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What is mineral deficiency in birds and what consequences can it lead to?


Useful reference information for specialists in agriculture and agriculture.

Trace elements in poultry feeding. Failure

Keywords: Trace elements in poultry feeding, failure

Iron deficiency. Birds rarely get sick from a lack of iron. However, in the diet it should be 20 mg / kg of feed, since it is important for the formation of hemoglobin, myoglobin, peroxidase, catalase, for redox reactions, for the absorption of phosphorus and calcium. With its deficiency, the level of red blood cells decreases, bone formation and plumage pigmentation are disturbed.

Copper deficiency. Standard diets include the required amount of copper. The need for birds is 2.0-8.5 mg / kg of feed. Copper deficiency can lead to obstructed movement, perosis, and bone deformation.

Cobalt deficiency. Lack of cobalt delays the growth and development of young animals, reduces egg production. An overdose of cobalt causes poisoning and death. Enough trace element for bird feeding contained in standard diets.

Iodine deficiency. Iodine is part of the structure and is responsible for the physiological functioning of thyroxine - a thyroid hormone. With its deficiency, meat and egg productivity decreases, hatchability of chickens and egg mass, yolk peritonitis appears, the mass of embryos falls, embryonic development is impaired. According to rough estimates, it is enough to add iodized table salt in the amount of 0.3 mg / kg.

Manganese deficiency leads to perosis, reduces the fertility of eggs and hatchability of chickens, at the embryonic stage there is a delay in the growth and development of the skeleton, defects of feathering, a symptom of "parrot beak", high mortality. Prevention implies the inclusion in the diets of feed with a sufficient trace element content in accordance with the norms.

Zinc deficiency occurs when there is an excess of calcium and phytic phosphorus in the diet. Of the clinical signs in young animals - growth disorder, brittleness and thinning of the feather (only the rods remain in the feather and tail feathers), respiratory failure, perosis, curvature of the bones of the legs, and delayed puberty. In laying hens - dermatitis, the appearance of scales on the skin, impaired feather growth, a decrease in the thickness of the shell and egg production. In the embryos, the spine may bend, swelling, deformities of the head appear. Zinc and copper are antagonists in their biological effects, therefore, with synthetic diets with a low copper content, it is important to bear in mind that only a small overdose of zinc (250 mg / kg of feed) can cause death of the bird. Excessive zinc in the diet (more than 1,500 mg / kg) will cause impaired growth and mortality of poultry (up to 5%).

Molybdenum deficiency causes urination, a decrease in xanthioxidase activity, growth retardation, high mortality. Excess trace element in poultry feeding (more than 500 mg / kg of feed) leads to embryonic underdevelopment, impaired viability. The approximate requirement is 0.11-0.24 μg / kg feed.

Selenium deficiency similar in its manifestations to vitamin E deficiency trace element in poultry feeding - Alimentary encephalomalacia in chickens, it can also manifest as exudative diathesis, which leads to the death of up to 80% of chickens, in adults, egg production and hatchability are reduced. Recommended giving sodium salt in accordance with the instructions.

What is mineral deficiency in birds?

All poultry, both decorative (parrots, canaries, peacocks, etc.), and agricultural (chickens, turkeys, geese, etc.) breeds are at risk. Birds of any age can suffer from the disease.

In addition to specific manifestations, mineral deficiency has common:

  • stunted growth and development of young animals,
  • decrease in egg production,
  • exhaustion, muscle weakness (birds can hardly stand on their feet),
  • cannibalism (pecking feathers, eggs),
  • alopecia and apteriosis (birds lose feathers, skin becomes inflamed and flaky).

A century ago, the disease practically did not occur, but with the transition of poultry farmers to specially produced, granular and pressed feeds, mineral deficiency became common.

That how dangerous is this condition determined:

  • the degree of insufficiency of a particular mineral substance (or the degree of imbalance between several mineral substances),
  • the duration of the birds on the wrong diet,
  • physiological state of the bird.

Depending on these conditions, the damage can be different - from a slight decrease in productivity and deterioration of the feather to the death of young and adult birds.

Causes of the disease

Pathological conditions associated with a lack of minerals arise, as a rule, for a number of interrelated reasons, each of which exacerbates the other, developing into a vicious circle.

If the intake of micro and macro elements is disrupted, the synthesis of transporter proteins is disrupted, which are just involved in the transfer of mineral substances through the cell membrane.

The excretion of certain elements through the kidneys and intestines increases. These processes become even more pronounced in violation of the acid-base balance of the blood and digestion. Mineral deficiency leads to changes in the endocrine system, and she, in turn, loses the ability to regulate the exchange of micro and macro elements.

The causes of the disease can be:

  • insufficient intake of minerals with food,
  • the absence of fats that facilitate the absorption of minerals,
  • pathology of the gastrointestinal tract of a bird,
  • internal parasitic infestation,
  • violation of the conditions of poultry (excessive crowding, insufficient lighting, air saturation with harmful gases).

Course and symptoms

Calcium - one of the key elements, it is necessary to build the skeleton, feathers, beaks, claws and egg shells.

The construction of an egg shell takes a little less than half of all calcium in the body of a bird.

With a decrease in calcium levels,:

  • muscle loss
  • anemia (you may notice pallor of the skin and mucous membranes of birds),
  • cramps
  • decrease in protein
  • thinning, fragility of bones.

