It is well established that the only way in which to get a high level of protective nutrients for the developing chick is via the egg. The feeding of a vitamin and mineral supplement to hen birds at least one month prior to laying the eggs helps. It is important that the level of protein in the diet is adequate. If the diet has been lacking in any of the vitamins, minerals and protein throughout the year, the following problems may occur.

Vitamin A                     Poor survival of the newly hatched.

Vitamin D3                   Poor shell quality and dead in shell.

Vitamin E                      High embryonic mortality late in the hatching period.

Riboflavin                     High mortality in shell.

Thiamine (B1)             Dead in shell about the 10th day.

Pantothenic Acid      Death in first week of incubation.

Nicotinic Acid              Soft shell and reduced hatching.

Vitamin B6                   Reduced hatching and poor feathering.

Biotin                            Reduced hatching. Dermatitis in young birds (mouth and feet).

Choline                          Leads to slipped tendon.

Vitamin B12                 Dead in shell late in incubation. Lowered red cell production.

Folic Acid                      As for B12.

Manganese                   Poor shell quality and slipped tendon.

Calcium                         Poor shell quality leading to defective bones or Rickets.


The way to use this information is to read it in reverse. Whatever the problem, check the list above, and see what has been missing? Then provide whatever food or supplement is needed.