Supplementary biotin decreases tibial bone weight, density and strength in riboflavin-deficient starter diets for turkey poults

1. Growth and skeletal responses to different dietary concentrations of riboflavin and biotin were compared in turkey poults from hatch to 21 d of age. The birds were fed on a turkey starter diet with different concentrations of supplementary riboflavin (0, 20 and 40 mg/kg) and biotin (0, 0.3 and 0.6 mg/kg) in a factorial design. 2. Poults fed on diets with no supplementary riboflavin had poor gait scores, decreased times to sit and higher rates of culling compared to poults fed on the control diet (20 mg biotin and 0.3 mg riboflavin/kg diet). Histologically, riboflavin deficiency was associated with a peripheral neuropathy similar to that described previously in chicks and, unexpectedly, in growth plate abnormalities. 3. Tibiae of poults fed on the control diet were larger, more dense, stronger and stiffer than the diets with no supplementary riboflavin. 4. Increasing supplementary biotin in poults fed on diets with no supplementary riboflavin was associated with a decrease in tibia weight, density, strength and stiffness. 5. The results demonstrated that riboflavin deficiency in fast-growing turkey poults was associated with growth retardation, growth plate disturbance and peripheral nerve dysfunction leading to an inability to walk.

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