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Calculate the Electrolyte Balance EB of poultry and swine-BicarZ

Electrolyte Balance: what it is and how to calculate it

Check the feed of your cattle to keep optimal electrolyte balance and performance while ensuring their wellbeing.

What is Electrolyte Balance?

The animal organism consists for most of its weight of water, which is found inside and outside the cells and in the blood. Mineral salts (electrolytes) such as sodium, potassium, bicarbonate and chloride are dissolved in water. In addition to regulating various bodily functions, they also maintain water balance (i.e. the balance between the amount of fluid in and out) and acid-base balance.

When the hydro-electrolyte or acid-base balance is disturbed, various disorders can occur.


Why is Electrolyte Balance in the diet important?

Electrolytes play a key role in the welfare of your animals, whether pig electrolytes or poultry electrolytes.

As for us humans, your animals use minerals (such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium) to regulate the physico-chemical parameters of their organism, in particular the acid-base balance. These minerals come from what they eat and drink.

They are vital elements because they facilitate the circulation of nutrients in the cells and the elimination of waste. They also make the nerves, muscles, heart and brain of the animal function normally and balance the amount of water and pH level in their body. 


Balance between positively and negatively charged ions is essential

If there is an imbalance between positively charged ions (cations) and negatively charged ions (anions), animals can face several problems such as production drops, acidosis, dehydration, diarrhoea, etc.... 


Why calculated pig electrolytes and poultry electrolytes is important

The feed requirements of your pigs and poultry vary according to their stage of physiological development. By calculating the Electrolyte Balance of the ration (sodium, potassium and chloride), it is possible to see whether the ration is in line with the ideal values. A ration whose Electrolyte Balance is too low (risk of acidosis) can be effectively corrected by adding Bicar®Z. To calculate the Electrolytic Balance of your ration, there is only one formula:

BE = [Na+ + K+] - [Cl-]   

Using tools developed by our experts, it is possible to calculate the risk of acidosis, the electrolyte balance and, finally, the daily sodium bicarbonate dosage.


Electrolytes for pigs: which balance value is important?

Stage of development

Ideal EB value

Pregnant sow 

between  240 and 270 mEq/kg DM

Sow in preparation for farrowing

between  160 and 190 mEq/kg DM

Suckling sow

between  180 and 220 mEq/kg DM

Piglets after weaning

between  250 and 300 mEq/kg DM

Pors pork butchers

between 200 and 250 mEq/kg DM

Growing gilts

between  200 and 250 mEq/kg DM


Which Electrolyte Balance value is ideal for your poultry?

Species and stage of development

Ideal EB value (mEq/kg DM)

Chickens between 1 and 21 days old

between 240 and 300 

Chickens between 21 and 42 days of age

between  240 and 260

Laying hens

between   240 and 280

Laying hens in heat stress situations

between  280 and 320


between  250 and 280


How to balance electrolytes: Bicar®Z solution

Bicar®Z is pure sodium bicarbonate. It consists of 27% sodium (Na+) and 73% bicarbonate ion (HCO3-). Sodium bicarbonate neutralizes acids and releases CO2. It not only acts as an antacid, but also very efficiently as a buffer. The buffering capacity of sodium bicarbonate on ruminal fluid and its high efficiency in resisting and preventing acidosis, and in obtaining positive effects on livestock production have been scientifically proven.

What is a buffer and how does it restore electrolyte balance

Chemically speaking, a substance that acts as a buffer is a salt composed of a strong base and a weak acid (or viceversa). As sodium bicarbonate is composed of a strong base (NaOH, sodium hydroxide, better known as caustic soda) and a weak acid (H2CO3, carbonic acid), it is a true buffer. Buffering substances help to resist changes in acidity and restore pH values to values close to their acid dissociation value (pKa). The buffering capacity of sodium bicarbonate on ruminal fluid and its high efficacy in resisting and preventing acidosis, as well as its positive effects on livestock production, have been scientifically proven.

What is a buffer in terms of livestock?

From a livestock point of view, buffering capacity is the ability to restore a low pH of the ruminal fluid to normal values. A decrease in pH occurs naturally in livestock, for example as a result of starvation or inadequately supplied diets.

Electrolytes for pigs

Pig diets must meet the animal's needs for maintenance, growth and reproduction. Under stress conditions, the animal's respiratory rate increases and changes the pH level of the blood, leading to metabolic acidosis. It is therefore necessary to buffer the pH with sodium bicarbonate in pig feed. The use of Bicar®Z helps to increase the pigs' food intake and consequently helps maintain their welfare.

Poultry elecrolytes balance

Feed used in the poultry industry must have an appropriate Electrolyte Balance in order to improve feed efficiency and limit health risks related to acid-base imbalances.  

Due to the alkalinising effect of sodium bicarbonate, Bicar®Z restores the correct metabolic balance in poultry feed.

Discover Bicar®Z, the sodium bicarbonate supplement for dietary electrolyte balance.