Gosling with Neurological Damage: Causes & Treatments

Like baby chicks and ducklings, goslings are also susceptible to neurological damage. Although rare, goslings can hatch with inherent conditions resulting in neurological damage. Signs of neurological damage in goslings can include circling, tremors, seizures, head and neck twisting, and paralysis. Symptoms of neurological damage in goslings can be mild to severe.

Causes of Neurological Damage in Goslings

The causes of neurological damage in goslings can vary from one gosling to the other. These are the common causes of neurological damage in goslings.

Environmental Factors

Most cases of neurological damage in goslings are environmentally related. Some of the environmental factors that make goslings succumb to neurological damage include the presence of toxins. Goslings that consume toxin-laden foods are at risk of neurological damage. Furthermore, exposure to toxic substances and pollutants can also subject your goslings to neurological damage.

Lead poisoning among wild goslings can make the birds vulnerable to neurological damage over time. Lead poisoning can also cause brain damage and poor brain development in domesticated and wild goslings. Some chemicals in gosling feeds, such as phthalates, dioxins, and furans, can expose your goslings to chronic neurological damage.

Incubation Problems

Most neurological problems in goslings and ducklings begin when the tiny birds are still inside their eggs. Incorrect incubation techniques can lead to neurological issues among hatchlings. Most inexperienced geese raisers make hatching blunders that expose newly hatched goslings to neurological disorders.

For instance, hatching goslings under incorrect incubation temperatures can lead to neurological damage. Some signs of neurological damage due to incubation problems include newly hatched ducklings with seizures and paralysis.

Brain and Spinal Cord injuries

Human error in handling fragile goslings can expose the birds to neurological problems in infancy. Human mishandling can make goslings sustain spine and skull fractures, brain swelling, spinal compression, and hemorrhaging.

Small kids who squeeze hatchlings too tight while holding them in their hands can also make the hatchlings sustain brain and spinal cord injuries. Such injuries can cause neurological damage in goslings.

Health Conditions

Neurological problems in birds, including goslings, can arise from secondary and primary diseases. For instance, goslings born by parents with a history of conditions such as botulism are highly vulnerable to neurological damage. Neurological problems in ducklings and goslings can also occur due to genetic abnormalities.

Goslings exhibiting genetic abnormalities are at risk of suffering from neurological problems in their infancy and adulthood. Parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections can lead to neurological damage among goslings.

Signs and Symptoms of Neurological Damage in Goslings

The symptoms and signs of neurological damage in goslings can vary from one bird to the other. Furthermore, most geese raisers confuse neurological damage with other genetic abnormalities in goslings.

However, it helps to understand all the signs and symptoms of this condition when raising goslings. Some of the symptoms and signs of neurological damage to look for in your clutch include the following:

  • Leg weakness
  • Abnormal posture
  • Seizures
  • Grasping ankles
  • Balance problems
  • Impaired motor control
  • Circling

Diagnosing Neurological Damage in Goslings

The problem with neurological problems in goslings and other poultry is that these problems can be tricky to diagnose. However, checking for early signs of neurological damage can help geese raisers diagnose cases of neurological damage in their goslings.

Besides observing and checking for signs of neurological damage in your birds, you can also use the avian neurologic test, which a certified vet does. Avian vets also use the serial neurologic assessment test for diagnosing neurological damage in birds, including goslings.

Treatment Options for Goslings with Neurological Damage

Medications are the best treatment options for goslings with neurological damage. Avian vets use various medications to treat mild to severe neurological damage in goslings, baby chicks, and ducklings. For instance, your vet may recommend a medication like Solian for your goslings if they grapple with mild neurological damage.

They can also recommend Elavil for goslings with acute neurological damage. Vets can use injectable medications to control the symptoms of neurological damage in goslings. Some antibiotics can help alleviate the early signs of neurological damage in goslings.

Caring for Goslings with Neurological Damage

Goslings are delicate little birds, especially those with existing conditions such as neurological damage. Giving attentive care to goslings with neurological damage can help restore their health and ensure they live normally like other healthy goslings in your clutch. The first step to caring for goslings with neurological damage is separating the affected birds from the clutch.

Neurological damage can inhibit a gosling’s ability to walk and maintain balance. That means the bird won’t stand upright and feed like other goslings, ultimately exposing the ailing bird to long-term weakness and malnutrition.

Isolating the ailing gosling will lower the risk of other goslings trampling on the bird. Because goslings with neurological damage experience seizures and walking problems, it’s possible for other birds to step on the poor, sick birds while feeding or foraging.

Moreover, the sick birds may accidentally fall into the waterers and drown to death. Goslings with neurological damage need a comfortable living space to help them recover from the condition, especially if they are on medication. They also need nutritious foods to keep them strong and healthy while coping with the adverse symptoms of neurological damage.

Prevention of Neurological Damage in Goslings

Neurological damage in goslings can be a big problem for every geese raiser. The condition can affect your goslings’ quality of life, making them unable to do everyday activities, such as walking and foraging.

As bothersome as neurological damage can be for goslings, some easy preventive measures can help keep your clutch safe from this condition. Below are tips for the prevention of neurological damage in goslings.

  • Adhere to the proper incubation techniques while hatching goslings
  • Reduce your goslings’ exposure to toxins, pollutants, and poisonous chemicals
  • Strive to diagnose cases of neurological damage in your clutch in advance
  • Treat all the health conditions in your goslings that expose the birds to neurological damage


While neurological damage is rare among goslings, newly hatched goslings are at higher risk of this condition than adult geese. Again, treating neurological damage can be expensive and time-consuming, so prevention is vital to ensuring your clutch is safe from neurological damage. Fortunately, it is easy to protect your goslings from this condition.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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