People have been raising poultry for centuries.
Historically, most domesticated poultry was raised outdoors
until the 1950ís when large confinement operations were begun. With integration of both meat and egg production by large
corporations in recent years, the van majority of poultry is now
produced in large confinement farms (APPPA, 2005).
Large operation brought a challenge to both farmers and
consumers with regards to safety and health aspects, as poultry
farms needed plenty of quality water not only for the health and
growth of their birds, but also to prevent equipment breakdown,
lower maintenance costs and keep downtime to a minimum (Hess, 1998).
Contamination of the water system can rapidly disseminate
infectious organisms. Bacteria
in feed particles, dust, litter, faeces, and nasal or mouth
discharges can easily contaminate open water drinkers available to
poultry. Part of the
solution has been to move to closed water systems.
The introduction of nipple systems has been shown to have
considerable health benefits (Lister, 1990).
However, biofouling that is formed in closed water systems
provides a haven for water born pathogens and slime.
Their presence in the drinking water may cause lowered egg
production or occasional mild diarrhea, especially in caged hens (IFAS,
-The Importance of Chlorination
The proper care of the poultry production process has a
profound impact on public safety and health.
Statistically, each person in the United States consumes 96lb
(44kg) of poultry every year. Thus
poultry accounts for about 36% of meat consumption, second only to
beef in the American diet (Tsai /Higby/Schade, ERCO 2005).
Water is involved in every aspect of poultry metabolism.
It plays important roles in regulating body temperature,
digesting food and eliminating bodily wastes.
At normal temperatures, birds consume at least twice as much
water as they do feed (Sneed/Carter, 1997).
Given that the quality of the water used on poultry farms has
a direct impact on the health of the flock (Hatt, 2002), and that
poultry is such a significant component of the human diet, it is
necessary to take great care in ensuring their drinking water
Bacteria can grow rapidly in poultry house drinkers, even if
the source water is free of bacteria.
This is because Coliform bacteria are normally found in the
digestive tracts of livestock, humans and birds (Sneed/Carter,
1996). Coliform is a
family of bacteria common in soils, plants and animals (VDH, 2005).
The presence of fecal Coliform in drinking water or at
swimming sites is evidence that human or animal waste has been or is
present. This may be
cause for concern because many diseases can be spread through fecal
transmission (VDH, 2005). Consequently,
every time the bird consumes water it will be exposed to an
increased microbial load through the drinking water, which could
result in down grading of carcasses and increased mortality of birds
(CPC, 2005). Given that
reducing the load of pathogens in the poultry farmís living
environment will decrease the risk of disease, proper disinfection
using Chlorine is mandatory. The
resultant water quality will mean increased poultry body weight and
better egg production (Hatt, 2002) and final consumerís health.
The use of Chlorine gas has many advantages.
Although the initial equipment cost is higher, the chemical
cost is low. Chlorine
gas is 100% pure elemental Chlorine.
There are no other chemicals being added to the water.
It can be stored over long periods of time and at a wide
temperature range without weakening or degrading.
With the advent of vacuum feed technology (direct
cylinder-mounting of vacuum regulators) gas chlorination has
statistically become the safest, most effective and efficient
disinfectant option. Vacuum
operated gas chlorination systems from Aquatech Pro, Inc. are more
accurately controllable, much more reliable and considerably less
maintenance intensive than chemical metering pumps or tablet
The most common disinfectants used in the poultry farming
disinfection are the halogen disinfectants.
Halogen disinfectants refer to Chlorine as Sodium
Hypochlorite, Calcium Hypochlorite, Chlorine gas, or to Iodine
disinfectant (Idophor compounds).
The use of Chlorine gas for Poultry farming has many
First letís consider Sodium Hypochlorite.
Sodium Hypochlorite is a clear, slightly yellowish solution
with a characteristic odor. As
a disinfectant, Sodium Hypochlorite leaves residual chemical in
water just as Chlorine gas does (Lenntech, 2005).
