I. Water is Part of Your Bio-security Program

Water sources available to livestock have been identified as important biosecurity and agroterrorism concerns. Many foodborne pathogens can be spread throughout the flock via the drinking water. Protective measures need to be in place to reduce vulnerability for microbial infection.

The USDA is actively pursuing means of reducing foodborne pathogens at the processing level. Currently, more emphasis is being placed at reducing harmful bacteria at the grower’s level.

II. Functions of Water in Poultry Diets

It is imperative that commercial poultry have access to a clean healthy water supply. Young rapidly growing birds often consume twice as much water as they do feed. Water not only serves as a nutrient, but it has other functions as well. Water softens the feed in the crop, serves as a carrier of feed moving through the digestive tract, and acts as an aid in several digestive processes. It is also a key component of blood and lymph that are vital for a healthy immune system.

Since water is such an important component to the bird’s bodily processes, it would make sense that the quality of the water should be just as important as the quantity. Drinking water should always be clean and free of microbial contaminants to ensure proper health and wellness.

III. Importance of Sanitary Water Lines

Over a period of time, any water delivery system will be affected by material build up and contamination. Lime, calcium, manganese, and iron will form scale. Rust, dirt, and algae will attach to the inside of water lines. Water soluble additives used in poultry drinking water often contain sugar or sugar additives that can promote the growth of a biofilm inside the water line. It is the buildup of these materials on the inner surface of the service lines that will provide a place for microorganisms to take hold and multiply. Organic materials and additives will supply nutrients for microbial growth and will have a negative impact on medication and vaccines delivered through the water lines. Every time the bird consumes water, it will become exposed to an ever increasing microbial load. Other negative effects of microbial growth include poor feed conversion, downgrading of carcasses, increased mortality and increased condemnation. This will affect the profitability of the integrator and the farmer. Although flushing water lines between flocks is recommended, flushing cannot always remove the slime layer or biofilm of bacteria or algae.

IV. Sources of Contamination

All water has some degree of contamination or impurities. Most of these have absolutely no baring effect on poultry performance or degradation of equipment. The goal of this program is to limit the potential of biological contamination and reduce the effects of hardness minerals that can effect the equipment. There are 3 points of entry for contaminants.

  1. Source Water. This can be community water, well water or surface water. Mineral scale such as calcium, magnesium, iron, or manganese will be found from the source water. These contaminants are discussed later in Section VI. The source water should be checked annually for microorganisms. If tested positive, continuous sanitation is highly recommended.
  2. Chemical Injectors / Medicators. Most farms have medicators with 5 gallon buckets used as a solution tank. Most of these do not have a lid and are rarely cleaned. Insects and organic debris which have bacteria or viruses on them can fall into these containers. So when medicators are used, microorganisms are then pumped into the drinking water lines. These medicators need to be properly maintained and solution tanks need to be cleaned periodically and covered at ALL times.
  3. Drinkers. Birds peck at fecal matter and eat insects. Microganisms then are transferred to the beak and eventually wind up on the drinkers themselves. The low pressure drinkers allow for partial backflow in which contaminants from the beak can enter the water system. This can not be prevented; it only can be managed. Sanitation during the growout can minimize this risk.

V. Types of Contamination:

There are basically two classes of contaminants that will be of focus; organic and inorganic. Organic contaminates includes a wide range of possibilities but for this program it will be limited strictly to living organisms. This would include (but is not limited to) bacteria, viruses, algae, mold, mildew, slime, and biofilm. Bacteria and viruses are our greatest concern relating to biosecurity. It was once believed that bacteria were planktonic (free floating). We now know that the natural habitat of bacteria is found in biofilm.

Inorganic contaminants are naturally occurring from the source. Our concern for these are three fold; 1) Some minerals are a food source for bacteria; 2) Mineral scale can provide a habitat which can harbor bacteria safely from disinfectants/sanitizers; 3) Mineral scale can clog up waterlines creating pressure drops or creating stuck or leaking nipple drinkers.

