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Folic Acid Deficiency

Folacin Deficiency

Overview


Folic acid (also referred to as folate, vitamin B9 or folacin) is an essential B-vitamin that is an essential vitamin needed for chickens of all ages.
Folic acid Chemical Structure
Chickens tend to be more susceptible to folic acid deficiency then other livestock. In chicks, it generally presents as poor feathering, anemia, slow growth, and abnormal skeletal development. Breeding hens with a folic acid-deficient diet often have pale combs and wattles, decreased egg production, poor feathering, and reduced hatch rates for offspring. Folic-deficient breeder hens tend to produce chicken embryos that die immediately after pipping the air cell while in the later stages of incubation. Chicks that are assisted out of their shell will often develop leg deformities.

Clinical Signs

Poor feathering
Weakness
Stunted growth
Chicks die after piping shell
Pale or waxy-white comb or wattles
Perosis
Pale mucous membranes in mouth
Fading of feather color

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Diet analysis
  • Increased erythrocyte phosphoribosylpyrophosphate concentration

Treatment

NameSummary
Provide Supplemental Folic acidOral supplements added to diet of 500 ug folic acid/100g feed
Provide food sources high in folic acidfolic acid food sources for chickens

Prevention

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Storing poultry feed outside or in direct sunlight, as folic acid is readily degraded by ultraviolet light and moisture, particularly at high temperatures.