The ratio of calcium to phosphorus is considered normal when calcium is more than 1.7 times greater in the body, but this indicator varies and depends on the physiological state and the life span of the bird.

Reduced phosphorus levels result in a loss of calcium and, as a result, osteoporosis. The egg shell is thinning, the hatchability of chickens is reduced.

In young birds, phosphorus deficiency is accompanied by:

  • limb weakness
  • malaria beak, bent bones,
  • rickets and developmental delay.

At the age of 5 months, about 14% of young animals with a significant phosphorus deficiency die.

Failure sodium and chlorine considered in conjunction as a violation of the exchange of salt. Usually, sodium deficiency occurs when there is a malabsorption in the intestine or when it is excreted by the kidneys. Chlorine deficiency occurs in the treatment of birds with antibiotics in the form of potassium salts and nitrates.

Symptoms are:

  • growth retardation of young animals,
  • decrease in the quality of the eggshell
  • cannibalism, for example, in bronze turkeys, pulling out a feather leads to the formation of a “blue eye” (when the rods are damaged, the pigment disappears and a kind of tattoo appears).

With deficiency chlorine muscle cramps and muscle paralysis are possible in young birds, and acute chlorine deficiency results in bird death in 58% of cases.

Potassium young growth is especially necessary. The normal potassium content in the feed is 0.4-0.5%. In case of potassium deficiency, disorders of the cardiovascular system, leg muscle cramps, decreased reflexes are observed, birds become lethargic, and react poorly to irritants.

Magnesium for the most part, it is in a bound state in the composition of bone tissue.

One week after the cancellation of magnesium-containing feed and supplements, the rate of muscle gain decreases in young birds, the quality of the feather decreases, the birds refuse to eat, you can notice trembling, appear, uncontrolled movements, convulsions, then the birds die.

An unnatural position of the head can be seen in dead birds - it is folded back, under the body, stretched forward. With a lack of calcium, the situation worsens. Adequate magnesium content of 0.4% for chickens and 0.5% for chickens.

Need in iron is 20-60 mg. Especially iron is needed for growing birds.

With its deficiency noted:

  • anemia,
  • dryness, fragility of the pen, its loss,
  • taste perversion
  • peeling skin
  • developmental delay.

Copper usually found in sufficient quantities in poultry feeds. With its deficiency (more often, with malabsorption), the mass of young birds remains low, in some cases pallor of mucous membranes, peeling of the skin, and depigmentation of feathers are noted.

Zinc is part of enzymes, acts as their activator, stabilizes the structure of some compounds. Usually when using feeders and drinking bowls made of zinc deficiency does not occur. But the need for zinc increases during the gestation period and with an increased content of calcium in the feed.

Iodine found in the thyroid glands of birds, in laying hens - also in the ovaries. The optimal dose of iodine for adult laying hens is 0.5 mg / kg, for young animals - 0.3 mg / kg. Iodine is necessary for the normal growth of embryos.

Symptoms of iodine deficiency are malformations of embryos, exhaustion of adult birds, thinned pale feathers, degenerative tissue changes in the oviduct.

Molybdenum it is easily absorbed in the intestine, but when soy protein is contained in the feed, absorption worsens until it is completely stopped. A specific manifestation of molybdenum deficiency is a rash on the hips, a curvature of the femur.

Manganese plays a large role in the work of the endocrine system of birds. The need for magnesium in adult birds is 30 mg, in chickens - 50 mg. The lack of manganese in the diet leads to uncontrolled movements, emaciation, growth retardation of the skeleton and cartilage. Birds often stand with their legs wide apart, a symptom of a “sliding joint” and changes in the tubular bones are observed.

If you want to know more about yolk peretonite in birds, then go here: https://selo.guru/ptitsa/bolezni-ptitsa/pitanie/zheltochnyj-peretonit.html.

Need in selenium - 0.2-0.3 mg per kg of feed. Typical manifestations of selenium deficiency are nutritional softening of the brain and thick yellow-green exudate in the subcutaneous fat of the nape, thigh, and abdomen. Joint swelling occurs, birds can hardly move. White muscle disease develops, especially in turkeys and ducks.


First of all, attention should be paid to the behavior of birds: whether they behave more restlessly than usual or vice versa seem lethargic, do not react to anything.

Then, analyze whether the birds have common symptoms of mineral deficiency: have the number of eggs decreased, or has the plumage become worse, or are the young growth lagging behind.

The final diagnosis is made by a veterinarian based on clinical signs and pathological changes (for this, an autopsy is carried out for the dead birds). A chemical analysis of feed and a study of blood serum for the content of minerals are also carried out.

Treatment and prevention

For treatment, they bring the diet of birds in accordance with the norms, optimize their conditions. Mineral feed and additives are used - shells, gravel, gypsum, slaked lime, bone meal.

In order to better absorb mineral substances, they also provide vegetable fat (0.2-0.4 ml per bird), vitamin preparations, and natural yeast.

In case of calcium deficiency, green leaves of plants can also be added to the feed., cabbage, carrots or calcium glucanate (0.1-0.5 g per individual in crushed form for two weeks).

With a deficiency of zinc, they give products of animal origin - fish and meat flour. The best prevention of mineral deficiency is the observance of physiological standards in the feeding and maintenance of poultry.

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