Case: Water wastage and wet manure
20 March 2020
Water is the most important nutrient for a broiler to perform optimally. That is why it is important to devote sufficient time and attention to your drinking water management. By adjusting the water supply perfectly to the needs of your broilers, water waste and thus wet manure will occur much less often.
The welfare of broilers is becoming increasingly important for consumers. Antibiotic-free chicken meat starts to become a standard in supermarkets. The fear of resistance is causing more and more countries to enforce stricter rules for the use of antibiotics. As a poultry farmer, it is therefore important to pay sufficient attention to the health of your broilers.
The quality of the litter plays an important role in this. But maintaining good litter quality can be quite a challenge. Because not only the feed and gut health influence this, but also external factors such as litter material, ventilation and of course the water supply play an important role.
Correct management of the drinking water is crucial to prevent wet manure. Too high water pressure causes the broilers to waste enormously. This not only results in wet litter around the drinking lines, but also has a negative effect on the water intake of the broilers. That is why it is important to adjust the water pressure correctly and to use drip cups under the drinking nipples.
The switch to a closed drinking system
The switch to closed drinking systems has been a challenge for many poultry farmers. It is often thought that a generous water supply will benefit production results. In itself this is not a strange thought, but more important is how this water is administered to the animals. It is a misconception to assume that a higher water supply allows broilers to drink more. When you are thirsty, you do not grab a bucket to drink, right? Instead you use a glass so you don’t spill the water. This is no different in animals. They also need an efficient way to drink without spilling. In this case the drinking nipples. These should be easy to activate and should not release more water than is necessary for optimal consumption.
The experience at a large poultry farm in Russia a few years ago is a good example of this. During the renovation of the broiler houses, all (open) drinking bowls were replaced by a closed drinking system from Impex. The employees of the poultry farm were explained how to adjust the water pressure to the growth of the broilers to avoid waste and improve water intake.
However, during the first round it turned out that the chicks wasted a lot of water, while the employees followed the instructions carefully. Impex was asked to monitor the drinking system for a week to find out what went wrong. Colleague Richard Wentzel travelled to Russia to determine the source of the problem. It soon became clear that the employees of the company had indeed adjusted the water pressure correctly, but afterwards the inspecting veterinarian increased the pressure again. He was convinced that the chicks would not be able to drink enough water from drinking nipples.
The vet had no experience with closed drinking systems, only with open water systems. He could not believe that the broilers could drink enough water from a nipple. By increasing the pressure as much as possible, the water flow from the drinking nipples increased. But the chicks couldn't consume all the water that came out of the nipples and more or less got a shower while drinking. After a week, Richard was able to convince the vet and stop the water waste.
"This experience is not exactly an exception," says Richard. “All over the world there are poultry farmers who think that the water flow of the drinking nipples should be maximized, with all its consequences. Paying more attention to the water supply and the water intake of the animals ensures optimal use of the water. This keeps the litter dry and reduces the spillage of water. That is why it is important to check the water flow of the drinking nipples daily and to correct the water pressure if necessary. ”
Optimal drinking water management
Proper management and, most importantly, a high-quality drinking water system are a key investment to help optimise the results from your poultry production. Although water may seem just a minor part of overall production, it is the most important nutrient in a broiler’s growth. Consequently, it is crucial that you give the drinking water system and the drinking water itself adequate attention – this way, you can be certain of maximum return at the end of the process.
Want to know more about drinking water management? Contact one of our specialists!