Tom Tabler discusses poultry litter and water quality

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April 12, 2017
How often one should one change litter?
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April 12, 2017
How often should one change litter in one cycle .
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April 13, 2017

Changing litter depends on the situation. In Mississippi, poultry growers go for years and never change the litter unless there is a disease problem or other issue that may require changing it. Growers remove a certain amount of litter when it gets too deep in the house and then even back out what remains and keep growing birds. Some growers have gone 8-10 years and never totally cleaned out to the floor and replaced litter with new bedding. In Arkansas, where I grew up, many growers clean out to the floor once each year and replace the old litter with new bedding material (pine shavings, rice hulls, etc.). So again, it depends on the situation and what the company that owns the birds is asking of their contract growers.

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Joshua Jendza Joshua Jendza
Animal Nutritionist
April 17, 2017
Regarding water quality testing. Do you test water pH and/or hardness, and can you give us a picture of the normal ranges you see in the samples you collect?
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April 17, 2017
I usually do have the water tested for pH. I like to see somewhere around 6.2-6.8 for the pH of drinking water for chickens but I have seen anywhere from 3.5-9 at one time or another depending on the location, aquifer, etc. I think 6.5-7.8 is considered average for poultry drinking water. I usually don't test for hardness per se for I get calcium and magnesium in the mineral package I ask for and I add the 2 together to get an idea of hardness. I think the maximum acceptable level for hardness for poultry drinking water is around 110 mg/liter. I send a lot of water samples to the University of Arkansas water quality lab. They have a pretty decent mineral package they will run for a reasonable price and the turnaround time is pretty good.
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Dr. Mohammad Akram Dr. Mohammad Akram
Consultant Microbiologist
April 20, 2017
Dear Mr. Tom Tabler,
Thanks for giving knowledgeable information on litter & water.
Keeping 3% solution of H2O2 overnight in water lines
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Dr. Mohammad Akram Dr. Mohammad Akram
Consultant Microbiologist
April 20, 2017
Dear Mr. Tom Tabler,

Thanks for giving knowledgeable information on litter &water.

Keeping 3% solution of H2O2 overnight in water lines, particularly in nipple lines is working very well to remove biofilm at the time of terminal cleaning of poultry house. Kindly recommend the % of H2O2 for regular cleaning of water lines in the presence of birds after medication etc.

Best regards
Dr. M. Akram, Consultant Microbiologist
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April 20, 2017
A 3% solution of H2O2 products between flocks usually works well to help remove biofilm. With birds in the house, this is what I usually do.....add 8 ounces of H2O2 product to 5 gallons of water to make a stock solution; drop the medicator hose into this stock solution; medicate this solution into the water system at the dosing rate of 1 ounce per gallon or 1:128. I would do this for the first 2-3 weeks of the flock and maybe for 1 week after any other products (vitamins, electrolytes, etc.) are run to remove any possible leftover bacterial food source residue inside the water lines. Hope this helps.
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Kavishti Kokaram Kavishti Kokaram
Owner Veterinarian at Lander Vet Clinic
April 20, 2017
Regarding water quality and biofilm management; what are your thoughts on chlorine dioxide vs H2O2?
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April 20, 2017

Thank you so much for such detailed information.

I am from Zimbabwe, where grass is commonly used by farmers as litter, however, it has been observed that when litter is not changed in a single scale high morality rate is experienced, what could be the cause of high mortality rate.

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April 20, 2017
Chlorine dioxide works well against biofilms. However, most poultry growers are more familiar with H2O2 and understand it better. Also, H2O2 is less dangerous and more readily available where most growers buy their sanitation/disinfection products. However, chlorine dioxide does a very good job....you just have to be more careful with it and it is harder to find at the local poultry supply or other local store where most growers buy their materials.
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Sataluri Satagopa Raja Ayyangar Sataluri Satagopa Raja Ayyangar
B .Sc ( Mathematics , Physics and Chemistry ) ; P G Diploma in Environmental Studies ; P G Diploma in Industrial Pollution Management ; Industrial Chemistry ( B I E T )
April 20, 2017

The bed material instead of rice husk, grass, etc., it is better to collect Rice Husk Ash or bagasse Ash and put on the ground and allow litter to be collected. To prevent the birds from diseases, it is better to remove occasionally with the above materials. Husk ash acts as semi-activated carbon absorbs foul odours, moisture and prevent ammonia smell.

