Comparison of Water Lines and Water Troughs: Effects on Gut Microbiology and Water contamination

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Aaron Best and Dr. Gregory Fraley

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Controversy has developed over the last few years as to whether or not water nipple lines or water troughs are more appropriate for Pekin ducks in grow-out commercial barns. We hypothesized that duck caecal samples and water samples from barns utilizing a water trough delivery system would contain a larger diversity of bacterial, and potentially more harmful bacteria. We also hypothesized that duck health, as reflected by caecal composition, would be significantly different in water trough conditions compared to water lines. Ducks were divided into 4 pens per barn (n = 1000 ducks/pen), with each barn containing a different water delivery system. Water samples were taken every three days and duck caecal samples were collected on days 5, 21, and 33. It was found that ducks in water line conditions did not have significantly different caecal compositions from ducks in water trough conditions, and water sample compositions did not significantly affect ducks in either treatment. Water samples from each delivery system were significantly different from one another throughout the grow-out time period. The amount of bacterial diversity in water trough conditions was much higher than in water line conditions. Water troughs also contained an increased number of possibly pathogenic bacteria that may be harmful to both humans and ducks..


This research was supported by Maple Leaf Farms, Inc.

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