VI. What are Biofilms?

Biofilms generally form on any surface that is exposed to water or other liquids and are consequently found in most poultry drinking water systems. Biofilms are a complex mixture of bacteria, fungi, and algae bound together in a sticky gel of organic contaminants. Bacteria living in a biofilm can have significantly different properties from free-floating bacteria, as the dense and protected environment of the film allows them to cooperate and interact in various ways. One benefit of this environment is increased resistance to detergents and antibiotics, as the dense extracellular matrix and the outer layer of cells protect the interior of the community. Biofilms are common in nature, as bacteria commonly have mechanisms by which they can adhere to surfaces and to each other. The high temperatures and the low water flow when starting day-old-chicks creates an ideal environment for an exploding development of unwanted algae and bacteria in the watering system. Therefore, more poultry growers are incorporating some form of cleaners to their water system flushing procedures.

All water sources are susceptible to biofilms being formed. Well or surface water (that contain high mineral content, iron bacteria or coliform) are more susceptible of producing a matrix of biofilm intertwined with mineral scale. Also, the use of vitamins or other sugar based products (Gatorade, Kool-Aid, etc.) is a food source to the microorganisms and will further promote the formation of biofilms.

Biofilm is very difficult to remove. Chlorine, peroxides, and acids are not effective at biofilm removal despite what might be stated in an advertisement or by a salesperson. Only use products that are EPA registered for biofilm removal.

VII. What is Mineral Scale?

Hard water is usually associated with well water in regions where the rocks contain a large proportion of mineral salts of calcium and magnesium, principally as bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates, and sometimes iron and manganese. Hard water will also promote the formation of scale. Harder scale is comprised of iron and manganese. Soft scale is comprised mostly of calcium and magnesium.

There are several concerns with mineral scale. First, the economic impact to the grower is that it will clog plumbing, regulators, and restrict the flow of water to the nipple drinkers. Ignoring the problem can create the need to replace nipple drinkers periodically. Second, as far as Biosecurity, scale has a rough surface that contains pitting, cracks, and crevices which microorganisms can harbor. Finally, iron and manganese is a food source for many type of bacteria. This food source needs to be eliminated or at least reduced

To remove the scale, we need to reduce the pH of the water by adding an acid to dissolve the mineral scale.

PROCEDURES FOR WATERLINE MAINTENANCE

Maintenance During Flock (Birds Present)

Weekly

Initiate a high pressure flush to remove dead organic or inorganic deposits. This may not be possible unless drinkers are plumbed for this process. Do this every Monday.

Monthly

Run KEM SAN™ brand Liquid Antimicrobial on the first day of every month. A 33% stock solution of KEM SAN™ will be administered to the drinking water at a concentration of one ounce of KEM SAN™ per gallon of drinking water. The final concentration of KEM SAN™ in the treated drinking water will be 2.58 ml/L.

  • To make stock solution, add one (1) part of Kem San to two (2) parts of water. For example, to make a days supply use 50 pounds of Kem San (5.5 gallons) and pour into a 20 gallon container. Add 11 gallons of tap water to the solution tank. It is suggested to use the container the KEM SAN is packaged (fill container twice). This will make 15.5 gallons of stock solution.
  • Apply stock solution with medicator at a dosage rate of 1:128 or one ounce per gallon of water. Continue application until stock solution is emptied. No die or feed indicator is necessary.

As Needed

Run an approved Antimicrobial after the use of vitamins or vaccines. Follow internal protocols on this which may be up to 72 hours after applying vaccine.

Maintenance Between Flocks (Birds NOT Present)

This procedure is to be started 7 days before bird’s placement. Before any placement of birds, a three step program will be used to thoroughly clean the water lines. Lower the water lines to an appropriate height that they can be serviced. Perform any maintenance necessary to the water systems. Replaced nipple drinkers at this point so they also can be sanitized. Check Feeder hoses to make sure of no crimps. Replace hoses when necessary.

Step One. Biofilm Removal / Disinfection and other Organic Matter

Application is expedited when flush systems are installed on drinking water systems. It is recommended that two people are used when flushing lines. Only do one half of a house at a time to reduce product waste/spillage. Lines will fill at different rates of speed. Observe lines that take a long time to fill. This may be an indicator of a crimped supply line or blockage.

  • Apply ½ ounces (2 capfuls) of liquid dish soap to the container of SWG™
  • Biocide.Place cap back on container and shake well to mix soap with product.
  • Adjust all regulators for flush mode.
  • Place the medicator supply hose into the container of SWG (No solution tank required).
  • Apply product with medicator at a dosage rate of 1:128 or one ounce per gallon of water. Continue application until soap suds are evident at the end of the water lines.
  • Use a stick, paint roller, or broom handle to activate the drinkers.
  • Allow the product to set in the line for a minimum of 4 hours. It is encouraged to allow the product to remain in the water lines for 24 hours for maximum benefit.

