The importance of vitamins in animal feed

Vitamins are one of the most vital substances in animal nutrition, and their use in the diet of animals is necessary to maintain their health and better performance. Consumption of vitamins is more important for the health and fertility of dairy cows and its deficiency can reduce the possibility of fertility in dairy cows. Minerals and vitamins are the most vital substances needed by cows, which should be given to them in a balanced way.

Although the consumption of high-quality feed and fresh and healthy fodder can provide vitamins necessary for the health of cows, but if the quantity or quality of these foods decreases, this need should be met by giving commercial concentrates or nutritional supplements. Vitamins needed by dairy cows are usually supplied through rumen and tissue production, nutrition and food supplements. Most of the commercial concentrates contain the necessary vitamins for dairy cows, but if the cows are not fed with these substances, this need should be met by giving the cows vitamin supplements. Essential vitamins needed by ruminants are vitamins A, D, E, K and some B vitamins. The complications caused by the lack of these vitamins are as follows.

Vitamin A

One of the most important and essential types of vitamins, whose existence is very important in animal nutrition, is vitamin A or Retinol.

Deficiency of this vitamin has its own specific reasons that occur in certain situations, for example:

1. Absence of vitamin A in the food consumed or the presence of substances that are anti-vitamins and destroy its effect.

2. In drought conditions, when dry and stored fodder is used, or when the consumption of green fodder in the animal decreases.

3. Thermal stresses such as: heat, cold, diseases, etc.

4. High production of things that affect the consumption of vitamins by the animal.

The effect of vitamin A deficiency on livestock

• Vitamin A deficiency in adult cows causes infertility problems and shortens the cow’s pregnancy period, and of course, in more acute conditions, it also causes abortion.

• It leads to the birth of dead and blind calves or calves that are not balanced.

• Loss of appetite and excessive thinness of livestock

• Epilepsy and convulsions

• Calf diarrhea

• Placental retention in affected cows

• Changes in the eyeball, softening of the cornea, inflammation of the internal tissues such as the cornea, and in acute cases, it causes tears and decreased vision and eventually leads to blindness.

• It causes the reduction and loss of keratin layers, or so-called degeneration, because these tissues are destroyed, and because they are in contact with the outside, this makes them susceptible to infections and makes the animal susceptible to easily exposed to infections and diseases, one of these diseases is pneumonia.

Clinical symptoms of vitamin A deficiency

• Decreased growth

• Reduce feed consumption

The role of vitamin A in the body

• General protection of the body, for example: protection of covering organs such as mucous membranes

• It plays a significant role in vision and vision power of the brain in such a way that ritanol becomes retinal and then combines with spins and causes stimulation of the optic nerves.

Vitamin A is high in forage and low in concentrate, but high in corn. The required amount of this vitamin per day is about 40,000 to 50,000 IU, this amount is provided by daily consumption of 1 to 2 kg of alfalfa or dry fodder.

Group B vitamins

Until now, there was an idea that there is no need to provide B vitamins, because these vitamins are made by microorganisms in ruminants, but recent research has proven that some vitamins, such as niacin, should be included in the diet. This vitamin, namely niacin or nicotinamide acid, is highly recommended in early lactation, especially for cows with high production. Because the feed intake is low and the synthesis of microorganisms in the rumen is not enough. Therefore, it is recommended to add between 12 and 6 grams of niacin from 2 weeks before and 12 weeks after delivery.

Effects of increasing niacin

• Improved fermentation

• Prevent ketosis

• Increasing the amount of probiotic acid and glucose

Vitamin D

The body produces a small amount of vitamins by itself. One of the few vitamins that is made by the body is vitamin D. This vitamin is made with the help of cholesterol and sunlight. Vitamin D in feeds is very low and insignificant, and its amount is much higher in dry fodder that contains cholesterol and is exposed to sunlight, so animals that are not exposed to sunlight or sunlight Those who live in cold, rainy areas are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency has many symptoms in common with phosphorus and calcium deficiency, this vitamin has a very high impact on the function and health of the body’s skeleton and ossification.

One of the diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency is called rickets or rickets. In fact, the role of vitamin D is absorption and reabsorption of calcium from the digestive system, bones and kidneys.

The best treatment method for severe and acute vitamin D deficiency is its injection, which works very quickly and has a high effect, for example, during milk fever, it is recommended to inject 20 million units of vitamin D 3 to 5 days before giving birth, and this method is effective. increases and prevents vitamin D deficiency.

 The effect of increasing vitamin D

Deficiency of vitamin D in the body is rare, but excess vitamin D can be very dangerous. Because it increases the level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood and causes deposition of minerals in the veins, and this is very dangerous.

So, if the animal’s body receives too much vitamin D, a lot of phosphorus and calcium will be deposited in many organs of the body, such as the kidney and heart, and eventually lead to heart spasm and the death of the animal.

Symptoms and complications of vitamin D deficiency

• Back arching

• Swelling of wrists and knees

• Disruption of bone growth

• Porosity and excessive fragility of bones

• Strong reduction in growth, especially the growth of young livestock

• Enlargement of weak joints and brittle bones in old animals

Vitamin E

Vitamin E plays the role of antioxidant in the animal body and protects the body against prooxidants. Vitamin E destroys peroxides by the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, most forages contain vitamin E, but more than 99% of it is destroyed before drying and remaining.

Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency

• Infertility and sterility

• Hepatic necrosis

• Sexual analysis

• Muscle weakness in young animals

• Muscular dystrophy (white muscle of calves)


One of the ways to treat vitamin E deficiency is the injection of tocopherol acetate, and along with this subcutaneous injection of selenium is recommended.

Vitamin K

The absence of this vitamin in the body causes severe bleeding, in fact, vitamin K plays an important role in blood coagulation and blood clotting, although this issue does not cause an acute problem in animals.

Vitamins for sheep

Vitamins are one of the important nutritional substances for sheep. The most important vitamins needed by sheep are vitamins A, D, E, K. Vitamins B and C are produced by bacteria in the rumen of sheep.

Most ewes have a diet containing adequate amounts of vitamins A, D, E, K, but sheep fed with dry fodder may be deficient in these vital vitamins, especially vitamin A. To solve this problem, it is not necessary to add vitamin A to the sheep’s diet.

There is no need to feed vitamin D to sheep that are suffering from vitamin D deficiency, but it is enough for these sheep to be sufficiently exposed to sunlight during the day, or their forage is sufficiently exposed to sunlight. to be

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