Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Poultry Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Poultry Science


Susan E. Watkins

Committee Member

Craig N. Coon

Second Committee Member

Andrew N. Sharpley

Third Committee Member

Karen D. Christensen

Fourth Committee Member

John T. Halley


Biological sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Poultry nutrition, Poultry water


A series of trials were conducted to analyze broiler water consumption behaviors under commercial conditions. The first trial was to quantify the number of broilers drinking at times of peak water demand. Birds were evaluated at time intervals of 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes from the start of the light period to establish the percentage birds having consumed water by that point in time. Significant differences were found by bird age in the 5, 10, and 15 minute intervals, however there were no significant differences in the percentage of birds having consumed water in the 30, 45, and 60 minute intervals.

A second trial was conducted to evaluate the percentage of birds drinking while on pre-slaughter feed withdrawal. Birds were evaluated at four, hourly intervals after feed had been withdrawn. It was found that there was no significant difference between the percentage of birds drinking during each hour of feed withdrawal when compared to birds that had not had feed withdrawn. Additionally, water utilization rates of liters/100 birds in the first, second, and third hour of feed withdrawal were established.

A third trial evaluated the daily water to feed intake ratios on a commercial broiler farm and investigated the changes in this ratio by season. It was demonstrated that water to feed intake ratios become smaller as the birds age, ranging from 1.931:1 at 11 days of age to 1.715:1 at 46 days of age. Also, it was found that significant differences exist in daily water to feed ratios by season.

A fourth and final trial was conducted to evaluate the relationship between changes in lighting and changes in water intake. Daily records of lighting changes and water consumption were collected from six farms in two different integrator complexes. These records were analyzed and no statistically significant effect (P>0.0554) of changing lighting intensity or duration on daily water consumption by broilers.