Water is an essential part of the diet and largely determines animal health. After all, if drinking water is of good quality, animals also absorb more feed. Paul Verhoeven, an acid specialist at HyCare Pigs: "Acidifying drinking water ensures better water absorption because the acids make the water tastier. Pigs generally drink easily, and their water intake is not limited. That is a little different for chickens: they are more sensitive to taste, and if they drink too much water, they eat less.
Nick Paridaans, hygiene specialist at HyCare Poultry, explains the physical effect of acidified water: "By lowering the pH, we support and stimulate the protein digestion in the stomach. This causes fewer undigested proteins at the end of the intestines. The nutrients are also better absorbed. Animals grow better, and the feed conversion ratio decreases." Acid specialist Paul adds: "Young animals, in particular, are unable to produce enough stomach acid and enzymes themselves."
Protein residues in the gut are a food source for bacteria such as E.coli or enterococci: these are bacteria that animals need, but you need to control them. HyCare always opts for a balanced mix of organic acids. Each ingredient in the blend has a different function in the digestive system: at the stomach level, intestinal level (for example, against Clostridium), cell level, or at the overall resistance or defense mechanism. The acidified drinking water also contributes to total company hygiene and reduces infection pressure.
"If you do not use the acids in the right way, it will have the opposite effect," warns hygiene specialist Nick Paridaans. "Pipes need to be clean to be sure that no organisms can use acids as a feed to multiply. Before we start we look with special cameras into the pipes and regularly test the acidified drinking water," says Nick.
The composition and dosage also require a delicate touch. Nick: "We recommend digital pumps and only work with buffered solutions, at least one liter of solution per m³ drinking water. The more 'soldiers' you will add, the better the support and digestion. But the pH does not drop too quickly, which means we exclude risks such as crop burns in poultry. A drop test to determine the best dosage level is necessary."
Different acid mixtures are available, and of course, HyCare takes into account the wishes and challenges of every entrepreneur, animal species, and breed. A bespoke company plan looks at critical periods, such as the starting phase in broilers. Acid specialist Paul Verhoeven: "We currently work on the Pig Performance Program. We look at the life cycle of pigs and try to exert influence at specific moments. As a result, we see that acid use is increasingly becoming a customized solution per customer. We see that it is worthwhile for young piglets to intervene with acids at an early stage. Because piglets drink much more than they eat. Especially in stress situations, piglets will drink rather than they eat, that’s why the effect is also more significant."
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