Incubation Problems due to Breeders’ Vitamin Deficiences


The problems of embryo mortality during incubation are not allways incubator
oriented. The table below discusses when and how vitamin deficiencies of the
breeder flock affect the survival possibilities of the chicken embryo in ovo.



Deficiency Signs



Vitamin A




Death at about 48 hours of incubation from failure to develop the circulatory system; abnormalities of kidneys, eyes, and skeleton.
Vitamin D  

Death at about 18 or 19 days of incubation, with malpositions, soft bones, and with a defective upper mandible prominent.


Vitamin E  

Early death at about 84 to 96 hours of incubation, with hemorrhaging and circulatory failure (implicated with selenium).




Vitamin K


No physical deformities from a simple deficiency, nor can they be provoked by antivitamins, but mortality occurs between 18 days and hatching, with variable hemorrhaging



High embryonic mortality during emergence but no obvious symptoms other than polyneuritis in those that survive



Mortality peaks at 60 hours, 14 days, and 20 days of incubation, with peaks prominent early as deficiency becomes severe. Altered limb and mandible development, dwarfism, and clubbing of down are defects expressed by embryo.



Embryo readily synthesizes sufficient niacin from tryptophan. Various bone and beak malformations occur when certain antagonists are administered during incubation






High death rate at 19 to 21 days of incubation, and embryos have parrot beak, chondrodystrophy, several skeletal deformities, and webbing between the toes.


 Pantothenic  acid  

Deaths appear around 14 days of incubation, although marginal levels may delay problems until emergence. Variable subcutaneous hemorrhaging and edema; wirey down in poults.






Early embryonic mortality based on antivitamin use


Folic acid  

Mortality at about 20 days of incubation. The dead generally appear normal, but many have bent tibiotarsus, syndactyly, and mandible malformations. In poults, mortality at 26 to 28 days of incubation with abnormalities of extremities and circulatory system.


Vitamin B12  

Mortality at about 20 days of incubation, with atrophy of legs, edema, hemorrhaging, fatty organs, and head between thighs malposition


Nutrient Requirements of Poultry: Ninth Revised Edition,1994


Michael J. Mavridis D.V.M
CEO / Founder of Mavridis Zootechniki Ltd.

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