Water quality in poultry production
In poultry production, water should be considered an important factor of production as well as facilities, genetics, nutrition and health. Water quality in poultry production
When performing an analysis on a poultry farm, it is often neglected or underestimated the importance of knowing in depth all the variables related to the water quality.
In poultry production, water should be considered an important factor of production as well as facilities, genetics, nutrition and health.
The knowledge of the factors that determine the quality of water, linked to the needs of animals for production and health, allows to evaluate the water resource for productive purposes. The criteria that are usually taken into account for the determination of the quality of drinking water are its physicochemical and organoleptic characteristics, the presence of toxic compounds, excess minerals and the presence of pathogenic bacteria (NRC, 2001).
Assessing the quality of the water allows us to know its nutritional value and its usefulness as a therapeutic vehicle
- Water management and parameters
1.1 Water consumption
1.2 Water quality
1.2.1 Chemical parameters
1.2.2 Microbiological parameters
- Water analysis
- How to Improve The Microbiological Quality of Water
- How to improve chemical parameters
1. Water management and parameters
1.1. Water consumption
It is important to take into account the volume consumed by birds daily. This parameter depends on several factors, such as room and water temperature, type if feed, quality and method of administration.
Different studies determined that the water temperature preferred by birds should be at approximately 10°C; when water temperatures are 27°C or higher, water consumption and daily weight gain is significantly reduced.
If water temperature usually exceeds 24°C, some cooling system will have to be implemented.
1.2 Water quality
1.2.1 Chemical parameters
To assess the chemical quality of the water, pH should be considered. The pH expresses the hydrogenation concentration of a dissolution. The alkalinity and acidity of the water are pH-related. This parameter plays an important role in the solubility and stability of the different treatments supplied by aqueous route. Different pH values can be corrosive and precipitate medications. Under optimal conditions, the pH should be between 6.5 to 8.5. Lower pH (acids) can cause precipitation of certain medicines given in water. They can also affect digestive processes, decreasing nutrient absorption and enzymatic activity, and also cause damage to the water distribution system (pipes, drinkers, valves, etc.), or higher pH (Total Dissolved Salts (TDS))
Comprises suspended solids or dissolved in water. Its content in the water is expressed in total solid milligrams per liter of water (mg/l), or in its equivalent unit of parts per million (ppm).
It is important to perform a qualitative analysis, since, within the salts, there are some considered neutral or “beneficial” (sodium chloride, bicarbonates and carbonates) and others considered harmful (magnesium, sodium and calcium sulfates, nitrates, nitrites, etc.), that may cause decreased consumption, stunted growth, poisoning and decreased oxygen transport.
Refers mainly to the amounts of calcium and magnesium salts dissolved in water. Its control is important, since the precipitation of these salts can damage the water purification and distribution system, being the main cause of obstruction of drinkers, pipes and dosing pumps and water sprinklers. It should also be borne in mind that, in monogastrics, excessive amounts can neutralize hydrochloric acid, delaying digestion.
Are usually found as sodium chloride, which gives “salted” taste to the water. It can also be found in forms of calcium chloride and magnesium. The latter can give a bitter taste that affects consumption and its excess can cause diarrhea.
Is perhaps one of the main responsible for poor water quality on poultry farms. Birds have a low tolerance to sulfates, causing diarrhea and stunted growth.
Sulfates, in addition to generating a decrease in production rates, are corrosive to metal surfaces.
Nitrates and nitrites
The presence of nitrates and nitrites in drinking water decreases the ability to transport oxygen in the blood. Hemoglobin reacts with nitrites forming methemoglobin, losing its ability to transport oxygen. Animals have cyanosis, diarrhea, stunted growth and incoordination of movements and eventually death.
They come from the degradation of organic material; they are indicators of bacterial contamination.
Nitrites are ten times more toxic than nitrates.
The presence of arsenic may be of natural origin (soils of certain regions) or artificial origin (pesticides and industrial waste). Its toxic effect is cumulative, so even small amounts can lead to chronic poisoning and prolonged exposure causes cancer and skin lesions, which poses a threat to public health. It is also associated with developmental problems, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes
This cation is involved in the hardness and taste of water. It can be found in different soluble salts such as fluorides, phosphates, bicarbonates and sulfates.
