Water quality is something that is often overlooked as a contributor to farm performance. Good quality water is essential for aiding digestion, transportation of nutrients, body temperature regulation and the removal of waste products. Therefore, LMS promote regular water testing as this could indicate levels of contaminants that may be affecting bird health or performance.
Water constituents that may affect bird health can include pH, hardness, iron, manganese, sulphates, nitrogen compounds, magnesium, sodium and bacteria. Whilst some elements may not be at toxic levels they could still have a negative effect on performance. Borehole water is typically more problematic than mains water. The most common problems are elevated levels of iron and/or manganese which cause discolouration of the water and promote the growth of bacteria. These elements can be removed by filtration.
Biofilm buildup can often be an issue during a crop cycle and can cause problems in pipes and drinker lines. Biofilm is a polysaccharide layer that can build up in drinker lines and house pathogenic microrganisms. This can cause complications such as leaky drinker nipples as well as increasing the birds exposure to harmful bacteria.
Factors that contribute to biofilm build up can include the initial bacterial content of the water, house temperature, water flow, mineral content of the water and any additives such as medication or vitamin supplements that are added to the drinking system.