The quality of drinking water for poultry and its effect on performance have been of concern to poultry producers for many years. Water makes up a large proportion of the body of the chicken, from 55% to 75%, therefore it is essential for life. Chickens are able to survive much longer without feed than without water. A rule of thumb for water is that the bird consumes from 1.5 to 2 times as much water as it does feed. Therefore, it is expected that deviation in water contents will affect broiler performance more than its occurrence in feed contents. The drinking water standards used most widely for poultry are very similar to the standards for public water systems. Even at levels apparently safe for poultry, previous research has shown that various substances found in drinking water can have a negative impact on performance. It is reported that the poor drinking water quality of commercial broiler farms negatively affected performance.
Quality of surface and ground water depends upon the naturally occurring inclusions such as cations, anions, heavy metals and microorganisms. However, there is a limited research and variable data on poultry drinking water-quality standards of this region. The main source of drinking water for humans as well as animals, by and large, is open wells or tube wells. The drinking water quality is important; however, this nutrient has received little attention.
In this direction, water sanitizer specifically effective against E.coli, fungus, algae and pathogens in drinking water and acidifier (pH-A) ideal acidifier of drinking water.
The day old Marek's disease vaccinated commercial broiler birds (n = 150, Vencob) were equally divided into five groups of thirty birds each. Birds in Group-I were offered ad libitum plain RO water, which served as control group. Birds in Group-II, III, IV and V were offered ad libitum water from open well and bore well with or without acidifier and sanitizer, which served as treatment groups. The birds of all the five groups were housed separately and maintained on ad libitum broiler starter and finisher ration throughout the experiment.
The water samples from all the treatment groups were observed for appearance, color, odor, turbidity and taste. The acidity or alkalinity of the water samples from all the treatment groups were measured using pH meter in the form of pH. The water samples from all the treatment groups were subjected for hardness test using standard method and for MPN index for E. coli count. The standard bacteriological method was followed for all the samples under same conditions. The presterilized double and single strength MacConkey Broth was inoculated with respective water samples and production of acid and gas was recorded after 12 and 24 hr. The maximum probable number was determined using standard chart.
Feed intake, body weight gain and FCR values in birds were recorded at weekly intervals. Six birds from each group were sacrificed at the end of the experimental trial to study the hematological changes, serum biochemical levels, relative organ weights, carcass and meat quality traits. The data obtained on various parameters studied during this experimental trial were subjected to statistical analysis as described by Snedecor and Cochran (1994).
The treatment with acidifier and sanitizers has found to reduce the pH and MPN index of well and bore water and were comparable with RO water. The water hardness was also tend to decrease in the treated groups. The other water quality parameters viz., appearance, color, odor and turbidity tested during this study did not show significant variation among different groups.
During the first week the birds given water treated with acidifier and sanitizer grew better than the birds given untreated water. From second week onwards the birds given treated drinking water showed increasing trend with regard to the live body weight in comparison to untreated water supplied groups. At sixth week of age, the birds offered well water treated with acidifier and sanitizer recorded highest body weight followed by RO water given birds. The bore well water treated with acidifier and sanitizer also showed improvement in live body weight (1629g) as compared to untreated bore well water given birds (1570g). However, the difference was statistically non-significant. The data on the live body weight clearly indicated that the treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer results in improvement in live body weight in broiler chickens.
The cumulative feed intake at third week of age was higher in the group offered untreated water as compared to birds offered water treated with acidifier and sanitizer and RO water. At sixth week of age the cumulative feed intake was higher in the group offered well water treated with acidifier and sanitizer followed by untreated bore water, well water, bore water treated with acidifier and sanitizer and RO water.
In general, no significant difference was observed in daily water intake per bird among the groups offered well water and bore water with or without treatment with acidifier and sanitizer.
The results indicated that the birds given water treated with acidifier and sanitizer utilized feed more efficiently than the birds given untreated water. At sixth week of age the cumulative feed conversion ratio was better in the birds given treated water. Better feed conversion ratio was evident throughout the study in the groups offered water treated with acidifier and sanitizer. The feed conversion ratios in these groups were comparable to the group offered RO water. The results indicated that the water treatment with acidifier and sanitizer proved beneficial in regard to feed conversion ratio.
Similar trend as in feed conversion ratio was also observed for protein efficiency ratio. The treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer was found to be beneficial to improve the protein utilization efficiency throughout the study.
