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Biotin Deficiency

Vitamin H Deficiency


Biotin is an important water-soluble B-complex vitamin for chickens of all ages.
Biotin Chemical Structure
It is a component of several enzyme systems, fatty acid synthesis, and protein synthesis. There is an association between biotin deficient diets and fatty liver and kidney syndrome in chickens. Chicken's dietary requirement of biotin varies from 0.1-0.3 mg/kg (0.05-0.14 mg/lb) of their feed ration. Biotin is widely distributed in many different types of foods. However rich sources include brewer's yeast, cooked eggs (especially the yolk), milk, vegetables, and oilseeds. Raw egg whites contain a protein called Avidin that interferes with absorption of biotin. Also, it has been suggested that biotin deficiency is masked by coexisting carnitine deficiency.

Initial symptoms of deficiency

First signs of biotin deficiency in chickens can include:
  • Reduced growth
  • Skin dermatitis
  • Leg bone abnormalities
  • Cracking of skin on feet
  • Poor feathering
Skin dermatitis is a similar appearance to that seen in chickens with pantothenic acid deficiency. However, with biotin deficiency, signs occur first on the chicken's feet and later around their beak and eyes, whereas in pantothenic acid deficiency, signs occur first in corners of mouth and eyes; only in prolonged cases do they appear on the feet. Once the deformities of perosis occur, biotin administration is not effective. In laying hens, biotin deficiency causes a reduction in hatchability. Specific resulting problems in chick embryos include:
  • Crooked legs
  • Bone deformities
  • Ataxia
  • Extensive foot webbing
  • Chondrodystrophy
  • Embryonic mortality
  • Twisted, malformed beak
  • Stunted growth

Clinical Signs

Stunted growth
Swelling and ulceration of footpads
Poor feathering


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Diet analysis


Supplemental vitamins: Add additional biotin to diet


Scientific References

Age Range

Newly hatched chicks are most at risk

Risk Factors

  • Feeding chickens eggs