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Choline is a vitamin-like essential nutrient and a methyl donor involved in many physiological processes, including normal metabolism and transport of lipids, methylation reactions, and neurotransmitter synthesis. Dietary choline deficiency has been associated with an increased incidence of spontaneous liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) and increased sensitivity to carcinogenic chemicals in animals. Choline is a necessary vitamin for chickens, especially for newly hatched chicks. Newly hatched chicks require approximately 0.1% of choline in their diet.
Chicks fed a choline-deficient diet often develop leg deformations due to lack of ossification and perosis. If caught and rectified early, the chick has a good chance of recovering, otherwise the deformations will likely be permanent.
In adults, choline deficiency causes muscle damage and abnormal deposition of fat in the liver, which results in a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Choline Food Sources
Choline can be found in wheat germ, broccoli, skim milk, peanut butter, and peanuts.
Alagawany, M., El-Hindawy, M., Attia, A., Farag, M., & El-Hack, M. A. Influence of dietary choline levels on growth performance and carcass characteristics of growing japanese quail. Adv. Anim. Vet. Sci, (2015)