Regarding water purification, don't use chlorine based chemicals as they destroy both useful and harmful bacteria. The immune power will be affected.

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April 23, 2017
Hi Mr. Tabler:

What do you recommend for effective water sanitation in poultry houses. We are on a water sanitation program with our customers and we use NaDCC in effervescent tablet form for water sanitation. Do you have any organic alternative suggestion for this?

Regards,

AR Baldovino
CEO
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April 24, 2017
Chlorine bleach is probably the most common poultry water sanitizer used in the U.S. It is reasonably inexpensive and easily obtained and handled. However, the presence of a biofilm or organic matter will challenge its effectiveness. NaDCC is a good alternative to bleach. NaDCC tablets are popular with hikers and backpackers and outdoor adventurers as well as in emergency water treatment situations....less so with poultry growers here because bleach is less expensive. If a biofilm in the water lines is a concern, many growers use a stabilized, concentrated hydrogen peroxide product. You will likely need a strong oxidizer to cut the biofilm loose. Chlorine alone will not be strong enough. Some growers have run iodine in the past. Inorganic iodine is a more effective disinfectant than organic iodine. However, iodine requires a higher dosing level to achieve the same effect as chlorine. Many growers in the U.S. today use gas chlorination systems. Gas chlorination is more expensive (and more dangerous) than chlorine bleach but it does a very good job.
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Sataluri Satagopa Raja Ayyangar Sataluri Satagopa Raja Ayyangar
B .Sc ( Mathematics , Physics and Chemistry ) ; P G Diploma in Environmental Studies ; P G Diploma in Industrial Pollution Management ; Industrial Chemistry ( B I E T )
April 24, 2017
Instead of following echo dangerous things ,it is better to update echo free methods which will not disturb the immune system .By following synthetic chemicals and antibiotics till now Environment disturbed and we are facing diseases ..Everybody should try alternatives and lot of research is to be done in view of future generations . Chlorinated phenol and chlorinated amine may be formed by chlorinating drinking water which are carcinogenic may be present.
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April 24, 2017
Hi Tom:

Thank you for the insights. All the best!

Regards
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Andrew Sivaram Andrew Sivaram
Animal Nutritionist
April 25, 2017
Dear Khaliphani,

I have had a few cases where the litter from the previous flock could not be removed fast enough from the barns before the next batch of chicks arrived and stocked. We observed that such chicks would easily get infected with Infectious Bursal Disease (Gumboro) virus. Beside IBD, other resistant viruses which can persist in the litter are Reovirus and Adenovirus. All these viruses are very immunosuppressive and may contribute to the elevated mortality that you experience.
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Andrew Sivaram Andrew Sivaram
Animal Nutritionist
April 25, 2017
Dear AR Baldovino,

Ozone gas can be a suitable alternative. There are companies that specialise in manufacturing and installing ozone generating machines for water sterilisation as required by food companies and other industries. It may be pretty expensive but this should ensure that you don't get any unwanted chemical residues in your system.
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G P G P
General Manager
April 25, 2017
Ozone is successfully being used for sanitising bird drinking water as well as maintaining biofilm free drinking lines in Australian farms....my company has been providing such systems for many years and the cost is not prohibitive when installed correctly.
Reply
Andrew Sivaram Andrew Sivaram
Animal Nutritionist
May 2, 2017
Dear GP,

Can you send me more details about your ozone water treatment system? My e-mail is andguy2388@yahoo.com
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