Perosis in Goslings: Curled and Contracted Legs

When raising geese, you will want to increase your flock with healthy goslings to increase your profits. Nonetheless, taking care of goslings requires a high level of responsibility. Moreover, the birds are prone to injuries and illnesses that impact their welfare and call for higher levels of care.

One of these is perosis, also called chondrodystrophy or a slipped tendon. The article below will cover a few tidbits on this condition so you know what to expect when you’re gosling is diagnosed with perosis.

Perosis: The Mysterious Leg Disorder Affecting Goslings

Perosis is an orthopedic condition that happens when a bird’s gastrocnemius tendon slips from the hock joint’s intercondylar groove and becomes misaligned. When misaligned, the tendon’s contracture will worsen the condition while accelerating the inflammation and deformity of the affected leg.

Perosis will often manifest as an enlarged hock joint with varying degrees of twisted tibiotarsus and bent tarsometatarsus bones. These skeletal issues are generally characterized by an inability to stand or walk, acute lameness, and one leg diagonally extended backward so your gosling’s leg looks contracted and curled.

Causes Of Perosis in Goslings

Below are the leading causes of perosis in goslings:

Nutritional Deficiency

Most goose farmers feed their birds on table scraps. Though this seems inexpensive and beneficial, it can sometimes be dangerous. Like all animals, goslings need certain minerals and vitamins to stay healthy. Feeding your birds empty calories from table scraps places them at risk of lacking choline, folic acid, biotin, manganese, and B vitamins.

Goslings without these minerals and vitamins in their feeds or as supplements are at higher risk of getting perosis. Sometimes, perosis can also follow excess calcium in your gosling’s early days. In the first few days of a gosling’s life, inadequate water intake can also lead to perosis.

Your gosling has different dietary needs at varying stages of growth and age, so pay attention to these to protect it from perosis.

Genetic Predisposition

Some goslings hatch with perosis. Though the exact cause of this is largely unknown, it is thought to be related to improper incubation that affects embryo development. Nonetheless, it is mainly associated with a genetic predisposition that places a gosling whose parents have perosis at a higher risk of contracting the same.

Sometimes, the parent might also have a genetic issue that affects its ability to absorb or process the minerals and vitamins whose deficiency leads to perosis. This inability might be passed to the offspring. Goslings with existing leg deformities have also been shown to be at higher risk of getting perosis than those with no deformities.

Environmental Conditions

Overcrowding in your coop can lead to perosis in your gosling. This is primarily because overcrowding leads to stress among your flock and makes birds more prone to infections. Furthermore, the stress caused by overcrowding can lead to feeding issues among your birds, contributing to nutritional deficiencies associated with perosis.

Though perosis is not contagious, it often leads to open lesions and wounds that can become infected. Other birds can peck on these open lesions leading to their secondary bacterial infections and worsening of the wound.

Symptoms Of Perosis in Goslings

Perosis mainly affects goslings below six weeks old. It is associated with several symptoms, but the main one is swollen or twisted legs. This follows the slipping of the tendon from the hock joint of a gosling’s leg. This joint then becomes twisted and swollen and eventually cripples the bird.

Goslings with perosis are unable to straighten their affected leg, which will usually splay out diagonally. Even if only one leg is affected, the bird finds walking challenging, thus affecting its growth.

Here are the other symptoms of perosis.

  • The back of the ankle (hock)looks flat.
  • Sometimes, the swollen joint is irritated or scratched, causing a lesion or wound to form.
  • The gosling generally exhibits pain in the first few days after an injury, often evidenced by repeated peeps or cries.
  • If both legs have perosis, the gosling will walk or stand hunching down, squatting on its hocks, or using its wings for balance.
  • Loose droppings.
  • Dermatitis on the legs and feet.
  • Discolored combs and feathers.
  • Brittle feathers.

You might mistake perosis in your gosling for spraddle leg, big hock disease, or other limb deformities. You can distinguish perosis from these conditions by checking for other symptoms instead of solely focusing on the leg issue.

Treating Perosis in Goslings

Unfortunately, perosis is untreatable in most instances. If you notice the condition within the first 24 hours, you can splint the gosling’s leg in place. The splint remains in place for about five days so that the tendon heals and muscle grows around it. If your gosling has trouble walking after splinting, consider physical therapy sessions to help it.

Though expensive and needing a lengthy recovery period, you can also manage the condition through surgery. If you suspect one of your goslings has perosis, separate it from your flock and ensure it is warm and has enough food and water. Schedule a vet appointment to know your alternatives. Often, the vet will prescribe a pain reliever like aspirin to guarantee your bird’s comfort and an antibiotic to prevent infection of any wounds.

You can slow the progression of perosis by feeding your gosling a properly balanced diet though you will usually not entirely reverse it. If perosis goes on too long with no intervention, the affected leg might become shortened or deformed. It is unwise to allow a gosling to suffer the pain associated with untreated perosis, so in some cases, the affected bird is euthanized.


When raising goslings, one of the issues you might deal with is perosis. This skeletal issue is characterized by bowed, twisted, or swollen legs and sometimes open wounds. It is mainly caused by a nutritional deficiency of manganese, B vitamins, choline, and folic acid. It can also follow overcrowding of your goslings or affect birds with a genetic predisposition.

When you notice perosis in your gosling, contact the vet immediately. Treatment by splinting the affected leg for five days should ideally occur within 24 hours of the start of the condition. A balanced diet will slow the progression of the disease but will rarely reverse it. The vet might also prescribe pain relievers to keep your bird comfortable and antibiotics to prevent infections of wounds.

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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