Vitamin E deficiency in Chickens

Recognise and Treat Vitamin E Deficiency in Chickens 

Vitamin E is an essential vitamin for chickens and especially for laying hens. Without enough vitamin E in their diet, your chickens can lay poorly and become unwell.

Learn how to recognise and treat and vitamin E deficiency in chickens.

Symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency in chickens

Chickens require all known vitamins in order to be healthy. Vitamin E is especially important and contributes to egg production, fertility, immune response and the functioning of nerves, muscles and the circulatory system.

One study found that in hens with depleted vitamin E, egg production feel by as much as 50 % and their hatch rate decreased from 84-94% to as little as 1.3 %.

Symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency include:

  • Crazy chick disease (encephalomalacia)
  • Wry neck
  • Decreased laying
  • Muscular dysfunction
  • Weakness
  • Inability to walk
  • Bowed legs
  • Greenish-blue skin
  • Muscle spasms
  • Inability to control head (to turn it, hold it up or lower it)
  • Haemorrhages
  • Paralysis
  • Enlarged hocks
  • Poor growth
  • Poor feed conversion
  • Increase susceptibility to disease and parasites
  • Decreased fertility

Vitamin E deficiency presents most severely in chicks. Chicks that cannot walk or move their head are often suffering from a vitamin E deficiency inherited from their mother.

Treat a vitamin E deficiency in chickens

If your chickens are showing signs of vitamin E deficiency, the first step is to provide a vitamin E supplement. A multi-vitamin like Liquid Vitamins provides a vitamin E boost for chickens who might have a deficiency.

If you are worried about providing enough vitamin E, try adding a little Dine a Chook Mega Mineral to your chicken's diet or some high-vitamin E treats like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, spinach, chard, dandelion and nettle.

And remember, if you think your birds are suffering from any disease or illness, including deficiency, they should always be seen by a licensed animal healthcare professional.

Benefits of vitamin E for chickens

Vitamin E has lots of benefits for chickens, including:

  • Greater resistance to heat stress
  • Strengthened immune response, including to E. coli
  • Improved laying
  • A better hatch rate
  • Higher levels of vitamin E in eggs and meat

Happy chicken keeping!

Rachael - Dine a Chook Australia

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