwater supplies. High levels of total dissolved solids cause the most harmful effects in poultry.
The primary components contributing to total dissolved solids include magnesium, calcium, and sodium salts. The pH of your water is also critical. Water with a pH of 7 is neutral. A pH of less than 7 indicates acidity, and a pH greater than 7 indicates alkalinity. Water with a high pH can clog watering systems because of excessive mineral levels, primarily magnesium and calcium. Water with a low pH can be unpalatable.
What can you do to help prevent these harmful factors?
- Change filters regularly. Clogged filters restrict water flow to the drinker and cooling systems. Sediment and other particulates can lead to water nipples leaking, which can negatively affect litter quality.
- Conduct water tests. All farms should have their water tested thoroughly. The quality of your water can fluctuate during periods of drought or heavy rain. During these times, additional water tests will ensure that water lines continue to give adequate water volume for both the cooling systems and the birds.
- Flush water lines regularly. Perform a high-pressure flush on water lines between each flock and after adding supplements through the medicator.
- Supplement and improve water effectiveness by adding NutriZyme. NutriZyme® is an all-natural water and feed additive that can positively affect digestive function by promoting the diverse microbial population in the gut of poultry, giving birds a stronger immune system when dealing with various factors.
- When used as a daily dose of 16 oz. of NutriZyme® into 5 gallons of water and set medicator to 1 oz./gallon (1:128), it’s designed to improve animal health and performance. Working in conjunction with the importance of good water quality. NutriZyme® will enhance your bird’s gut health, feed conversion, disease resistance, energy and vigor, skin, paw, and leg integrity.
In conclusion, managing for the highest water quality will have the most significant impact on your bird production. Overlooking these harmful factors can, and will, affect your bottom line.
Following the simple steps above will make all the difference in the water quality you give your birds. Coupled with enhancing your bird’s immune system by supporting gut health and disease resistance, you can have the added peace of mind that you are giving your house what it needs to thrive with more profit back to you at settlement time.
Check out what one grower had to say…
“Poultry Drinking Water Primer” by University of Georgia Extension, Apr 04, 2006, Updated Apr 14, 2015
“Water Quality Critical to Broiler Performance” by Tom Tabler, Ph.D., Extension Professor, Poultry Science; Jessica Wells, Extension Instructor, Poultry Science; and Wei Zhai, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Poultry Science. 2019 by Mississippi State University