Visceral gout

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by LipsChicks, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. LipsChicks

    LipsChicks Chirping

    Dec 31, 2014
    North Dakota
    I had a rooster that died from visceral gout. I feed Layena pellets, whole corn for a treat and occasional table scraps. What am I doing wrong?
  2. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Your feeding a layer type feed to a non-laying fowl.

    Layer feed should only be fed to birds that are laying, birds that are not laying (chicks, growing stock, roosters, or hens not laying do to illness, season, molt etc.) should not be fed a layer type feed it is way to high in calcium for them.

    If your running a mixed flock (chicks, growing stock, roosters, and hens) your better off feeding a good starter/grower, all flock or even a non-layer type game bird feed and offering oyster shells on the side.
    1 person likes this.
  3. DrMikelleRoeder

    DrMikelleRoeder Chirping

    Nov 3, 2014
    Was your rooster young or old? Some of the causes of visceral gout include water deprivation or insufficient water intake (this is the most likely cause), insufficient phosphorus (highly unlikely, given that you are feeding Layena and corn), excessive calcium in the diet prior to maturity (if you raised your rooster on a starter/grower product, then that should not be the problem), or infectious nephrotic bronchitis (which may or may not cause disease symptoms). The strain of bird is also important -- some are more prone to this condition than others. Older roosters that have been on a layer feed for a very long time may be more inclined to develop this condition, especially if for any reason they do not drink enough water, though many roosters never have a problem. It can be challenging to try to feed a rooster separate from the hens and make sure he isn't eating their feed or oyster shell. Historically there was never a problem with roosters eating layer products, but with birds becoming pets as well as productive agricultural livestock, birds are living much longer under a multitude of different environmental conditions, so it may be advisable to try to feed roosters a non-layer product if you intend to keep them for a long time. Gout is often seen in very young broilers, in which case it is very likely due to something causing dehydration -- disease, stress, lack of water being provided. Always be sure that your birds have constant access to fresh, unfrozen water -- we want the water to be drinkable and palatable so that they won't have any reason not to drink it. This can be challenging during a cold winter. If birds are soiling the water, raise the waterer to the level of the birds' backs -- paving stones are great for this purpose. This will help to keep the water cleaner and more drinkable. Always be sure you have enough waterers for the number of birds in your flock, so that they all have access when they want it, and no bully bird can guard the waterer and keep others from drinking.

    Below is a good article on gout in birds.

    Avian Gout: Causes Treatment And Prevention
    Published on: 05/26/2009
    Author : Dr. M.T.Banday, Dr. Mukesh Bhakt and Dr. Sheikh Adil Hamid - Srinagar, Kashmir, India
    Todays bird is genetically engineered for higher productivity. Selection of birds is based on production parameters. In the process, the health of the vital organs is ignored. This has resulted in increased incidence of metabolic disorders. The kidney is a vital organ of the bird with diverse metabolic and excretory function viz. maintaining the chemical composition of body fluids, removal of metabolic waste and toxic products, regulation of blood pressure and blood volume and conservation of fluids and electrolytes.

    Excretion of metabolic waste products is important in poultry and this function is performed by the kidneys. The function of kidneys is affected by a number of specific diseases and disorders. One of the important disorders associated with kidney damage is GOUT. In birds uric acid is the end product of nitrogen metabolism. Uric acid is a nitrogenous waste from protein breakdown. In mammals, it is converted to less harmful substance with the help of the enzyme uricase. But in birds this enzyme is absent. Hence, uric acid is the final excretory product. Uric acid is produced mainly in the liver and is excreted by the kidneys. High blood levels of uric acid favour its precipitation in tissues. Uric acid is not toxic but precipitated crystals can cause mechanical damage to tissues like kidneys, heart, lungs, intestines and also in the joints. These crystals severely damage body tissues. So Gout is a condition in which kidney function decreases to a point where uric acid accumulates in the blood and body fluids. Avian gout is a metabolic condition where abnormal accumulation of white chalky uric acid or urates occurs in soft tissues of various organs of body. Gout is commonly observed in chicken as they are uricotelic and lack the enzyme uricase. In gout, blood levels of uric acid can be as high as 44mg/100ml as compared to 5-7mg/100ml in a normal bird.

    There are two major forms of gout which are differentiated by the sites of uric acid deposition- visceral and articular gout. In both forms, deposits consist of needle shaped crystals called tophi. Articular gout is considered to be the chronic form of the disease and is less common. Lesions observed are urate deposition around joints, ligaments and tendon sheaths. There is a predilection for peripheral articulation. Clinical signs observed are shifting leg lameness with joints becoming warm, swollen and tender. It is a condition in chicken that has been recognized for more than 30 years. Visceral gout is considered to be the acute form of disease causing huge mortality characterized by the urate deposits on serosal surfaces, most often in the liver, kidney, pericardium, heart and air sacs. Visceral gout is more common in broilers as young as 2-3 days old. In layers, pullets above 14 weeks are more likely to be affected. whenever there is kidney damage, excretion of uric acid gets affected and uric acid starts accumulating in the blood and later in tissues.


