Clean and fresh drinking water is super important for a broiler and contributes to an optimal return. That is why it is important to pay sufficient attention to the water supply of your poultry in order to avoid unnecessary water wastage. In addition to the costs associated with excessive water usage and wet manure, it can also cause health problems.
Healthy chicks drink an average of 1.8 grams of water for every gram of feed they eat. If this ratio is too much out of balance, it usually means something is wrong. If the water consumption is much higher, this can be caused by illness, heat stress, or a leak in the system, among other things. But if the chicks look healthy, the feed intake is normal, and there are no visible leaks, this could also mean that there is something wrong with the set-up of your drinking water supply.
In our experience, the following three are the most common causes of excessive water wastage:
It is important to thoroughly flush and clean the drinking lines regularly to keep harmful bacteria out of the drinking line as much as possible. The temperature of the water is also important. The higher the temperature, the faster bacteria and fungi can multiply.
Biofilm is a slimy layer that forms on the inside of the drinking line. Over time, pieces of this biofilm may break off, ending up in the drinking nipple. This blockage then ensures that the drinking nipple no longer closes entirely and starts to leak.
By regularly flushing and cleaning the drinking lines, you prevent biofilm build-up and maintain the water's temperature. A helpful way to make this process easier and less time-consuming is to use an automatic flushing system.
The size of a broiler determines the height of the drinking line. Situating the drinking line too high or too low will affect water intake. A chicken cannot swallow, so the correct drinking position for a chicken is upright, with a stretched neck so that the water runs down the throat. For a (day-old) chick, the drinking nipple should be at eye level so they can easily spot it. Also, the pressure shouldn't be too high, so they can easily activate the drinking nipple.
It often happens that the height of the drinking line is not adjusted frequently enough. This should be done daily, especially during the first two weeks, because a broiler grows quite quickly. Suppose you do not adjust the height of the line for a week, then the drinking nipple can hang a few centimeters too low. As a result, your birds have to make more effort to drink and waste more water.
If the drinking line is then suddenly increased by a few centimeters, this causes stress for many chickens. It is difficult for them to adapt to the drastically changed height difference. This can even mean that some of them don't want to drink at all anymore. That is why it is best to adjust the height of the drinking line daily in small steps, so it is always situated at the ideal drinking height.
The water pressure must also be adjusted regularly during the round. As the chicks get older, they drink more. This means that the water flow of the drinking nipples must also be adjusted. If you don't do this, there is a chance that the chicks at the beginning of the drinking line will drink all the available water, and the rear part of the drinking line will run dry.
Be careful not to set the pressure too high. The counter pressure makes it more difficult for the chicks to activate the drinking nipple. In addition, it will release so much water that the birds cannot absorb everything and will waste more. This leads to unnecessary additional water wastage. After adjusting the water pressure, walk around the house to check how the animals drink.
You can easily adjust the water pressure on the drinking line via the pressure regulator at the beginning or middle of the drinking line. Especially with broilers, it is advisable to check the pressure daily and adjust it (if necessary).