Implementing a hatchery water treatment system is crucial to poultry health

Dr. Mueez Ahmad

Technical services veterinarian for poultry

Neogen Corporation


Contaminated processing water can cause severe bacterial or fungal problems in the modern hatcheries.

These facilities, where poultry eggs are hatched, consume thousands of gallons of water each month. Hatchery water quality usually is measured to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) potable water standard, which is based on human health parameters. Given this, EPA regulatory standards don’t address certain microbes present in drinking water as there is no correlation with human health. However, recent hatchery water testing data indicates the presence of high total bacteria, yeast and mold counts that poses significant risks to poultry health.  These microorganisms of concern, such as Pseudomonas, Acentobacter, Proteus, and yeast and molds, in the water eventually reach hatching eggs and chicks via humidification and environmental fogging systems.

This type of contamination causes severe problems in embryos. A significant loss of hatchability due to embryo contamination and naval infection, as well as an increase in first week mortality, typically is associated with bacterial cross contamination that occurs during the incubation and hatching period. However, the extensive use of a disinfection program in the hatchery environment can have a great impact in reducing contamination. Still, many hatcheries overlook persistent waterborne contamination, which enters the hatchery through partially treated water. This water can affect all phases of incubation and become a bacterial carrier.

It is critical to redefine hatchery water sanitation criteria based on hatching eggs, embryo and chick contamination.

Following a hatchery water decontamination program specifically designed to reduce and eliminate waterborne microbial contamination in humidification and fogging water distribution systems can significantly reduce the impact of microorganisms. Incoming water can be treated with a stabilized chlorine dioxide, such as Anthium Dioxcide. Hatchery processing water treatment system can use either have unactivated or activated Anthium Dioxcide depending upon severity of contamination. Typically, 5 parts per million (ppm) to 11 ppm can be used as an inactivated Anthium application. A level of 1 to 5 ppm of chlorine dioxide can be used in an activated form of Anthium Dioxcide.  Remember, consult with your veterinarian to discuss appropriate water treatment options.

For information on Anthium Dioxcide, click here.

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