**After product application, flush the line thoroughly for a minimum of 15 minutes to ensure that there is no remaining biocide in the water lines.

Step Two. Removal of Minerals Scale and other Inorganic Matter

*Please note, if the pH of the water is less than 7.0, skip this step.

  • Test existing water pH and alkalinity in water lines (This should be done in advance).
  • Determine which target pH is desired for general acidification from the PWT® Recommended Usage Rate Chart at the end of this section
  • Add PWT® dosage to four gallons of water to create stock solution. This stock solution can treat 8 broiler houses or 10 breeder hen houses.
  • Apply liquid dish soap (2 ounces) or dye (60 ml of Intervet Sterile Dye to stock solution as a feed indicator.
  • Add the PWT® stock solution at a rate of one ounce of stock solution per one gallon of drinking water or dosage level 1:128. Continue application until soap suds/dye is evident at the end of the water lines.
  • Use a stick, paint roller, or broom handle to activate the drinkers.
  • Allow the product to set in the line for a minimum of 4 hours. It is encouraged to allow the product to remain in the water lines for 24 hours for maximum benefit.

**After product application, flush the line thoroughly for a minimum of 15 minutes to ensure that there is no remaining acid in the water lines.

Step 3. Sanitation Rinse/Preserve

  • Make a stock solution of ½ cup of 5.25 percent bleach to one gallon of water. No soap or dye will be used as a feed indicator.
  • Apply stock solution with medicator at a dosage rate of 1:128 or one ounce per gallon of water. Continue application until solution tank is emptied.
  • Use a stick, paint roller, or broom handle to activate the drinkers.
  • Allow the product to set in the line for a minimum of 4 hours. It is encouraged to allow the product to remain in the water lines for 24 hours for maximum benefit.

**After product application, flush the line thoroughly for a minimum of 15 minutes to ensure that there is no remaining acid in the water lines.

Final Steps

After you apply these products, it is recommended that you flush the medicator. Empty the solution tank, rinse, and fill with fresh water. Disconnect the outgoing water line on the medicator and turn on the water. Flush water for two minutes into a sink or drain.

Rinse solution tank out. Use a bleach solution (approximately ½ cup 5.25 percent bleach to a gallon of water = 12 ppm chlorine) and scrub inside surface area of solution tank. Rinse thoroughly and place cover back on solution tank.

ONGOING PROGRAMS

Medicator Maintenance

Concentrated chlorine, bromine, and iodine products can leave behind salts when they evaporate which can affect the efficiency of the pump and even clog the medicator. Strong acids can attack components of the pump. Vitamins can clog the pump. Anything containing carbohydrates can be a food source of microorganisms and are a biosecurity risk. Simply flushing the pump with fresh water can extend the life of the medicator and reduce the risk of pathogen exposure.

Immediately after running vitamins or vaccines, make a stock solution tank of ¼ cup 5.25% bleach to a gallon of water. Disconnect the outgoing hose of the medicator and flush the stock solution through the medicator into a sink our to drain for 2 – 5 minutes. This will sanitize the medicator and increase its life. With this bleach dilution, it is not necessary for a following flush with fresh water.

Periodically change the chemical feeder hose. These recommendations can be found in the owners manual. Anytime after use, flush the pump with source water.

Feed Bucket/Solution Tank

Always make sure that the solution tank use to supply vitamins and chemicals for medicator use is always clean of debris. It is recommended that if one uses a 5 gallon pail the pail is white in color for easy inspection. Make sure that a lid is always on the solution tank

Anytime after use, rinse out the bucket. Use a bleach solution (approximately ½ cup 5.25 percent bleach to a gallon of water = 12 ppm chlorine) periodically to maintain sanitation. This is especially important after running vitamins or electrolytes. These products can provide a food source for bacteria and algae.

Water Testing

  • Mineral Scan – All farms shall have a mineral scan on the source water on a predetermined period of time
  • Bacteria Test – All farms shall have a bacteria analysis on the source water on a predetermined period of time. This will included coliform (both fecal and non-fecal) and pseudomonas. If filters in control room get clogged/fouled in less than a week an iron bacteria test shall be run.

More information and tips on healthy poultry water can be found at http://www.Intec-America.com



Source by Steve McCune

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