Optimum performance in birds with an effective water program
Juan Sebastián Ospina
Sales Marketing Manager Cid Lines
Professor of Poultry Sciences at the University of Arkansas
The cleaning of the entire system, such as distribution lines, storage tanks and water lines within the sheds, is essential to obtain the best productive results.
Water is the number one input used to produce meat and eggs. While genetic efficiency continues to improve production costs, this also means that birds with these phenotypic and genotypic characteristics (focused on high yields) require optimal management to maximize yield. This, combined with the industry's tendency to reduce the use of antibiotics, makes the need to provide clean and sanitized water increasingly important.
Water systems for birds are vulnerable to contamination because water moves slowly and heats up during the early stages of chicken, which provides the optimal conditions for the development of biofilms. The addition of additives such as nutraceuticals, organic acids, electrolytes and vitamins, along with natural mineral contaminants, such as iron, manganese or sulfur, create the potential for water supplies to contain pathogenic microorganisms.
Water quality control
The first step to optimize quality is to control the biofilms that, given the right circumstances, can contain multiple types of pathogens (for example, Salmonella). Established biofilms develop a thick wall of polysaccharides that protects microorganisms from acceptable levels of disinfectant for bird consumption and, as biofilms ripen, they release some microorganisms into the water.
You should never assume that treatments such as filtration or reverse osmosis are working properly. Collect sterile samples from the source and drinking fountains for microbial analysis, which should include total bacteria, E. coli and coliforms.
When farms or sheds constantly experience health problems, swab inside regulators or the ends of water lines and the request for a diagnostic profile can help identify whether water supply is the main cause. Based on the results of the swabs extracted from the water lines, implement a cleaning and sanitation program that minimizes pollution where birds drink.
There are many effective cleaning products available, but the key is to use the products in the correct concentrations and leave them for the proper time for biofilm removal.
Cleaning the entire system is essential for the best results. This includes distribution lines, storage tanks, as well as all water lines within the sheds. If the cleaning of the line has not been done before, it is a good idea to add dye to the cleaning mixture so that it is clear when the product is in the pipes (it must reach the end).
Previous and subsequent cleaning of water lines, and swab results can help confirm effectiveness. For more reliable results, perform the swab in two lines before applying the cleaning product and do the same in two different lines after application of the product.
The last step in cleaning the water system should include rinsing the product with water containing a level of residual disinfectant (it could be the same, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations). This helps to protect the system from the subsequent formation of biofilms, since the water system remains inactive before the new flock enters.
The final step to provide optimum water quality is to develop a consistent daily water sanitation program, with products that maintain microbial levels controlled effectively, without affecting water consumption.
Be careful with chlorine
Chlorine remains a great disinfectant, but its effectiveness is limited by the life and pH of the water. The longer the "chlorine" is stored — generally, the most commonly used sources are sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite — the less effective it will be as a disinfectant, and looking for an ideal free chlorine residual can cause the water to become bitter and less Appetizing for birds.
Ideally, the product should be used in a time not exceeding 2-3 weeks. The pH also plays an important role in the disinfectant power of chlorine. A pH in the range of 4-7 converts chlorine into hypochlorous acid, which is the strong disinfectant. A residual of free chlorine of 2 ppm at a pH below 7 can be up to 80 to 300 times more effective than 2 ppm of free chlorine at a pH of 8 or more. It is important to keep in mind that chlorine-based products and acids used to lower pH cannot be mixed in the same container. They must be supplied separately, allowing mixing with water before adding the other product to avoid chlorine volatilization.
When water is used slowly in warehouses, such as during the initial chick stage (first 7 days), stabilized hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants may be a better option to keep water systems protected because their residue remains effective for days . Instead, chlorine usually breaks down in a few hours.
The objective is to provide a disinfection residue at the bird level that keeps the levels of bacteria in the water low. If products such as probiotics or vaccines are used, apply them for a limited time each day and then, before the end of the day, make sure the birds return to drinking clean and sanitized water. Leaving water systems without disinfectants overnight or for several days invites the proliferation of microorganisms.
The maintenance of water systems is of vital importance. They must always be clean and disinfected, since water is an essential element for the optimal breeding of modern birds.