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Drinking Water

Water is the most important nutrient and good-quality water must be available to the birds at all times. Only in special cases (e.g., prior to vaccine delivery through the drinking water), should drinking water be restricted, and then only for a short time and under careful monitoring.

Monitoring drinking-water intake
Water and feed consumption are directly related—when birds drink less water, they consume less feed, and production quickly declines accordingly. As a general rule, healthy adult birds will consume twice as much water as feed, although the ratio increases during periods of warm weather. The installation and use of water meters in each house or barn is recommended to monitor the flock's water intake on a daily basis. Such daily water-intake records can be used as an early warning of problems in the flock.

*Chart shows an expected range of water consumption at normal environmental temperatures for bird comfort (21-27°C or 70-81°F). At higher temperatures (32-38°C or 90-100°F) water consumption may increase up to double the amounts shown.

Drinking-water quality
Suggested maximum mineral concentrations as well as a suggested range of pH for drinking water are shown in the table below. In addition, nitrites (NO2²) and bacterial contamination should be minimized (Lesson and Summers, 2005). In some cases, high concentrations of certain minerals (e.g., sodium, Na) in the drinking water should lead to corresponding changes in the dietary compostition to avoid excessive mineral intakes.

Suggested maximum concentrations of selected minerals in drinking water
(Leeson and Summers, 2005).

Literature Cited

1. Leeson, S., and J. D. Summers. 2005. Commercial Poultry Production. 3rd ed. University Books, Guelph, ON.

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