The skeletal system: More than just a frame.
In previous articles, we talked in detail about the different systems that are part of the animal (avian) body and how every single organ has to be in harmony with the entire body to function well. One particular system which is the “vault” for all these other organs and plays a huge part in the development of the animals is the skeletal system.
The avian skeletal system, just as in all other vertebrates, provides a strong structure to protect the internal organs and gives them the capacity to stand or move in conjunction with the muscles. What separates the avian skeletal structure from other vertebrates is the evolutionary adaptation that the bones present to give the birds the capacity to fly. Even though poultry are not known for their capacity to fly, the basic bone structure changes remain the same as in the other bird species:
Besides the structural functions, the skeletal system has also other functions in birds such as storage of minerals and breathing. Hollow bones, which will conform to the respiratory system, are called pneumatic bones. On the other hand, medullary bones are the ones that will serve as a source of calcium for eggshell formation. For the skeletal system to be able to fulfill so many functions, the formation of bone will play an important role. Bone is a living tissue and it requires proper nutrition and control of multiple factors for the best performance. Poor nutrition, stress, or poor management can result in deformations or structural weaknesses.
When we are talking about nutritional deficiencies, two minerals play an important role in proper bone formation and ossification: Calcium and phosphorus.
Calcium and phosphorus
Calcium and phosphorus will be present in the form of crystals in-between a matrix of fibers. The structure that is formed inside the bone is going to be in constant change and will be affected by numerous factors as previously mentioned.
A proper balance of calcium and phosphorus is crucial and has to be present in the diet. Excess of calcium in the diet will result in malabsorption of phosphorus at the gut level. Similarly, excess phosphorus will have the same effect on calcium. Therefore the addition of a ratio of 1.5-2 Calcium: 1 Phosphorus is required for optimal absorption and utilization of these minerals.
Depending on the age and state of the animals, a higher or lower requirement of these minerals should be present. During young ages, the animal requires high doses of this essential mineral for proper bone formation. In later stages, the requirements will increase due to the high usage of calcium and phosphorus for egg production. During production, the chicken will mobilize the deposits of calcium in the bones for the mineralization of the eggshell. Besides the physiological requirements, the bone deposits of calcium and phosphorus will be under the influence of other factors such as hormones and vitamin D.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in controlling the calcium levels in the bird’s body. When Vitamin D is absorbed (as Vitamin D3) in the intestine, it will require to be transported to the liver and kidney to be activated. The activation of Vitamin D3 (Calcitriol) is regulated by the parathyroid hormone as a direct response to the levels of calcium in plasma. If the levels are low, this hormone will be induced, stimulating the activation of Calcitriol. This activated form of Vitamin D3 will increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestine, mobilize the storage of calcium at the bone level and reduce the excretion of calcium at the renal level. If the levels in serum are high, the effect will be contrary.
During bone formation, minerals are deposited on the bone matrix. But this process can be corrupted during a Vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to rickets in young birds or osteomalacia in adult animals.
To avoid deficiencies that will have their repercussions on the bone and also on the flock uniformity, in XVET we have a product that not only supplies a liquid, well balanced, and highly absorbable source of minerals but also Vitamin D3; providing the 3 main components for a proper bone formation: Cal D Phos.
Cal D Phos® supports an optimum Calcium and Phosphorus balance and provides Vitamin D3, which is necessary for the absorption, metabolism, and at the same time for mobilization of minerals. This way, deficiencies are avoided efficiently and quickly, maintaining the health and performance of the flock!
For more information please contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org