Initial equipment installation is simple, as its use only
requires small metering pumps.
It is also important to understand that Sodium Hypochlorite
raises the pH of water (whereas Chlorine lowers pH).
However, Sodium Hypochlorite is difficult to effectively
meter due to off gassing and its general instability.
It is also a dangerous and corrosive substance.
While working with Sodium Hypochlorite, safety measures have
to be taken to protect workers and the environment.
Direct contact can burn the skin and because it is a strong
bleaching agent, clothing must be protected during handling. Sodium Hypochlorite should not come in contact with air,
because that will cause it to disintegrate (Lenntech, 2005). Additionally this liquid had just 12.5% Chlorine content,
which makes it a notably less efficient disinfectant. It is much more costly than Chlorine gas.
Sodium Hypochlorite also begins to weaken immediately and
continues to lose strength during storage (DEH, 2005).
This makes it difficult to achieve consistent residual
Calcium Hypochlorite is another chlorinating
chemical sued primarily in smaller poultry farms.
It is a white, dry solid containing approximately 65%
chlorine, and is commercially available in granular and tablet
forms. With respect to Sodium Hypochlorite, it is more stable
allowing longer storage and fewer training requirements. Its use involves fewer regulations than the use of gaseous
chlorine (Smorol, 2005). However,
precipitated solids formed in solution by Calcium Hypochlorite
complicate chemical feeding. Calcium
Hypochlorite is considerably more expensive than other disinfectant
chemicals and is also regarded as spontaneously combustible and
explosive (OSH, 2002).
Last, Idophor compounds because their low
toxicity, can be effective in food service or in food processing
applications (CMM, 2004). Idophors
are not affected by hard water, have a long shelf life and work well
in hot or cold water (Bishop, 1999(.
However, these compounds are more expensive than Chlorine
disinfection and to be effective, Idophors must normally be used in
an acid-type cleaning system (CMM, 2004).
The following table provides a quick comparison
of several chemical disinfection options.
Table 1: Comparison
of chlorine disinfection options.
|% Concentration by Weight of Available Chlorine
||.8% to 12.5%
|Quantity of Media Required
|Required Storage Space
|Safety Concerns (Chlorine gas is a skin and
mucous membrane irritant. Chlorine gassings can be the
result of a leak from a gas chlorine system or off gassing
from sodium hypochlorite liquid of the pre-disinfection
solution prepared by mixing water with calcium hypochlorite).
||Potential gas release
|Off gassing of Chlorine, especially from
Sensitive to heat and sunlight
|Off gassing of Chlorine
Heat and sunlight cause off gassing and degradation
|Decomposition (degradation of potency with time,
as dependent on conditions, while releasing chlorine gas).
||"Messy" application and residue
problems are common.
The chlorine application in a poultry farm should be
continuous as the water in the drinkers is constantly being
contaminated with feed, manure, mucus and saliva form the birds.
Uniform levels of continuous chlorination have proven to help
lower instances of disease, requiring less medication and lower
costs per pound of meant production (Hatt, 2002).
Chlorination is commonly used for drinking water at
concentrations of 3PPM. Concentrations
up to 10PPM have been reported to be well tolerated by chickens.
A 5 PPM residual is required for slime control (Jeffrey,
2005). However, initial
high Chlorine levels must be avoided, as this would cause birds to
cut back on water intake, resulting in lowered egg production.
In order to calculate which Hydro Instrumentís equipment is
appropriate for use, one should estimate the amount of water being
consumed by the poultry during each day.
Poultry drink a great deal of water.
During its lifetime, a 5-pound broiler will consumer more
than 18 pounds of water, compared to just 10 pounds of feed (Goan,
2005). Once the amount
of water required each day is estimated, divide down to gallons per
minute. Once you have
this flow estimate, the desired Chlorine level must be decided. With these two factors known, the estimate Chlorine feed rate
is easily calculated.
