Like humans, even chickens require vitamins and also minerals. Deficiency of these nutrients can lead to serious health problems or even death in severe cases. Proper and adequate nourishment also increases the yield of eggs. Chickens which suffer from deficiencies lay eggs that have thin shells. The offspring are also weak and unhealthy.
- Fat-soluble vitamins: Vitamins K, D, A and E are vital for the fertility of the chicken and also help in producing eggs with strong shells. These vitamins should be ingested with adequate fat content in the food in order to be absorbed by the blood.
- Water-soluble vitamins: Vitamin B12, B6, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamine (B1), biotin, choline, niacin, folic acid and pantothenic acid are all water soluble. They help in the production of eggs and also in the normal overall growth.
Minerals are essential for the normal and healthy development of bones, functioning of muscles, production of eggs, formation of blood vessels as well as metabolism. Phosphorus and calcium help in the formation of healthy and strong eggs. Other important minerals that are required in very small amounts include iron, iodine, copper, zinc, magnesium, cobalt and manganese.
Commercial chicken diets contain the essential nutrients and also include certain kinds of supplements and medications to combat common health problems. However, you can look at the labels and buy those commodities that do not contain these additives.
The type of feed given to the chicken varies based on the production stage. While protein rich diet is provided during the growing stage, older birds are fed with lower protein content. The quality of water also plays an important role in the overall health, fertility and egg yields.
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