How important water quality is to laying hens

Crediton Milling was founded in 1964 to supply local farmers with animal feed. The business then continued to expand through the 60s and 70s and now into 2020. The mill at Fordton produces conventional feeds and is classed as a ‘clean mill’ with no antibiotics allowed on site. A wide variety of feeds can be supplied, including mash, pellets and crumb; of which can all be specifically tailored to each producers’ needs.

Poultry Team

The Poultry team has recently grown – Russell Crang, Will White and Harriet Smith. Both Russell and Will have extensive knowledge in the poultry industry, each also keeping poultry on their own farms. Harriet, who is also from a farming background, has recently joined from Alltech where she was specialising in gut health and shell quality.

As a result, the poultry team at Crediton are able to offer producers a quality ‘on-farm’ service. Working with producers closely means that farmers can obtain optimum results. The bond between producer and feed representative is key. The feed specialists at Crediton Milling are not only available to advise on the correct feed and rations but are also able to help with health issues during problem periods, and are able to advise when veterinary attention is necessary.

Good husbandry with hens

Focusing on good husbandry, feed, water and ventilation are just a few key areas which will help to produce a good pullet and laying hen. These are also just a few things in which Crediton Milling can support producers.

The rearing period is vital. Good poultry rearing involves more than just correct feeding, however. Husbandry is also key, and if you can understand that all-important factor you will find that it goes a long way to getting the correct performance from each new flock of birds. It is beneficial to maintain good communication with the rearer as the birds develop. Continuing on from the rearing period, it is important that the birds are fed the correct rations and are monitored closely. One of the CMC specialists will weigh the birds every 7-10 days up to peak body weight to ensure the birds reach their full potential. Our specialists are always on hand to oversee the flock during lay.

Water quality crucial for laying hens

Water quality is also crucial to a flock of laying hens performing to their best genetic potential. Poor quality water can be the cause of many unexplained health problems in birds. Water is involved in every aspect of a chicken’s metabolism and plays a very important role in regulating body temperature, digesting feed and eliminating waste from the body.

Water can often be taken for granted, although it is probably one of the most important nutrients; it represents about 70% of total body weight. It also makes up approximately 76% of an egg. As a result, access to water and good quality water is key. Hens will be more sensitive to lack of water than lack of feed. Water in the crop softens the feed so that digestion can occur. Without the water, feed will form lumps in the crop, pressing on the carotid artery and potentially decreasing blood flow to the brain. A split in the upper hard palate of the beak allows air into the nasal passage to prevent the hen from forming a vacuum in its mouth. Therefore, hens rely on gravity to draw water into the crop.

To conclude, therefore, the focus must be on ventilation and air quality, feed, water and husbandry; all of which the Crediton specialists can assist with.