Corrosion can ruin your poultry watering equipment more quickly than anything else. Taking steps to prevent and reduce corrosion is an important management objective to keep replacement costs from eating too much of your bottom line.
Many producers regularly introduce chlorine and/or acidifiers into the watering system in an attempt to kill bacteria and viruses in the water. However, chlorine and acidifiers can damage the metal and plastic parts of the drinker
We know of one producer who had to replace every drinker in his poultry house twice in less than a year because his acidification program was too aggressive. That cost him about $4,000! Not good ROI.
Producers originally began using acidifiers because the acid reduces the pH in a bird’s crop, making the gut less hospitable to bacteria and improving the digestion of proteins in young birds. Producers then began using acidifiers as agents to clean the drinker lines and found that keeping the pH of the water below 7 acidifies the birds’ crops while also killing bacteria in the drinker line. Researchers also determined that chlorine used as a sanitizer is more effective when the water’s pH is between 6.0 and 6.8.
The problem, however, is that the chlorine with this kind of water acidity is corrosive to many elements of the watering system, causing the system to fail faster. Chlorine is also not very effective against bacteria and viruses lodged in biofilm, and cannot break up biofilm.
Ziggity recommends a properly formulated solution of hydrogen peroxide as a cleaning agent between flocks. Hydrogen peroxide can effectively scrub the components of the watering system of biofilm, allowing it to be flushed away during a high-pressure flush, while also killing microbes and pathogens in the water.
Ziggity recommends a schedule of high-pressure flushing more than once a day as a great non-chemical way of preventing biofilm formation and dispersing pathogens. This also flushes out the tepid, slow flowing water and replaces it with cooler water that is less hospitable to microorganism growth. Automated flushing systems reduce much of the labor involved in these procedures.
Today, many different chemicals may be used in poultry operations. Disinfectants that are not biodegradable are the most aggressive of these chemicals, and can harm the system as well as clean it. Before using such chemicals, an assessment of their impact on watering system components should be part of a cost-benefit analysis aimed at avoiding the kind of situation that the producer we mentioned experienced, while also maximizing the useful life of watering system components.