Vitamins and Minerals Important to Poultry

Date of publication : 11/6/2008
Source : Univ. of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service
Achieving maximum health and performance of poultry requires nutritionally balanced diets. One of the common issues with regard to back yard flocks relates to poor or inadequate feeding programs that can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies for the birds. Vitamins and minerals are very important components of a chickens diet and unless a formulated ration is feed, it is likely that deficiencies will occur.

Poultry require all known vitamins except C. Some vitamins are soluble in fats, while others are soluble in water. Some of the symptoms of a vitamin deficiency are as follows:


Vitamin A  Decreased egg production, weakness and lack of growth.
Vitamin D Thin shelled eggs, reduced egg production, retarded growth, rickets.
Vitamin E  Enlarged hocks, encephalomalacia (crazy chick disease).
Vitamin K  Prolonged blood clotting, intramuscular bleeding.


Thiamine (B1)  Loss of appetite and death.
Riboflavin (B2)  Curly-toe paralysis, poor growth and poor egg production.
Pantothenic Acid  Dermatitis and lesions on mouth and feet.
Niacin  Bowed legs, inflamation of tongue and mouth cavity.
Choline Poor growth, fatty liver, decreased egg production.
Vitamin B12 Anemia, poor growth, embryonic mortality.
Folic Acid Poor growth, anemia, poor feathering and egg production.
Biotin Dermatitis on feet and around eyes and beak.

Minerals are also important to the health and well being of poultry. The following are some
of the important minerals and symptoms of mineral deficiencies:


Calcium Poor egg shell quality and poor hatchability, rickets.
Phosphorus Rickets, poor egg shell quality and hatchability.
Magnesium Sudden death.
Manganese Perosis, poor hatchability.
Iron Anemia.
Copper Anemia.
Iodine Goiter.
Zinc Poor feathering, short bones.
Cobalt Slow growth, mortality, reduced hatchability.

As indicated above, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can produce numerous health problems
for chickens including in some cases death. Thus, to prevent nutritional deficiencies, or when
deficiency symptoms are noted, feeding a balanced poultry ration with the required vitamins and
minerals should be practiced.

By Dan L. Cunningham, Extension Coordinator
Poultry Tips - College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service

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