Vitamin in Breeder Diets

Forum: Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets

Published on: 04/10/2008
Author/s : Steve Leeson - Department of Animal and Poultry Science/University of Guelph - OMAFRA Newsletters
Hubbard breeder hens are capable of peak egg production around 86% under commercial conditions, with sustained peaks over 80% for 12 weeks. This high egg output is only possible with superior management and nutrition, part of which is a well-fortified high energy diet. These high persistent peaks also mean that we have to supply adequate vitamins in the feed, not only for the hens very active stag...
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Abideen Busari Abideen Busari
Poultry farmer
April 10, 2008

I always appreciate good articles about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets. This is surely one of them. I would say to the writer "thank you".

Munawar Ali Munawar Ali
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
May 17, 2008

Dear Sir,

An excellent and practical article about Breeder Diets. Congratulation for such article. 

These type of articles are always appreciated as these can be applied on the flocks to get maximum results.

Thanks and regards.

Dr. Munawar Ali

December 24, 2008

Hi. A very interesting article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets. I would like to know the vitamins occurring in my home mix and what should be added.
The mix is:- 6 parts steam rolled barley,
3 parts rolled oats,
1 part wheat,
1 part black sunflower seed,
1 part soaked pelleted alfalfa, (in 2 parts water)
1 part Soy meal. (43% protein).
For the breeding season it ill be 2 parts Soy.
Thank you, keep well.

ibrahim ahmed ibrahim ahmed
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
December 25, 2008

Dear Sir,

An excellent and practical article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets. Congratulations for such article.
These types of articles are always appreciated as these can be applied on the flocks to get maximum results.
Thanks and regards.

Dr. Ibrahim Ahmed Ahmed

January 8, 2009

The article is very informative and useful for Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets, but the composition levels mentioned for breeders is sufficient? Market usage levels for Breeders is very high compared to your composition levels eg. Vitamin A 12800 IU/Kg as you have mentioned whereas every breeder is using 25000IU/Kg. Please clarify.

Drmanjunc Drmanjunc
Animal Nutrition
January 9, 2009

Thank you sir, for the valuable information on Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets. Here in India the levels are even higher. In fact, we -the nutritionists in India- always feel that the breeders recommendations are much lower. Does the vitamin levels requirement depend on the geographical location of the farming, as most of the breeders recommendations are based on ideal conditions?

Dr Manju

Arshaq Ramzee Arshaq Ramzee
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 13, 2009

This article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets will certainly help the nutritionist to reconsider his premix formulation and to reduce the ever increasing cost of production. Good article backed with excellent research data.

Stephen Adejoro Dr Stephen Adejoro Dr
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 19, 2009

This article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets is very practical and educative. It addresses the core problem of breeders management and performance expectation here in the tropics.
The various factors affecting vitamin potency are many in Africa and tropical enviroment and this article provide urgent solution to this problem.
I congratulate this author for such an interesting and educative article.

Dr Stephen Adejoro

January 23, 2009
Article on Vitamins is quite interesting, but level of Vit A is certainly lower as compared to used here.

Dr Chandra
Francisco Gomez Francisco Gomez
Doctor Veterinary Z
January 23, 2009

Congratulations, it'ss a good article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets, very specific and with focus in the real practic, I really enjoyed it.

Ed Kane Ed Kane
Animal Nutritionist
January 23, 2009
Wanted to respond to the comment in the article re the lack of need for supplemental vitamins via the water, and share the following data.

EMCELLE® TOCOPHEROL (d-alpha-tocopherol) when supplemented in drinking water improved vitamin E status of breeders, fertile eggs and poults when compared to a similar I.U. intake of synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate) added to feed.

Hatchability of eggs from EMCELLE-supplemented hens was improved 6.1% (P.22) compared to those hens fed synthetic vitamin E acetate. In addition, EMCELLE-supplemented hens had higher egg yolk-tocopherol than those fed synthetic vitamin E acetate which reflected in higher serum and liver- tocopherol levels in poults at hatch.

The progeny phase of the study involved feeding poults from the two hen treatments either 60 I.U. synthetic vitamin E acetate per kg feed or 30 I.U. EMCELLE TOCOPHEROL per liter water for eight days. This resulted in four different treatment combinations. EMCELLE was more efficiently utilized and transferred in poults compared to synthetic vitamin E acetate. The treatment combination that resulted in the highest vitamin E status was when both the hens and poults had received vitamin E from EMCELLE TOCOPHEROL and the treatment combination that resulted in the lowest vitamin E status was when both hens and poults had received vitamin E from synthetic vitamin E acetate in the feed (8.86 vs. 2.66 µg alpha-tocopherol per ml).

Water administered EMCELLE TOCOPHEROL (micellized, non-esterified natural vitamin E) was better utilized by breeder hens and their progeny when compared to an equal intake of synthetic vitamin E acetate. This study showed the effectiveness of EMCELLE® TOCOPHEROL for breeder hens to enhance hatchability, egg yolk vitamin E content, and vitamin E status of poults at hatch.

Therefore, what might apply to some vitamins via the feed vs. water, does not apply to vitamin E when administered as micellized d-alpha-tocopherol via the water vs. synthetic acetate via the feed. Due to the unstable form of vitamin E in EMCELLE TOCOPHEROL, it can not be added to complete feed, and therefore the only route of administration is via drinking water.
February 14, 2009

Dear Dr./Mr. Steve Leeson,

Details are informative article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets, as you have provided comparative data. Thanks.

