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Water quality in turkey farms in Khemisset (Morocco) and potential risk factors.

ABSTRACT

The objectives of this study were to assess the microbiological and physical/chemical quality of water in broiler turkey farms in the province of Khemisset (north-western Morocco) and, based on a questionnaire, to ascertain potential risk factors for contamination of drinking water with faecal coliforms. A total of 80 samples were collected and analysed in 20 farms (four from each farm). At the main inlet to the water line at the entrance to each turkey house, 100% of the samples were of unacceptable quality in terms of faecal coliforms, Escherichia coli, faecal streptococci, sulphitereducing anaerobes and enterococci. A significant reduction in microbiological contamination of the water line (p < 0.05) was observed on Day 60. While more than 90% of the samples were of satisfactory quality in terms of pH, nitrites, conductivity, nitrates and iron, only 35% were satisfactory in terms of total hardness and only 20% met quality standards for ammonium content. The factors affecting levels of contamination with faecal coliforms were water chlorination (p = 0.065; odds ratio = 14; 90% confidence interval [CI] = 1.14-71), cleaning and disinfection (p = 0.028; odds ratio = 14; 95% CI = 1.25-156.6) and antibiotic treatment (p = 0.001; odds ratio = 6; 95% CI = 2.1-35.2). To improve water quality in poultry farms, farmers are advised to protect wells from contamination and to install water purification units (pre-oxidation, coagulation, flocculation, disinfection). In addition, turkey houses and rearing equipment should be rigorously cleaned and disinfected between each batch of birds.