The pantothenic acid requirements for poultry vary among species and classes from approximately 2 to 16 mg per kg (0.9 to 7.3 mg per lb) of diet (NRC, 1994). For growth and reproduction, the majority of species have a dietary requirement between 9 and 16 mg per kg (4.1 and 6.8 mg per lb). For chicken egg production the pantothenic acid requirement is very low (2 mg per kg; 0.9 mg per lb) compared with a requirement of 10 mg per kg (4.5 mg per lb) for growth and reproduction. Hatchability was not increased in turkey eggs from hens fed supplemental pantothenic acid or with egg pantothenic acid injections, which suggests that pantothenic acid is not limiting for hatchability in commercial turkey hen diets that contain 10.5 mg per kg (4.77 mg per lb) or more of pantothenic acid (Robel, 1993a). Requirements are based on typical consumption levels. When energy density of diets is increased, intake is reduced, so that higher dietary concentrations of pantothenic acid and other vitamins are required. When the level of energy in the rations of broilers was raised from 2,870 to 3,505 kcal per kg (1,300 to 1,590 kcal per lb), intake of pantothenic acid fell by 19.1% because appetite is mainly controlled by an intake of energy (Friesecke, 1975).
It has been suggested that antibiotics may have a sparing effect on the pantothenic acid requirement of animals. A dietary level of 22 mg per kg (10 mg per lb) aureomycin for weanling pigs (McKigney et al., 1957) and 10 mg per kg (4.5 mg per lb) of procaine penicillin for turkey poults (Slinger and Pepper, 1954) reduced the pantothenic acid requirement for these species. Certain amounts of B-complex (including pantothenic acid) vitamins are synthesized in the large intestine of poultry and other monogastric animals. It is doubtful, however, whether much benefit is derived, as only limited pantothenic acid absorption occurs in the large intestine, with greatest benefit being in animals that practice coprophagy (Friesecke, 1975).
Interrelationships with other vitamins on pantothenic acid requirements are known, for example those between pantothenic acid and vitamin B12 and between ascorbic acid and biotin (Scott et al., 1982). Pantothenic acid requirement of chicks from B12-depleted hens was found to be greater than that of chicks from normal hens. A fivefold increase in coenzyme A content of liver was found in B12-deficient chicks and rats. Also, there have been suggestions of a possible interrelationship between folic acid and biotin with pantothenic acid. Both vitamins were found necessary for pantothenic acid utilization in the rat (Wright and Welch, 1943). The inclusion of biotin in the diet of a pantothenic acid-deficient pig was effective in prolonging the life of the pig but allowed the pantothenic acid deficiency signs to appear in half the time (Colby et al., 1948).