Industry best practice manual for water quality management and sterilisation on-farm

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Water temperature

Performance goal: To maintain the water temperature at an acceptable range that doesn’t affect broiler performance.
Description: Meat chickens dislike hot drinking water which can affect their performance (see Table 24 below).

Many meat chicken sheds automatically flush water distribution lines when the water temperature goes above >30°C.

Usually, there is additional piping to remove the flush water from the shed, so litter is not affected. This can significantly increase water usage.

Additionally, hot water will increase chlorine demand and can increase microbe growth.
Performance criteria: Water temperature is maintained in optimal range.

Best practice temperature range: 18–21°C

Maximum acceptable temperature: <30°C
Minimum requirements
Water lines are flushed when the water temperature is >30°C.
There is additional piping to remove flush water from the shed.
Best practice options
Automated temperature monitoring system.
Header tanks are shaded, underground or inside sheds to reduce average water temperature and flushing events.

If header tanks are inside sheds, their location does not negatively change airflow patterns.
Header tanks are a light colour to reflect some heat.

Other information

Table 24. Effect of water temperature on water intake (reproduced from Ross, 2018)

Water temperatureEffect on water intake
Less than 5°CToo cold, reduced water intake
Greater than 30°CToo warm, reduced water intake
Above 44°CBirds refuse to drink
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