Sunday, August 19, 2012

How To Increase Your Chickens Egg Production With Cool Water


A fresh supply of clean water is critical to maintaining a flock’s health and their ability to lay eggs.  This is particularly true during the summer months when chickens require additional water to regulate their body temperature and ward off heat stress.

 The below table shows the impact of increasing environmental temperatures on chickens.

Temperature (°F)
Impact1
52 - 79
Normal production.
79 - 82
Reduced feeding.
82 - 90
Lower food and water intake. Reduced eggs/thinner shells.
90 - 95
Onset of panting.
95 - 104
Birds experience heat stress.
+104
Temperature can cause death.

Water Temperature & Egg Production

The importance of a plentiful supply of water is well understood by most backyard chicken owners.  What is less well known is that the temperature of the water supply can also have an impact on a chicken’s water consumption and, importantly, on the quantity of eggs it lays.

Research done on White Leghorn hens2 compared the performance of chickens given water at 95º Fahrenheit (33º C) and those provided with water that had been cooled to water 36º Fahrenheit (2º C).  The chickens given cool water produced 15% more eggs than those given warmer water. 
A similar study3 conducted on Hy-line Brown hens, showed that the cool water positively impacted egg production, even when the differences in temperature were less extreme.  In this second study, one group of birds was given water at 73º F (23º C) and the second at 61º F (16º C).  The study showed that the group receiving cool water produced 8% more eggs than those given warmer water.



Advice for Backyard Flock Owners

Hens that are given ample supplies of cool water produce more eggs.  This suggests that backyard flock owners can improve their egg yields during the summer by taking a few steps to ensure that their birds have a plentiful supply of cool water.  Here are some simple strategies for providing birds with cool water:
  • Fill your chicken waterer with cold water in the morning.  If you have the option, re-fill with fresh clean water in the afternoon.
  • Place your waterer in a shaded area to prevent sunlight from increasing the water temperature.
  • Consider adding a few ice cubes to the water on days when the temperature is especially hot.
  • If using poultry nipples to dispense water to your flock, use an insulated water vessel such as a commercial cooler as a reservoir.


Posting sponsored by ChickenWaterer.com, makers of the BriteTap automatic poultry waterer. The BriteTap waterer shields water from dirt and poop. The water stays clean and there are no messy pans for you to wash out.

 Sources:
1Kekeocha (1985) Poultry production handbook as cited in in the Corporate Document Repository of the Food & Agricultural Organization of The United Nations.
Leeson & Summers (1975) as cited in Commercial Meat & Egg Production by D. Bell, W. D. Veaver and M. O. North.
Gutierrez, Min & Chang, Effects of Chilled Drinking Water on Performance of Laying Hens during Constant High Ambient Temperature from the Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Science (May 2009). 


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