The broiler performance efficiency index was 99.74 and 91.78 in groups offered open well or bore well water treated with acidifier and sanitizer in comparison to 83.58 and 79.67 in groups offered untreated open well and bore well water, respectively. Improvement in the performance efficiency index was evident due to treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer. The performance efficiency index in group offered RO water was 91.17 which was comparable with the birds given treated water.
The results of the present study revealed that the serum antibody titers of vaccinated broiler birds tended to increase in the groups offered acidifier and sanitizer treated water, both in well and bore water. This indicates that the treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer used in this study may be helpful in boosting antibody mediated immune response.
The treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer was effective in reducing the feed cost of broiler production expressed in terms of rupees per kg live weight or per kg edible meat yield. The feed cost per kg live weight due to water treatment was reduced by Rs. 2.26 and Rs. 3.22 in well and bore well water, respectively. The corresponding reduction in the feed cost per kg edible meat yield due to water treatment was Rs. 3.10 and Rs. 3.65 in well and bore well water, respectively.
Significantly higher values for hemoglobin were recorded in groups offered water treated with acidifier and sanitizer as compared to the birds given untreated water. The birds offered RO water also showed higher values for hemoglobin which were comparable to the birds given treated water.
Similar trend as in hemoglobin was also evident for PCV. Data indicated that PCV values were improved in birds offered water treated with acidifier and sanitizer than the values in birds of control group. Treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer to the birds had beneficial effects on PCV values.
Data indicated that there was overall improvement in serum level of total protein in birds treated with acidifier and sanitizer when compared to the values of untreated group, indicating beneficial effects of addition of acidifier and sanitizer in water. Better feed utilization efficiency and improved weight gain observed in these groups in this study, supports the present finding.
The values of serum albumin in birds of group offered treated well water with were higher than the values in birds of all groups. Thus, the data indicates that the treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer has beneficial effects.
Serum levels of creatinine among birds of all groups differ significantly. Birds offered treated water had significantly lower creatinine level. However, all values fall within the normal.
It is observed that serum cholesterol, calcium and uric acid levels in all the five experimental groups did not differ significantly from each other. Addition of acidifier and sanitizer at recommended doses had no significant effect on these parameters.
Higher serum glucose levels were observed in the birds offered bore well water treated with acidifier and sanitizer in comparison to all other groups. Treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer numerically increased the serum glucose levels in comparison to birds given untreated water
The relative organ weights expressed as percent of live body weight remained unchanged in different treatment groups. However, the relative weight of liver, gizzard and proventriculus were numerically higher in treated bore well water given birds as compared to untreated water given birds. But, no definite trend could be observed.
The carcass traits such as percent blood loss, eviscerated yield, dressing yield and giblet yield considered under the present study did not differ significantly in different treatment groups. The giblet yield was numerically higher in groups offered water treated with acidifier and sanitizer as compared the birds given untreated water.
The percent cut up parts also did not vary significantly among different treatment groups. The treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer did not influence the percent cut up parts in the present study.
From the data it is observed that the scores varied significantly among different groups for flavor of the cooked broiler meat. The treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer found to improve the flavor of the cooked broiler meat over the untreated water given birds. The birds offered RO water score showed comparable for the flavor of cooked meat. However, values of scores of other sensory parameters were at par with each other in all the experimental groups. There was no significant mortality among all the groups throughout the study period.
On the basis of the results of the present study following conclusions could be drown:
1) There was reduction in feed consumption, increased live body weights and improved FCR in birds offered water treated with acidifier and sanitizer.
2) The results suggested that the treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer used in this study may be helpful in boosting antibody mediated immune response.
3) The treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer was effective in reducing the feed cost of broiler production expressed in terms of cost per kg live weight gain or per kg edible meat yield.
4) The per cent hemoglobin and PCV values were significantly higher in birds offered treated water indicating beneficial effects of acidifier and sanitizer in broilers.
5) The giblet yield was numerically higher in birds of given water treated with acidifier and sanitizer.
6) There was improvement in the sensory quality of cooked broiler meat such as flavor of cooked broiler meat in groups offered treated water.
7) Thus, the results indicated that the treatment of water with acidifier and sanitizer used at dose rate of 0.01% found to improve the overall performance of broiler chickens.