Heads-Up Drinking™

Big Z: Why It Works


In order for birds to drink water efficiently and without spillage, a drinker line needs to be set to a height where the birds can employ Heads-Up Drinking™.


Heads-Up Drinking™ occurs when a bird activates the drinker by reaching towards the drinker at the proper angle, allowing gravity to pull the water into its crop. If the line height is too low, the bird is forced to activate the drinker from the side, causing water to spill on the litter or slats and delivering less water to the bird.

This poses a unique problem for broiler breeder operations. Male and female birds are very different heights. With the line heights set to the proper height for females, males activate the drinkers at the wrong angle. This leads to wet litter and slats, ammonia release, poor environmental conditions and ultimately, lower hatchability.


That’s why Ziggity developed the Big Z system with gender-specific drinker lines.


With drinker lines managed at two different heights (for males and females), each bird can drink at the optimal angle and without water spillage.


Additionally, Ziggity’s special shielded drinker prevents males from activating the lower female drinkers at the incorrect angle. Once again, this prevents water spillage.


Big Z Shielded Drinker

The benefits are clear. Using a Big Z system eliminates water spillage and leads to dry litter, dry feathering and reduced ammonia release.


And best of all: the Big Z system is designed to be used without a catch cup. Oftentimes, poorly designed drinkers are sold with a catch cup in an attempt to catch dripping water. But a catch cup also serves as a reservoir for harmful coliform and bacteria, such as E.Coli. When the birds inevitably drink from these cups, their health can be significantly compromised. With a clean water supply, Big Z drinkers only deliver hygienic, potable water to the birds’ beaks.


So we put the Big Z system to the test. In a long-term field test, Ziggity outperformed the broiler breeder industry’s most commonly used watering system (i.e. a catch cup system in which males and females shared the same drinker line).  The results were impressive, measurable and replicable. Our findings are as follows:


  • • Enhanced male uniformity
  • • Reduced male spiking
  • • Increased water intake by the birds
  • • Virtually no spillage and thus maintaining dry litter and slats
  • • More hatching eggs per hen housed


The combination of Heads-Up Drinking™ and not using catch cups eliminates birds’ exposure to both ammonia release and harmful bacteria. This leads to increased bird welfare AND performance. For the best results possible, choose Big Z for your broiler-breeder operation.

For more detailed information and data regarding the field-test and catch cup bacterial load tests, please complete the form below.


Download Big Z Broiler Breeders literature here.