What’s inside your Poultry Pipeline – Waterline Sanitation

Water as a key nutrient

Clean drinking water is essential for poultry health and plays a key role in poultry performance. Water is the nutrient of the highest importance, making contaminated water a serious threat to animals and profits. While poultry producers are critical about the quality of the feed, the quality of drinking water often does not receive the attention it deserves. Frequent cleaning and monitoring of the drinking system are necessary to maintain good quality drinking water. When products like antibiotics, vitamins, and acids are added to the drinking water this becomes even more vital for poultry pipeline sanitation

Don’t overlook the pH of your water supply.     

What is Biofilm and how to remove it?

It’s a community of bacteria, fungi and algae bound together in a slime which anchors them firmly to a surface and protects them from antibacterial agents, so they can proliferate.

Organic acid-based cleaners are particularly effective in removing limescale-based biofilms, while hydrogen peroxide is good against biofilm and organic matter. “Whatever you use, follow the recommendations on the label.”

However, if there is a heavy bacterial load, a 1% concentration is unlikely to work well, so we recommend going up to 2-3%. “Consider what was done in the crop before: If you tested the water and had no health problems 1% should be fine. If you put lots of additives and medicines through the line there will be more residue, so up the rate a bit.

The buildup in water lines can cause a host of problems, including:

  • Growth and introduction of pathogens to be passed down the water line
  • The mineral buildup that clogs nipples
  • Algae buildup that clogs nipples
  • Reduction of water volume due to the decreased diameter of the pipe
Poultry waterline sanitation

Scale and biofilm buildup of 1/16 inch along the inside of the ¾ inch pipe reduces water volume flow by 1.7 gallons per minute.

Follow these rules to help keep the biofilm away:

  • Clean the drinker system thoroughly
  • Implement an adequate clean water programme
  • Keep the water supply sanitised
  • If you run any additives that could feed biofilm through the mediator, flush the water system immediately afterwards.

Factors affecting the waterline sanitation programme :

  1. What is the source of the water?
    • Is it well? If so, how deep is it? What rock formations does it pass through?
    • Is it surface water from a pond, lake, or stream? What is its algae content? Is it clean?
    • Is it a rural or community water supply? How is it treated? What is its chlorine level?
  2. Are there issues with health or performance of past flocks?
    • excess mortality
    • poor feed conversions or weight gain
    • poor egg numbers
  3. Is the mineral content of the water known?
    • what’s in it?
    • at what level?
  4. Are additives run through the drinker system?
    • If so, are water lines flushed afterwards?

Water pipes should be cleaned with detergent at least once in two weeks preferably to remove biofilms causing bacterial proliferation

Choosing the proper product

When making the choice between registered water line disinfectants, it is important to understand what type of buildup is occurring in the lines. In water lines where there is mineral buildup consistent with areas that have hard water, a organic & inorganic acid  blend disinfectant that cuts through mineral buildup easily should be used. For water lines where an organic slime accumulation has been observed, a silver-stabilized hydrogen peroxide chemistry is recommended.

Organic acids

As well as the above options, producers should consider including organic acids, which act as a feed source for beneficial gut microflora. You don’t want any bacteria in water increasing the chances of birds picking up a health challenge.

Organic acids have a triple benefit:

  1. They help sanitise the water
  2. Break down limescale
  3. Promote gut health
Apply Enciklin PL-56 on the Nipples to remove the blockage & biofilm

How to apply a terminal waterline disinfectant – Enciklin PL-56

Always follow the application directions provided on the label of the product. After removing all birds from the farm, water line disinfection may be applied through one of the following methods:

  1. Mixing the solution in water tank & Hold for 3 hours minimum
  2. Circulate the solution for ½ hour by pump. Drain & Flush

Flush the solution through the water lines, then trigger all the drinkers to ensure that the product removes any film present in the nipple assembly. Allow the solution to sit in the water lines overnight. In the morning, flush the lines with fresh water. Again, trigger all the drinkers to ensure proper function and that the water disinfectant solution has been flushed out. Once all the waterline disinfectant solution has been flushed, the house can be heated up and birds can be placed.

Terminal water line cleaning and disinfection is the first step in ensuring that the water provided to birds is of high quality. Clean water lines allow for not only an adequate volume of water being delivered to the birds but also water that is free of pathogens, which is important for flock health. Terminal water line disinfection is the easy answer to dirty water lines and dirty standpipes.


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