F Water

A nutritional factor often overlooked during heat stress is the metabolism of water. It is well known that birds in hot environments drink more water, yet this has not been capitalized upon to any degree. Table 4.19 shows the water balance of layers held at 22°C or 35°C.

Table 4.19 Water balance of layers at 22°C or 35°C (ml/bird/day) "



Water intake



Manure water



Egg water



Respiration water



Layers will drink at least 50% more water at 35 vs. 22°C. If such adaptation is not seen, then it likely relates to birds not being able to consume sufficient quantities of water at times of peak need. Figure 4.8 shows the daily pattern of water intake of layers when lights are on from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. There is a doubling of water intake in the last 3 hours of the day, compared to all previous times, and so the water system must be able to accommodate this demand, especially in hot weather conditions.

Since water intake is often increased at times when feed intake is decreased, it would be logical to try and provide limiting nutrients in the water. However, this concept has met with only limited success, possibly related to change in 'taste' of the water and/or the nutrients stimulating bacterial growth in the water lines. However there are always positive results seen when the drinking water is cooled. Feed intake can be stimulated as much as 10% by cooling the water 5 to 8°C when environmental temperature is around 30 - 32°C. Although this management practice is relatively easy to achieve under experimental conditions, it is a much more complex engineering problem with large commercial flocks.

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