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They are needed for the maintenance of the life and wellbeing of the animal, and the production.

They enter into the bone composition and give the skeleton the rigidity and the strength needed to support the tissues.

Minerals That are needed in relatively large ammounts are referred to as Macro minerals.

Others that are needed in very small amounts are referred to as Trace minerals or Micro minerals.

Macro Minerals are Calcium,Phosphorus,Magnesium,Sodium,Chloride,Potassium and Sulfur.

Micro Minerals are Fluorine,Iodine,Cobalt,Copper,Iron,Molybdenum,Selenium,Manganese,Zinc.

The Role of major minerals for poultry:

1) Calcium:


- The major component of bones and teeth.

- Essential in blood coagulation, nerve and muscle function.

- Egg production.

Deficiency signs:

- Retardation of growth.

- Deformed bones in chicks.

- Soft shelled eggs , Osteoporosis in old chicks.

2) Phosphorus:


- Essential for bone formation and body fluids.

- Required for metabolism, cell respiration and normal reproduction.

Deficiency Signs:

- Lack of appetite, retardation of growth.

- Deformed bones, Poor reproduction .

3) Sodium , Chloride :


- Required for formation and retention, concentration and pH of the body fluids, such as protoplasm, blood.

- Important in the formation of digestive juices and functions in nerve and muscle activity.

Deficiency signs:

- Retardation of growth , low feed consumption.

- Decrease egg production.

4) Potassium:


- Retention and formation of body fluids, pH concentration of body fluid.

- Neecessary for muscle activity.

Deficiency signs:

- increase mortality rate, Retardation of growth ,

- Decrease egg production.

5) Magnesium:


Similar to calcium and phosphorus. 

Deficiency signs:

- Stunted growth 

Trace minerals:

1) Zinc:


- Essential component of 200 Enzyme systems.

- Major role in immune system and certain reproductive hormones.

- Essential for proper sexual maturity and reproductive capacity.

Deficiency signs:

- Result in poor semen quality.

- Retardation in growth, leg abnrmality with long bones becoming shorter, thickened and crooked.

- Hatched chicks are weak with skeletal deformities.

- Delayed feathering , Dermatitis.

2) Manganese:


- Activator of enzyme system in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and nucleic acid.

- Plays role in collagen formation, bone growth, urea formation, eggshell formation and the function of the immune system.

- Involved in enzymes related with oxiditive phosphorylation in mitochondria.

Deficiency signs:

- Retarged growth.

- Characteristic crippling leg defomity called perosis.

- Reduction in eggshell strength.

- Reduction in hatchability.

3) Iron:


- Constituent of haemoglobin and myoglobin for oxygen transport and cellular use.

- Component of many enzymes containing protein such as cytochrome C, peroxidase, catalase.

Deficiency signs:

- Depigmentation of feathers.

- Stunted growth.

- Hypochromic microcytic anaemia.

- Heart hypertrophy.

4) Iodine:


- It is required for systhesis of thyroid hormone, thyroxin, which regulates the rate of metabolism.

- Regulates rate of cellular oxidation.

- Regulates neuromuscular functions.

Deficiency signs:

- Increase in the size of thyroid gland called goitre.

- Retention of yolk in the hatched chicks.

- Lower hatchability.