Vitamins and Minerals Importance in poultry Diet

One of the common issues with poultry health is governed by the vitamins and minerals supplement . Inadequate feeding program 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 vitamin deficiency are as follows:

Fat Soluble Vitamins

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

Water Soluble Vitamins

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, inflammation of tongue and mouth cavity

Choline                            Poor growth, fatty liver, decreased egg production

Vitamin B12                    Anaemia, poor growth, embryonic mortality

Folic Acid                        Poor growth, anaemia, 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                  Anaemia

Copper             Anaemia

Iodine              Goitre

Zinc                  Poor feathering, short bones

Cobalt              Slow growth, mortality, reduced hatchability

As mentioned 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 diet with the required vitamins and minerals should be practiced.

Article by