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June 2, 2023 | by Sam Shafer
A new investigation into goose health suggests providing drinking water that is at least 18℃ (64.4℉) may boost the activity of digestive enzymes, promote intestinal development, increase water consumption, and even increase goose eye temperature. Based on their findings, the researchers recommend giving geese warmer water during cold weather—at least until geese reach 49 days old.
The study, published recently in the journal Poultry Science®, was led by a team of poultry scientists in Chongqing and Qingdao, China.
“Understanding the role and importance of drinking water temperature can help to optimize the water temperature recommendations for commercially housed geese,” write study authors X.F. Huang et al.
As the researchers point out, many previous studies have linked warmer drinking water to improved gut health in livestock, and the time had come to focus on how water temperature affects goose health and development. China produces 94 percent of the geese in the world, and there is increased attention right now on standardizing goose feeding patterns and other elements of animal husbandry across the country.
The researchers worked with 21-day old male Yuzhou white geese (192 geese total). They studied a control group of geese given water at ambient temperatures of 7℃–12℃ (44℉–53℉). Three experimental groups were given water at either 18℃ (64.4℉), 27℃ (80.6℉), or 36℃ (96.8℉).
The geese given 7℃–12℃ water drank the least while geese given 27℃ water drank the most. All three warm water groups had higher eye temperatures than the control group, but the researchers found no differences in organ indices and blood biochemical parameters between the groups.
The 18℃ group showed several major differences when it came to gut development. This group had several signs of improved gut development, such as higher crypt depth and muscularis thickness of duodenum (key parts of the lining of the intestines). The 18℃ group also had higher trypsin and amylase activity (two enzymes that help with digestion) than the other groups.
Although warmer water did not affect goose body weight, average daily gain, or average daily feed intake, the researcher did notice a higher feed conversion rate in the geese given “superheated” water at 36℃.
Still, this success with the 36℃ group did not translate to better health after all, and the researchers didn’t find evidence that water needs to be that hot. Instead, the 18℃ water appeared to be the best option overall.
What does this study mean for producers?
The full paper, titled “Effects of drinking water temperature in winter on growth performance, water consumption, surface temperature, and intestinal development of geese from 21 to 49 days of age,” can be found in Poultry Science and online here.
Categories: Interpretive Summary