14 Dec 2020

Cleaning water lines essential in bird health optimization

limpeza da tubulação de água


Dr. Susan Watkins

Content available in: Español (Spanish)

Drinking water sanitation programs are vital in the flock’s health and productivity, which is why it is crucial to thoroughly clean the water distribution system as much as possible.

However, we must be vigilant, as one of the potential impacts of misusing water sanitation agents is that the chemical can react with the biofilm, leading to bad tasting water, and consequently, a decrease in its consumption .

Additionally, when a small amount of sanitary or disinfectant agent is left in dirty water pipes, it can loosen the biofilm, which end up blocking the drinkers , leading to water restrictions.

Therefore, it is important to clean the plumbing system, including the drinkers in order to remove biofilm and other precipitates, that can serve as ideal media for potential pathogens such as E. coli , Pseudomonas, and even Salmonella to thrive in.

Many disease-causing agents such as Salmonella can survive for weeks in biofilm in water pipes, representing a constant source of contamination for the house and possible infection for the birds.

Water supply systems must be properly cleaned and disinfected between all flocks.

Proper cleaning can help prevent mineral deposits and precipitated inert and biological material deposits that deter water flow sometimes by as much as 70-80% .

Many popular products, such as acidifiers and others, can create favorable conditions for the growth of yeast and fungi .

These fungi and yeasts can grow even in waters with an acidic pH as long as they are immersed in biofilm capable of blocking the drinkers, which can become a serious problem.


To ensure that the pipes are effectively cleaned, the first step is to answer the following questions:

What is the source of the water?

Untreated well water, for example water that does not receive any daily treatment with sanitary products or disinfectants, is the most vulnerable to the formation of scabs or biofilm in the pipes. Most municipal or rural piped water contains at least 0.2 ppm of available or free chlorine that can help reduce bacterial growth.

However, since the water used for poultry farms is often well water and is handled differently than municipal water (low pressure, slow flow, and with added products such as vitamins for example), this makes the cleaning of the pipes a paramount step.

cleaning-pipes What products have been used in the water pipes?

If additives such as vitamins, electrolytes, sugar-based products, promoters containing minerals and vitamins, or products based on weak acids have been used, it is highly likely to result in a significant amount of biofilm. Once this biofilm has been settled in the pipes, cleaning becomes 10 to 1000 times more difficult.

For this reason, it is important to use aggressive cleaners that facilitate their removal.

What is the mineral content in the water?

Calcium and magnesium are frequently responsible for the formation of precipitates that are observed in the form of whitish crusts .

If the water contains more than 60 ppm of either of these two minerals and if the pH of the water is above 7, then there is a good chance of mineral precipitation forming in the pipes and drinking system, which will have to be removed using an acid-based cleaner designed for the treatment of nipple drinker systems.

Other common mineral contaminants include iron, manganese, and sulfur.






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