Food and water consumption are closely correlated, as birds will not consume one without the other. A decline in either of these parameters can dictate health and performance issues within a flock, so being able to monitor these factors accurately and frequently can significantly benefit producers to optimise performance and growth.

Suzy Ackerley, veterinary adviser at Poultry Sense, says with every single day crucial in the life of a broiler bird, it’s vital any health issues, no matter how subtle, are quickly detected before a significant impact on bird performance is seen. To do this environmental and health parameters need to be monitored regularly.

“It can be difficult to identify when chickens are suffering from health issues meaning, early indicators of disease can be easily missed. Detecting a sudden change in feed and water intakes is one way to highlight a shift in bird health.

“Water and feed consumption tend to increase in-line with weight gain. Each breed tends to follow a trend line for each parameter that is being monitored. A reduction in either feed, water or both, usually leads to a decline in daily liveweight gain (DLWG),” she explains.

“The best way for producers to detect changes in food and water consumption, is access to the most up-to-date performance figures, which can assist both farmers and vets in highlighting health issues sooner, to then be able to make the necessary changes to achieve target finishing weights efficiently.”

Suzy says if you can see figures developing as a trend, as is possible with software that handles real-time data, producers can gauge how birds are performing.

“If a negative trend starts to appear, or if abnormalities are being seen then it may be something that needs investigating to understand if this may affect bird performance and how serious it may be.

“Food and water consumption are key factors which, when available in real-time, help highlight any issues in bird performance as early as possible. Access to this data can allow producers and vets to identify trends and any environmental, health or management issues before they take hold and affect performance,” concludes Suzy.