Can I request you to provide any standard protocols for Assay of critical vitamins in a premix formulation or any comparative standards to infer an assayed data of various vitamins in premix formulation?

Dr Romila
Vetcare - India

Ganesh Kumar Dahal Ganesh Kumar Dahal
Managing Director MDH Pharmaceuticals Pvt.Ltd.
March 6, 2009

An enlightening article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets !!
It is very useful to breeder farmers. In our region, Vitamin A is recommended @ 25000 IU/Kg by nutritionist. The dose may vary due to geographical diversity as nutrient constituents of raw may vary due to geographical location.
Thanks for an educative article.

Dr. K.S. Arora Dr. K.S. Arora
Veterinary Doctor
March 7, 2009

Definitely a very precise and informative article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets. I wish to add requirement of various vitamins for broiler breeders is affected by many situations and are to be continuously monitored based on local conditions. For example total vitamin C required increases manifolds during extreme summer temperature of 45 degrees celsius and beyond, in North India. Same is true for many other vitamins and minerals. Apart from weather conditions there are many other factors which influence these requirements.

May 25, 2009

Very good article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets. It is a practical guide for veterinarians and breeders. As quoted by others, requirement of (especially) vitamin A and C is much more in India. Particularly in south India where temperature crosses 48 degrees Celsius in summer season.

June 5, 2009

I would like to thank Steve Leeson for his excellent article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets.

I wish to also bring across to the readers of this forum of the potential benefits of using oregano essential oil for its antioxidant properties to protect vitamins in breeder feed.

It is a well known fact that the main cause of loss of activity in vitamins comes from a process known as oxidation, due to the exposure of vitamins to oxygen. This can easily be reversed with the use of suitable antioxidants in feed.

Then there is the question of what type of antioxidants to use in feed. Antioxidants for feed can be categorised into two main groups, the synthetic antioxidants and the natural antioxidants. Synthetic chemicals such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and ethoxyquin are widely used as preservatives but have been linked to liver and kidney dysfunctions as well as allergies and immune system disorders.

Ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative and possible carcinogenic. It is regulated by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as a pesticide. While ethoxyquin cannot be used in human foods, it continues to be used in livestock feeds around the world. Ethoxyquin has been found to promote kidney carcinogenesis and significantly increase the incidence of stomach tumuors and enhanced bladder carcinogenesis, according to several studies, including a recent one by the Department of Pathology, Nagoya City University Medical School, Japan.

Due to the increased public awareness of the importance of food safety, there is increasing pressure from consumers to discontinue the use of such synthetic chemicals as feed preservatives in livestock feeds.

Therefore, the search for suitable antioxidants derived from natural sources have turned the interest of the industry towards plants and essential oils, which have been known to possess high levels of antioxidant properties for a long time now.

According to Joseph Mercola, whose findings were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in November 2001, oregano was the herb with the highest antioxidant activity, with 3 to 20 times higher antioxidant activity, compared to all the other herbs studied.

On a per gram fresh weight basis, oregano ranked even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables which are known to be high in antioxidants. In comparison to the antioxidant activities of a few fruits and vegetables, oregano had 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries.

An example of an oregano essential oil product is Orego-Stim, produced by Meriden Animal Health Limited (UK). The phenolic compounds within such a product, carvacrol and thymol, are bioflavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants. These help combat free-radical damage, while protecting cells, lipids & vitamins such as A, C and E from the process of peroxidation.

An evaluation of antioxidant activities of different substances and the margin of deterioration of oxidation by UVA – VIS radiation showed that the antioxidant activity of oregano essential oil was higher than those of coriander and rosemary at various concentrations. In fact, it was even higher than ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and d-alpha tocopherol (vitamin E).

This shows that because carvacrol and thymol are more reactive, they will sacrifice themselves in the presence of a free radical in the peroxidation process, thus protecting valuable antioxidant vitamins and increasing their bioavailability as nutrients for breeder birds dietary use.

As the author has mentioned, the two highest costing vitamins as vitamins A and E. With the use of oregano essential oils, this not only enables lower inclusion levels of these vitamins and thus lowers the cost of vitamin inclusion in breeder feed, but it also provides better breeder performance in terms of egg production, egg quality, hatchability and feed conversion efficiency. Due to its antibacterial properties, it also offers protection from intestinal disease, reduces incidences of diarrhoea and decreases mortality rates.

Oyedele Oyewumi Oyedele Oyewumi
Technical Marketing Manager
June 15, 2009

this is a wonderful article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets wuith special focus on the vitamin requirement of breeder. thanks you very much. however i wish to know whether these recommended vitamin inclusion level will guarantee excellent performance in nigeria which is a tropical country.

June 17, 2009

informative article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets.

September 20, 2010

Dear Frients

This article the lot of information about the vitamin level to the poultry.

The takehome messages are lot in this article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets 


Mahmood Ali Tabassum Mahmood Ali Tabassum
M.Sc(Hons) Animal Nutrition
April 26, 2011

Dr.Steven, Thanx for this informative and practical article about Vitamin Levels in Breeder Diets and vitamin requirements some what vary with geographical conditions.please share some information about some protocols to assay vitamins availability in a premix.

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