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Choline Deficiency

Choline Deficiency Overview

Choline deficiency has been well documented in ducks. Choline is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for ducklings to grow properly. Choline levels are also affected by interactions with other nutrients, such as the amino acid, methionine. When ducklings are methionine deficient, it markedly increases the choline requirements needed for ducks.

Clinical signs
Choline deficiency in ducks can cause perosis and decreased weight gain (stunted growth) in growing birds. Perosis refers to one or more signs of the presence of a leg deformity that occurs in one or both of the duck's legs. Signs of leg deformity include:
  • Slipped tendon
  • Enlarged hock joint
  • Twisting, turning, or bowing legs
  • Crippled
The leg deformities are the result of lack of ossification. If caught and rectified early, the duckling has a good chance of recovering, otherwise the deformities ar usually permanent.

Food sources high in Choline
Choline can be found in wheat germ, broccoli, skim milk, peanut butter, and peanuts.


Stunted growth
Enlarged hock joint
Twisting, turning, or bowing leg
Slipped tendon


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Diet analysis


MethodMethod Summary
Provide choline in the diet1,300-1,900 mg/kg in daily diet, in the form of supplements or choline-rich food sources.
Supportive care


  • Feeding ducks a balanced diet
  • Supplement with B-vitamins after hatching.


Risk Factors

  • Ducklings are most susceptible for they are not able to synthesize choline.