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Principle #11 - Water Supply

By Abby Neu
Extension Educator, Poultry | (320) 235 - 0726 x 2019
And Hannah Lochner
Extension Livestock Communications Intern

*Please note any templates or resources that can help you, can be found in a Google Drive folder, available to everyone. Bookmark the site: for easy access. If a resource is referenced in a post, it is linked directly to the Google Drive.

Despite its various purposes, your farms source of water determines the level of disease risk associated with it. In addition to providing a drinking source for your flocks, you use water regularly for cleaning and possibly evaporative cooling. Water can play a large role in the spread of disease if not properly managed.

First of all, it is most important to include in your biosecurity plan the source of your water. Is it from a private well, municipal or surface water? For the majority of our Minnesota farms, you have a well or municipal supply, which can be treated. If such is the case, the rest of the audit for this particular principle is simple.

If you rely on surface waters for any part of your farm management, there are further actions that need to be taken and documented to prove your mitigate disease risk on a regular basis. Surface waters can contain a variety of microorganisms introduced by the environment.

As a result, you need to treat the surface water prior to its use within the poultry house. Supporting documentation to define disinfecting protocol should be provided and could include treatment plans or invoices for cleaning chemicals and equipment.Contained water sources such as wells or municipal system are preferred to control microorganism populations in water and to avoid additional treatment protocol and costs. Regardless of the source it is still important to test the water routinely to ensure its safety.
In your biosecurity plan, include your water source and whether or not a water treatment plan is currently followed. If a water treatment plan is not practiced on your farm, do you have a risk analysis set in place to mitigate associated disease risk? The Biosecurity Coordinator should provide evidence that a risk analysis of an untreated system is in place demonstrating steps to mitigate disease risk. Risk assessments do not need to be peer-reviewed or professionally written or executed, but should thoroughly consider water management practices.

By evaluating and documenting the water management plan on your farm you can identify the different risks associated with each system and review the best practice for your farm. Employing biosecure water management on your farm can improve your flock’s health and reduce disease risk.

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