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Pyridoxine Deficiency

Other Names: Pyridoxine Deficiency

Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is one of eight water-soluble B vitamins.
Pyridoxine chemical formula
Vitamin B6 refers to a group of three compounds: pyridoxol (pyridoxine), pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. Vitamin B6 helps the body make several neurotransmitters, chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another. It is needed for normal brain development and function, and helps the body make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood, and melatonin, which helps regulate the body clock. It is required by several enzymes, including those involved in the breakdown of amino acids.

Clinical Signs of Pyridoxine Deficiency

Chicks fed a vitamin B6-deficient diet have little appetite poor growth, chondrodystrophy, and characteristic nervous behavior. Chicks may show jerky, nervous movements of the legs, run aimlessly about, flapping their wings, or squatting with their wings slightly spread out and their heads resting on the ground. Chronic borderline B6 deficiency produces perosis; usually one leg is severely crippled, and one or both of the middle toes may be bent inward at the first joint.

Pyridoxine Dietary Recommendations

Vitamin B6 requirements generally vary from 2.5 to 4.5 mg /kg (1.4 to 2 mg/lb) of diet (NRC, 1994). However more modern research studies as conducted by DSM Nutrition, recommend the following:

Age/Life Stagemg/kg
Newly Hatched Chicks (0 - 10 wks)4.5-5.5
Young & Growing (10 - 20 wks)3.0-5
Laying hens (Actively laying eggs)3.5-5
Breeders (20 wks & older)*5.0-6
Broiler/'Meat' Breed Chicks (0-18 wks)3.0-5
Broiler/'Meat' Breeds* (19 wks & older)4.0-6
*Includes roosters
Vitamin B6 requirements in chickens are increased when chickens are fed:
  • High-protein diets
  • Imbalanced amino acid profile
  • High amounts of tryptophan or methionine
The amount of vitamin B6 required is influenced by the percentage of protein in the chicks diet. Chicks on a high protein level require increased amounts of vitamin B6, since vitamin B6 is needed to breakdown the amino acids. In addition, depending on the breed of chicken, it might require increased vitamin B6. Lucas et al. (1946) found that crossbred chicks (Rhode Island Red x Barred Plymouth Rock) showed a considerably higher requirement for pyridoxine (B6) than had previously been found for White Leghorn chicks.

Pyridoxine Food Sources

Most feedstuff contain enough vitamin B6. The best sources are obtained from vegetables, whole grain, cereals and their by-products and nuts. The richest source is royal jelly produced by bees. The bioavalibility of vitamin B6 in soybean meal-based feed is 65 percent and in corn-based feed it varies from 45 to 56 percent.

Clinical Signs

Jerky nervous walking
Aimlessly running and flapping wings
Facial swelling
Little to no appetite
Stunted growth
Squating w/ wings spread out
Heads resting on the ground
Easily excitable
Drooping wings


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Nutritional analysis of diet


Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress.
Vitamin B6Administered IM (1-3 mg/kg q7d) or orally (1-2 mg/kg q24h)B Speers



Provide a balanced diet with enough Vitamin B6

Scientific References

Age Range

Usually seen in young chicks.

Risk Factors

  • Feeding an unbalanced or limited diet to birds
  • Amino acid imbalance
  • Feeding high amounts of tryptophan, methionine and other amino acids, for they increase the requirements of vitamin B6 in chickens.
  • Feeding chickens a high-protein diet, which increases the requirements of vitamin B6 in the diet.
  • Exposure of feed to sunlight.

Also Consider