Water line management has two separate objectives: maintenance and sanitation of the drinker system (managing the drinkers), and use of the drinker system to deliver water soluble products to the birds for purposes such as crop acidification (managing the birds). Maintenance and sanitation of the drinker system is mostly performed while the house is empty and then again any time the water system is used to deliver a product such as vitamins and electrolytes or vaccines.
Water sanitation is used to clean up dirty delivery systems and dirty water—both of which will influence the development of bio-film in the drinker system. While the house is empty, the focus is on removing the mineral scale build-up from the drinkers that forms the scaffolding for bio-film formation. This also helps to remove the nutrients from the line that the bacterial bio-film feeds on. Once the mineral scale is removed with a strong acid such as feed-grade sodium bisulfate LS-PWT2,then sanitizers can be used to reduce bacterial bio-film formation. Just as in cleaning and disinfecting a house, the goal is to clean first and then sanitize.
Cleaning Water Lines
The best products to use to clean and sanitize the drinker system while the house is empty are a strong acid or oxidizer. The drinker lines should be charged with the product to make sure that the entire system is in contact with the de-scaler and cleaner. If a strong de-scaler such as sodium bisulfate has not been used before, then it’s best to let the product sit in the lines about 8 hours prior to flushing.
Once the lines have been cleaned on a regular basis, the cleaners can be left in the lines for up to 24 hours. When soaking time is over:
- Flush the lines with a high pressure flush to remove all of the debris that has been loosened from the sides of the water system.
- Be sure to get around 40-50 gallons of clean water from each line before discontinuing flushing. Debris in the line tends to break loose intermittently and it’s important to remove all of it from the line by thorough flushing. If the flushing is discontinued prematurely, the loose debris can cause drinkers to leak or clog.
- Once the lines are thoroughly clean, then they can be sanitized. Always be sure to follow all labeled directions.
If vitamins, electrolytes, powdered milk or glucose based products are run through the drinker lines while birds are in the house, then 1-2 packs of a mineral acid such as LS-PWT2 (sodium bisulfate) should be run through the medicator to remove the nutrients from the water lines to reduce bio-film formation.
The use of water acidification is also important if a water chlorination program is in effect on the farm. Because chlorine efficacy is greatly reduced when the pH of the drinking water is above 6.0, acids should be used to maintain water pH at a level of 4.5-5.5 to enhance chlorine activity. Not doing so invalidates the effectiveness of the chlorination program particularly in times of high water demand.