Goslings act fine, but can’t walk...

albertthegoose

In the Brooder
Jun 23, 2020
12
18
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My ten day-old goslings are falling ill, and I don’t know of what or why. They are currently on a chick starter formula with supplemented brewer’s yeast- not optimal, I know, but it is what’s available to me. They’ve also been receiving fresh grass with chick grit, oyster shell, and occasionally fresh vegetables (bok choy, kale, dandelions, etc.).
Water consumption has been regular, and if necessary, the chicks are given water with added molasses, apple cider vinegar and chick probiotic. Bedding is kept clean, heat is provided, and the goslings are regularly given access to outdoor grazing, if weather/temperature permits. They began swimming shortly after they turned a week old, but are no longer given the option to swim since falling ill.
The largest gosling, which is still hefty and growing well, went off her legs yesterday. She was running around with the two other goslings perfectly fine that morning, until she woke up from a nap unable to move one leg. The other goslings were sleeping beside her, and one had been laying on her leg. Within a few minutes, she had stood up and was taking some shaky steps. We assumed that her leg had fallen asleep during the nap.
Today, however, she has no motivation to walk. She‘ll try to stand and protest loudly, then fall back down. Movement is restricted to scooting about her pen, although she still seeks heat and drinks/eats regularly. Nothing appears physically wrong with her leg- there’s no swelling, hotness, or abrasions. When examined, she does not protest or show any signs of pain. Sometimes her legs hang limp, sometimes she moves them a bit. They are not bowed or abnormal in appearance.
She also has the ability to stretch and move them, but does not stand.

Now, the two other goslings are wobbling. I’ve been keeping them mostly confined and have brought fresh grass to them since this problem began, afraid that they would further strain their legs. They still walk and run with normal speed, but will occasionally stumble or trip. Their appetites are fine, although I have noticed that while their poop has solid bits, the rest is a clear-ish liquid.

At first, I thought that these leg problems were from such rapid growth, as the goslings have become visibly larger in the past two or three days. However, the symptoms seem too extreme for this to be the case.
I also wondered if this could be a niacin deficiency, which is more probable than some other conditions. However, their ability to walk is all that has been affected- their legs do not bow, and they grow normally. I’ve been adding enough brewer’s yeast to their feed where this should not be a problem, and the grass also provides additional nutrients.
Perhaps this is a nutrient deficiency, of something like calcium of vitamin D3? This is a very probable explanation for their behavior, and so today I started giving them more oyster shell and grass, along with freshly harvested kale, basil, mescaline, and swiss chard from my garden. I also tossed in some dried mealworms, for extra protein. I’m hoping they will derive additional nutrients from these foods, if their illness is a deficiency. Will they make a significant difference?
My final explanation for their illness is that they consumed a toxic plant whilst grazing. My lawn has common blue violets, plantain, mouse-ear chickweed, dandelion, purslane, and one plant which I cannot identify. We also have creeping charlie, which the goslings have avoided. A few onion blades poke out from my garden’s fencing, but I don’t believe they had access to it. Could any of these plants have caused mobility issues? If consumption of the unidentifiable plant caused some sort of poisoning, what would the symptoms be?
Have any of you ever experienced a similar illness? Which is the most likely condition- a nutrient/niacin deficiency, plant toxicity, rapid growth or maybe even worms? I will definitely not hesitate to take them to the vet or endeavor to switch their feed, but given the broad spectrum of possible conditions, I wish to ask an experienced poultry-keeping community first. Thank you!
 

Miss Lydia

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oldhenlikesdogs

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You are adding a lot of extras to the diet. Why the oyster shells? I feed a purina flock raiser ration, but have given a straight chick starter as well. Mine get tons of grass and grow like weeds. Perhaps yours got injured. I wouldn't add all that stuff to the water either. Maybe cut back on all the extras. I'm not aware of any niacin deficiencies in geese.
 

albertthegoose

In the Brooder
Jun 23, 2020
12
18
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Thank you @oldhenlikesdogs and @Miss Lydia! Your responses mean a lot,

With the oyster shell, I was under the impression that they needed supplemented calcium, but will stop supplying it if it’s unnecessary. The extra stuff in the water was recommended by a local duck farmer as a kind of pick-me-up for after hatch, but seeing as they are far past hatch, I can discontinue it. Should I still add brewer’s yeast to their starter? It seems highly unlikely that they’ve been injured as I’ve been watching them like a hawk, and all seemed well. This whole ordeal is quite confusing! I’ll certainly start by cutting down on the extras.
 

albertthegoose

In the Brooder
Jun 23, 2020
12
18
23
@oldhenlikesdogs

Ah, well if it’s a niacin deficiency, at least it has an easier fix! I’ll read through the article, and continue supplying the brewer’s yeast and get some niacin supplements for now. If there’s no change, I’ll take them to the vet! Thank you guys!
 

albertthegoose

In the Brooder
Jun 23, 2020
12
18
23
@Miss Lydia

Yes. The brewer’s yeast I’m using has 5mg niacin per 15g of yeast (1/8 a cup, I believe). Should the liquid b complex be used in addition to the brewer’s yeast, or can the yeast be discontinued?
Also, is it normal for a niacin deficiency to come on so suddenly? It seemed a bit odd to me that there was no deterioration, just a sudden appearance of symptoms.
 

albertthegoose

In the Brooder
Jun 23, 2020
12
18
23
@oldhenlikesdogs @Miss Lydia

Alrighty, so I administered slightly less than 1 mL of Durvet Vitamin B Complex to the worst-off gosling atop some dried mealworms. I don’t feel comfortable giving it orally via syringe as I’m afraid they’ll aspirate it. I’m going to watch her reaction and then, if all goes well, administer the same dosage to the other goslings. I think I’m going to stop adding brewer’s yeast to their food for now as I don’t want to overdo it, unless you guys think otherwise. Again, thank you for the input and advice, it means a great deal! I’ll keep this thread updated with the progression of the goslings.
 

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