The following formulas are estimating the
Chlorine gas feed rate:
Gallons Per minute (GPM) x 0.012 x Parts Per Million (PPM)=
Pound Per Day (PPD) Chlorine gas feed
Liters Per minute (LPM) x 0.06 x Parts per Million (PPM)
= Gram Per hour (gr/hr) Chlorine gas feed
If it is determined that the average water flow rate will
be 90 GPM (341 L) and the desired Chlorine level is 3 PPM, the
formula would be:
90 x 0.012 x 3 = 3.2PPD
341 x 0.06 x 3 = 61 gr/hr
The importance of water in the poultry industry is often
quality water is directly proportional to the quality of birds
raised as waterís function include:
regulation of body temperature, transport of other nutrients
and taking part in numerous chemical reactions in the body (Ultra
Bio-Logics Inc). Standards
for animal drinking water indicate that there should be fewer than
100 bacteria of all types per milliliter (mL) of water
chlorination is the most reliable and effective way of controlling
microbial levels. Proper equipment and use will ensure the correct
amount of safe drinking water for healthy and strong poultry growth.
David Sanchez, June 2005
poultry Producers Association (APPPA)- Why Raise Pastured
Poultry? 2005-quoted online [Wednesday 6th July
Consultants (CPC)-Water Sanitation, 2005-quoted online
[Tuesday 5th July 2005]- http://www.canadianpoultry.ca/water_sanitation.htm
Maintenance Management (CMM)- A Disinfectants primer, 2004-quoted
online [Thursday 7th
July 2005]- http://www.cmmonline.com/NewsPrint.asp?print=1&mode=4&N_ID=22327&uniqueURL=340115142-2005-7-7-10-25-27
Division of Environmental Health Ė Water Chemistry for
Swimming Pools. Retrieved
Thursday 23rd from World Wide Web: http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/ehs.chem.htm
of Nipple Watering systems for broilers, 2005- quoted online
[Thursday 7th July 2005]- http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/pbfiles/pb1533.pdf
Chlorine as a Water Disinfection System for Poultry Farms Processing
Plants, Canadian Poultry Magazine, July 2002.
Hess, Jeremy- Copper-zinc
filtration offers new life to chickens, 1998 Ė quoted online
[Tuesday 5th July 2005]- http://www.watertechonline.com/article.asp?IndexID=5120326
Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)-Sanitizing Poultry Drinking
Water, 1998-quoted online [Wednesday 6th July 2005]- http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu/PDFS/CHAP06/D06-13.PDF
Hypochlorite, 2005-quoted online [Thursday 7th July
Water, Water Everywhere, But is it fit to drink? 1999-quoted
online [Tuesday 5th July 2005] http://www.antecint.co.uk/main/waters1.htm
Miles D M/Lott B D/Brandton
S L/Simmons JD-Development of a water stick to measure nipple
water flow rates, 2004-quoted online [Thursday 7th
July 2005]- http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4105/is_200407/ai_n9457902#continue
and Safety-Oxidizing Liquids and Solids-Hazards, 2002-quoted
online [Thursday 7th July 2005]- http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/oxidizing/oxiziding_hazards.html
Chlorine Disinfection Methods, 2005-quoted online [Thursday 7th
July 2005]- http://www.nyruralwater.org.aquafacts.winter2003/4.shtml
A. Carter-Drinking Water Quality for Poultry, 1996-quoted
online [Tuesday 5th July 2005]- http://www.bae.ncsu.edu.programs/extension/evans/ps&t-42.html
of Health (VDH)-A fact sheet of Coliform Bacteria in Water, 2005-quoted
online [Wednesday 6th July 2005]- http://www.healthyvermonters.info.hs/epi/idepi/coliform/coliform.shtml
Tsai Lee-Shinn/Higby Richard/Schade John-Disinfection
of Poultry Chiller Water with Chlorine Dioxide: Consumption and
Byproduct Formation, ERCO 2005-quoted online [Wednesday 6th