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Reducing Dependence on Antibiotics for Poultry

02 June 2013

Keeping water lines free of biofilms can help keep birds healthy without the need for antibiotics and the associated concerns over antibiotic resistance. Stuart Lumb reports for ThePoultrySite.

Speaking recently at an Asian seminar which was focussing on the growing and worrying concerns about antibiotic usage, Jan Van Geest of Dutch company, Intracare, highlighted aspects of water quality for birds plus the vital importance of clean watering systems and pipelines, emphasising the fact that biofilm in pipes and tanks seriously reduces the efficacy of antibiotics. Hence more antibiotics have to be used than when watering systems are free of biofilm contamination.

Jan van Geest speaking in Bangkok

Checking water quality in the mains or in the tank is all very well, but it’s the water quality in the nipples or at the end of the line which is obviously more important.

Contaminated water has a bad taste and smell, resulting in less water being consumed by birds. This means birds’ intake of antibiotics and vaccines will be below the required levels. Ironically, biofilm absorbs antibiotics and vaccines and the biofilm build-up reduces the bore width of the pipes, thereby reducing flow rate.

Chlorine is used as a disinfectant but it will not remove biofilm. Hydrogen peroxide is a good cleanser but has to be used at high levels to be effective. Incidentally, a new EU Biocidal Products Directive came into force on 1 January 2013, with one section directly relating to drinking water.

The importance of clean drinking water was highlighted in trials carried out by a large Russian integrator, when it was found that clean water at the nipple resulted in a reduction of 18 per cent in antibiotic provision. In another trial, it was found that the efficacy of Baytril was reduced by 26 per cent due to reaction with biofilm.

Intracare promotes Intra Hydrocare as a biodegradable cleansing agent.

June 2013

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