When combined with ion sulfate to form magnesium sulfate, it can cause diarrhea with intestinal irritation in animals. Like calcium, it is involved in conferring hardness on the water, as well as bitter taste, which makes it unpalatable.
Bicarbonates and carbonates
Confer the characteristic of alkalinity to water. They are essential to keep the water at an optimal pH.
They are considered beneficial salts, have no negative effects on animal health.
Is an indicator compound of metabolic, agricultural and industrial processes, which can come from possible contaminations by bacteria, wastewater or animal waste.
Its presence is an alert, we must analyze our water source.
1.2.2 Microbiological parameters
In current production conditions we must work by extreme biosecurity measures, as birds are in constant challenge maintaining a balance in their bacterial population. Water and food are a direct source for the development of diseases.
Microbiological contamination of drinking water can originate anywhere from the source (napa) to the drinkers. Water can contain a large number of bacteria (mainly Salmonella spp., Vibrio cholerae, Leptospira spp., Pseudomonas and Escherichia coli) and viruses. As well as fungi, pathogenic protozoa and eggs of intestinal helminths.
The number of microorganisms in the drinking water can affect the health of birds and production. An overdevelopment generates from dysbacteriosis to enteritis pictures with high morbidity and mortality.
The main drawbacks caused by poor microbiological quality arise from contamination due to improper treatments, poorly constructed drills or located very close to cesspools.
2. Water analysis
It is necessary to perform periodic sampling of the supply water and different sectors of our facility (drinking, nipple, tank) to determine possible variations in its composition. With the information obtained, the necessary adjustments and appropriate treatments can be made; adding natural biocides or disinfectants, improving the physicochemical system to remove inorganic salts or evaluating the need to use a new source (perforation).
3. How to Improve The Microbiological Quality of Water
The addition of chlorine to water is one of the most widely used bactericidal procedures for its ease of use and relatively low cost. Chlorination can be done manually or automatically. Effectiveness in chlorination should be evaluated in order to make the necessary adjustments.
The main action of these compounds is the decrease in pH, which limits microbial growth.
Both organic acids (e.g. propionic, formic, peracetic and acetic acids) and inorganic acids (e.g. sodium hydrogen sulphate) are used.
They have moderate efficacy in controlling Salmonella and have some modulating effect of intestinal flora.
The disadvantage of these is that they cause damage to the facilities due to their corrosive effect and, in excess, cause decreased pH of the water affecting the absorption of nutrients
The most modern tools are based on active ingredients that are insulated from certain aromatic plants, these possess bactericidal and fungicide activity.
Cimenol ring (botanical extract) has the ability to improve the microbiological characteristics of the water thanks to its biocidal effect, in addition it promotes the balance of the intestinal flora. It controls major pathogens such as Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Clostridium, E. coli and is harmless to beneficial flora.
In addition, they have the added value of being environmentally friendly products and suitable for ecologic production and can be used in water.
Facilities and cleaning
The equipment of the farms plays a very important role in controlling the development of microorganisms. The design of the facilities and the material to be used are two factors to be taken into account. The characteristics of the materials are decisive to decrease the formation of biofilms and reduce inlays. For cleaning we must use specific products, generally concentrated acidifiers are used. The indications and times indicated by the manufacturer must be respected.
4. How to improve chemical parameters
In case of undesirable alterations in chemical parameters, the following treatments can be used:
- Reverse osmosis: Is the process by which the natural phenomenon of osmosis is reversed by applying a specific external force, pressure and speed, which allows filtering by eliminating excess solutes and contaminants.
- Filtration: Smaller particles go through a filter, retaining the largest ones. There are different methods depending on the speed and size of the pore.
- Flocculation: In this method chemical coagulants (such as aluminum and iron salts) that form solid floccules of metal hydroxides are added to the water. It has the function of eliminating or reducing different types of metals.
The intensity of current production requires detailed knowledge of all the factors that interact with animals, and water is a vital element for any production.
Water in poultry is a key route of administration. Birds, when they are going through a clinical picture, usually stop consuming food but maintain water intake, this allows us to use it as a therapeutic route to reverse the process.
The control of chemical and microbiological parameters should be done on a regular basis, as well as in situations in which the morbidity or mortality of our exploitation is raised.
The cost-effectiveness of the system can be affected by poor water quality, as it can cause damage to pipes and equipment.
Knowing and valuing the water resource allows us to improve zoological parameters, health and the economy of exploitation.