Folic Acid Risk

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Jan336, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Jan336

    Jan336 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was wondering if poultry could suffer from a folic acid deficiency as much as women and was amazed at the research and results i have found. I do not know that folic acid in poultry or laying hen feed is often disregarded by popular feed manufacturers, seeing as how majority of hens do not show the signs of this issue, but maybe someone has? Or is started to see the signs. I have included a link (WARNING, IMAGES MAY BE UNSUITABLE FOR SOME) that shows images of the effects of the folic acid deficiency. I also know that moist cat food like the Fancy Feast Elegant canned products are somewhat high in folic acid in their G.A. (Guaranteed Analysis) and that my local Food Lion store brand "Whole Grain 100 Dry Cereal" is %100 in all vitamins including Calcium! I fed the Food Lion Whole Grain Cereal today as crumbled in my hands and spread out like scratch and they went nuts. I would not suggest this as a mainstream diet, but ideal for any vitamin or enriching boost!

    Fancy Feast Canned Line
    Acid Research and Results (WARNING - IMAGES)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  2. RedReiner

    RedReiner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Monroe, Wa
    Thats actually pretty interesting to me, one of the medications I have to take sucks the folic acid out of you, so I have to take a folic acid pill along with that medication. This medication causes me to shake and quiver which is countered by ativan. I ran out of folic acid tabs for 2 days and the shaking returned in a big way. I read in that link that the deficient chick would shake or quiver. I wonder if that is why I shake ? I also learned that it is easy to overdose folic acid.
  3. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Thank you for posting! [​IMG]
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You probably don't need to add too much folic acid to their diet as the trace amounts are probably enough. If there really was a shortage, chickens wouldn't be as prolific as they are.

    One thing to note, is that studies to determine effects of vitamin/mineral/amino acid efficiency are done by completely eliminating folic acid from the diet, which is unnatural. Those images are likely generated by raising birds and breeding ones that are given absolutely no folic acid in their diet, by removing it from the food or inhibiting it's uptake. That is the same way we study the effects of certain genes. We knock it out or make the gene so it does not work. The results are usually that the embryos die or mutations are so grand the resulting animals do not live long. By removing the gene, we can infer what the gene does.
  5. Jan336

    Jan336 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:True. But when the reproductive organs of any human or animal is tested, so are the values to reproduce. I am not comparing women to hens, but with any reproductive system that is active over and over - I would think this would deplete needed resources that are drained such as folic acid, calcium, and B-12.

    So goes with reptiles, mammals and humans. It is natures way. Just like the global warming (not trying to go there [​IMG]) the effects of man melting the ice caps and other natural resources that we are all taking for granted, natural disasters, oil spills, etc. When we take so much, (hens as egg machines) I just wonder what could be given back? It is almost 3am, and I feel like a babbling activist. [​IMG]
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Folic Acid (Folacin) Deficiency --

    A folacin deficiency results in a macrocytic (megaloblastic) anemia and leukopenia. Tissues with a rapid turnover, such as epithelial linings, GI tract, epidermis, and bone marrow, as well as cell growth and tissue regeneration, are principally affected. Poultry seem more susceptible than other farm animals to a folacin deficiency. Deficiency results in poor feathering, slow growth, an anemic appearance, and perosis. As anemia develops, the comb becomes waxy white, and pale mucous membranes in the mouth are noted. Elevated erythrocyte phosphoribosylpyrophosphate concentration can be used as a diagnostic tool in folate-deficient chicks. There may also be damage to liver parenchyma and depleted glycogen reserves. While turkey poults show some of the same signs as chickens, mortality is usually higher and the birds develop a spastic type of cervical paralysis that results in the neck becoming stiff and extended. The abnormal feather condition in chickens leads to weak and brittle shafts. Depigmentation develops in colored feathers due to a deficiency of the vitamin. While a folacin deficiency can result in reduced egg production, the main sign noted with breeders is a marked decrease in hatchability associated with an increase in embryonic mortality, usually during the last few days of incubation. Embryos have deformed beaks and often a bending of the tibiotarsus. While birds may exhibit perosis, the lesions seen differ histologically from those seen as a consequence of choline or manganese deficiency. Abnormal structure of the hyaline cartilage and retardation of ossification are noted with folacin deficiency. Increasing protein content of the diet increases the severity of perosis in chicks receiving diets low in folic acid, as there is an increased folacin demand for uric acid synthesis.

    Above from The Merck Manual

    Some good sources of for Folic Acid are --

    Liver, Yeast, Dark Green Leafy Vegetables [such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens], Legumes [such as beans, peas and lentils], Sunflower seeds and some Fruits.

    I feel as long as you are feeding a good poultry and not overdoing the teats you will be fine.
    A good feeds will have all the nutrition you bird needs in it. Most of the poultry feeds I have seen contain Alfalfa and Legumes both add Folic Acid to there diet.

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Considering how many sunflower seeds and dark leafy greens my chickens eat, I don't think mine have a problem. [​IMG]

    Soy, wheat and oats also have folic acid in them. I think chicken feed has a lot of naturally occurring folic acid.

    It's always good to look at nutritional information and see how your chickens' diet compares, though. I think a lot of the people on the forum are giving their chickens the most nutritious diet they can, not just enough to produce eggs. They want healthier eggs, from healthier hens.

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