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Osteoporosis, Cage Fatigue

Extracted From:
A Pocket Guide to
Poultry Health
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By Paul McMullin
© 2004
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A condition of chickens, turkeys and ducks seen worldwide and due to Vitamin D or calcium deficiency. Predisposing factors include small body size, high production.


  • Lameness.
  • Soft bones and beak.
  • Birds go off legs.
  • Drop in production.
  • Soft-shelled eggs.
  • Enlarged hocks.
  • Birds rest squatting.

Post-mortem lesions

  • Bones soft and rubbery.
  • Epiphyses of long bones enlarged.
  • Beading and fracture of ribs.
  • Beak soft.
  • Parathyroids enlarged.


History, signs, lesions, bone ash. Differentiate from Marek's disease, spondylitis.


Over-correct ration vitamin D, calcium carbonate capsules, place on litter.


Supplementation of vitamin D, proper Ca and P levels and ratio, antioxidants. As birds progressively mobilise skeletal calcium for egg production through lay, skeletal size and mineral content at point of lay are critical.

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