Effect of Cool Drinking Water on Production and Shell Quality of Laying Hens in Summer

  • Glatz, P.C. (Pig and Poultry Production Institute, South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Received : 2000.10.26
  • Accepted : 2001.01.16
  • Published : 2001.06.01


Feed intake, egg weight, rate of lay and shell quality characteristics were measured in an Australian tinted egg laying strain from 31-42 weeks of age, housed at $30^{\circ}C$ and provided drinking water at 5, 10, 17 and $30^{\circ}C$. In a second experiment a European brown egg laying strain (59-66 weeks of age) housed at $30^{\circ}C$ were provided drinking water at 5, 10, 15 and $30^{\circ}C$. Brown egg layers given cool drinking water (5, 10 and $15^{\circ}C$) consumed more (p<0.05) feed and produced significantly (p<0.05) thicker and heavier shells than hens given drinking water at ambient temperature ($30^{\circ}C$). However the tinted egg layers given chilled drinking water only consumed more (p<0.05) feed and produced thicker (p<0.05) and heavier (p<0.05) shells when consuming drinking water at $5^{\circ}C$. As the tinted egg layers acclimatised to the environmental temperature there was a decline in the influence of cool drinking water on feed intake and shell quality. For brown egg layers, however, cool drinking water resulted in an improvement (p<0.05) in feed intake and shell quality over the entire period birds were provided cool water. These studies suggest that there is potential for using cool drinking water to improve feed intake and shell quality of hens housed under hot conditions. The combination of high ambient temperature and high drinking water temperature, a common occurrence in Australian layer sheds, should be avoided.