Catch cup watering systems present an additional biofilm challenge that is not found in non-catch cup watering systems. The purpose of a catch cup is to “catch” some of the water that is spilled during the drinking process from nipples that discharge more water than the birds can retain in their beaks.
Catch cups are open and shared water vessels. As such, they are a perfect environment for harboring biofilm and the means by which the disease can be spread quickly from one bird to the next. The use of vitamins, electrolytes and other nutrient enriched water interventions only feeds and sustains the biofilm and elevates pathogen levels. The ongoing danger of this is that when birds drink this contaminated catch cup water, bird health and bird performance is compromised.
Additionally, it is virtually impossible to maintain hygienic catch cups during the production cycle, which is not the case with enclosed non-catch cup type watering systems.
To strip away and fully remove biofilm in catch cups requires manually cleaning every individual cup with a cleaning agent, a process that can only take place between production cycles. High pressure flushing and cleaning to remove biofilm from interior walls of the pipes during the production cycle will do nothing to help strip biofilm from the catch cups.
Some producers try to manage this problem associated with catch cups by putting high concentrations of chlorine in the water, thinking the super-chlorinated water spilled into the catch cups will help sanitize the cups as well. However, super-chlorination will corrode watering system components, resulting in premature replacement of drinkers without having any beneficial effects in terms of removing biofilm from the catch cups.
Utilizing a fully enclosed nipple type watering system without catch cups can eliminate this problem altogether.