Maintaining the quality of drinking water for poultry is an important nutritional aspect because birds consume water at twice the rate of feed. The microbial quality of water is an important factor in determining its wholesomeness. As a result, it should be a top priority for production personnel and poultry producers to understand the microbial quality of the water supplies provided to their birds and confirm that it is within an acceptable range. Various studies show that water supplies are extremely vulnerable to microbial contamination, even in farms with good management systems. Furthermore, water sources such as wells or reservoirs are dynamic, with water quality changing seasonally. Establishing routine supply testing and taking corrective action as needed can have a significant impact on flock performance.
Microbial Water Quality Standards for Poultry Drinking Water.
Water is assumed to be safe if it has no microbial population and has a safe mineral content with no unwanted contaminants. However, the presence of microbes in water is not always associated with flock disease unless it exceeds a certain infectious level. The table below shows the acceptable levels of bacteria in drinking water in colony forming units (cfu) per millilitre (ml) for poultry operations.
Microbial contamination in drinking water that exceeds acceptable levels has a direct impact on health and performance.
Water Supplies are Vulnerable to Microbial Contamination.
If the source water has an acceptable bacterial level, it does not mean the levels present at the end of drinker line where the birds are drinking is also within safe microbial levels. The following field evaluations is just an illustration that how the microbial levels can significantly change by the time the water supply reaches the end of the drinker system from the source, if the drinker system is unhygienic.
Bio-flushing: Pipeline cleaning, A mandatory practice.
Biofilms are complex communities that are firmly attached to hydrated surfaces and consist of a matrix of different species of enclosed microbial cells cooperating with one another for survival. Waterlines with low or no disinfectant residual level in water form biofilms over time, even if the water supply is clean. A 2012 study at the University of Arkansas found that regardless of daily water sanitation, waterlines could become fouled by biofilms by the sixth week of bird growth, even if the waterlines were initially clean. If water systems are not sanitised on a regular basis, one can imagine system hygiene. As a result, line cleaning between flocks with a strong disinfectant solution is a highly recommended practise.
The goal of poultry water sanitation procedures and sanitizer/disinfectant products is to target microbial challenges in water supplies, whether they are bacterial, fungal, viral, or protozoal. A good drinking water sanitizer should leave a disinfectant residual throughout the distribution system, inactivate microbes, control biofilms, and neutralise unwanted contaminants.
Of all the disinfectants available, Chlorine Dioxide is the most preferred choice among the poultry farmers because of the benefits that they get. It not only disinfects the water, but also helps in the growth of the birds with increased production and better overall health, leading to additional revenue and profits for the farmers.