    The causes of gout are many as kidney damage occurs due to multietiological factors. These causes can be broadly categorized as:

    Nutritional and metabolic causes
    Infectious causes
    Other causes

    1.Excess dietary calcium with low available phosphorus results in precipitation of calcium-sodium-urate crystals. High levels of vitamin D3 can also increase calcium absorption from the gut which can favour formation and deposition of urate crystals.
    2.Excessive use of sodium bicarbonate when used to combat heat stress to improve egg shell quality in layers. This alkalinity of urine favours kidney stone formation.
    3.Prolonged vitamin A deficiency causes sloughing of tubular epithelium and subsequent blockade resulting in accumulation of urates in the kidney. However, incidence of gout due to vitamin A deficiency is least under field conditions.
    4.Gout due to sodium intoxication is seen in younger birds when the sodium levels exceed 0.4% in water and 0.8% in feed. This generally happens when fish meal is used in the diet (even with normal salt content), since fish meal is rich in salt content. Total content of sodium chloride in feed should not exceed 0.3%.
    5.Feed containing more than 30% of protein causes uric acid production which in turn creates an excretory load on kidneys. At the same time the presence of sulphates decreases calcium resorption causing excessive calcium secretion through urine. This condition favours gout.
    6.Water deprivation leads to concentration of uric acid and other minerals in the blood and later in the kidneys. Water deprivation especially in the summer is dangerous. This can happen during transportation of birds or due to blockage of nipples, inadequate number of waterers, extra height of water lines, overcrowding, water withholding for long durations during vaccination etc.
    7.Hard water with higher salt content is also a load on the kidneys.


    Various chemicals and toxins are involved in kidney damage as;

    1.MYCOTOXINS: Mycotoxins are the most common cause of kidney damage and among mycotoxins citrinin, ochratoxin and oosporin are important. The combination of ochratoxins with aflatoxin is found to be more dangerous. Because of kidney damage uric acid excretion is reduced resulting in accumulation of uric acid in the body.
    2.ANTIBIOTICS: Certain antibiotics like gentamycin, sulphonamides and nitrofurosones are known to cause renal damage especially in young chicks. The drugs which get excreted through the kidneys have their own imbalancing effect on pH and renal metabolism.
    3.DISINFECTANTS: Disinfectants like phenol and cresol if used erroneously cause residual toxicity.
    4.CHEMICALS: Chemicals like copper sulphate used in water results in water refusal, dehydration and gout.


    Gout is characterized by depression, dehydration and sometimes with greenish diarrhea. Affected chicks appear dull with ruffled feathers and moist vent. Mortality among young chicks is high. There is irregular and excessive enlargement of kidney lobules and cutting open the kidney reveals urate crystals chalky white deposition of urate crystals is seen all over the visceral organs like the heart, liver and kidney under the skin etc.

    SEVERE VISCERAL GOUT - Note the white chalky deposits around the heart (in the pericardium), on all major abdominal organs, including liver, gizzard and intestines, and even in the tissues of the thigh.


    Individual cases of gout may be ignored. In acute cases of gout mortality following prescription would be beneficial.

    1.Provide plenty of water and adequate drinkers.
    2.Avoid a diet higher in protein than the recommended level as per the age and breed. Provide low protein diet for 3-5 days based on need depending on severity of gout.
    3.Review IB vaccination programme. In the areas where IB is endemic it is advisable to vaccinate with nephrotropic strain at around 4 days. Day one beak dip vaccination has proved to be beneficial in broilers.
    4.Use of urine acidifiers: Any one of the following urine acidifiers may be given in water or feed.
    ◦Vinegar: 1-2 ml per litre water up to 24 hours.
    ◦Potassium chloride: 1gram per litre water up to 24 hours.
    ◦Ammonium chloride: Two and half kg/ton feed for 7 days.
    ◦Ammonium sulphate: Two and half kg/ton feed for 7 days.
    5.Ensure adequate levels of A, D3, K and B complex vitamins.
    6.Excessive use of sodium bicarbonate i.e. more than 2kg/ton should be avoided.
    7.Use of electrolytes through water may assist in controlling mortality.
    8.Provide broken maize at least for 3 days and jiggery 5g/litre for 3-5 days in case of mortality.
    9.Provide 0.6% methionine hydroxyl analogue free acid with 3% calcium in the diet.


    For the prevention of gout in poultry it is necessary to have:

    1.Scientifically balanced feed in respect of:
    ◦Calcium-phosphorus ration depending on the type of ration.
    ◦Vitamin A, D3 and other essential vitamins.
    ◦Required level of sodium, chloride and other ions.
    ◦Conventional sources of protein.
    2.Analyse the feed for mycotoxin content and if found positive change the feed or use suitable toxin binders.
    3.Judicious use of drugs such as antibiotics, sulpha drugs and anticoccidials to avoid kidney damage.
    4.Fresh potable water accessible to birds all the time.
    5.Copper sulphate should not be used for medication, if used should be used under the directions of a veterinarian or a poultry practitioner.

    Author/s : Sheikh Adil Hamid │ Tufail Banday Sheikh Adil Hamid Jammu and Kashmir Animal Nutritionist Tufail Banday Jammu and Kashmir Animal Nutritionist
  4. LipsChicks

    LipsChicks Chirping

    Dec 31, 2014
    North Dakota
    The rooster was only 7months old and is a Lakenvelder. I have a mixed flock and have a lot of roosters. I have a few laying hens as well as a lot or ornamentals. I'm getting very few eggs for some reason. They always have water. I've been feeding the Layena pellets. I have a feeder that holds 100pounds of feed. When I fill it I sprinkle in oyster shells and grit rather than a separate feeder. I can see where they're getting a lot of calcium. I have a few hens that are going on 2 years but the rest are younger. I'm frustrated with so few eggs. Which feed would be best?
  5. DrMikelleRoeder

    DrMikelleRoeder Chirping

    Nov 3, 2014
    Have the hens molted? Did they just shut down this winter? Did you provide extra light during the long winter days? Production may pick up as we move into spring and the days get longer. I would probably offer the grit and oyster shell separately, so they don't build up in the bottom of the feeder and get indiscriminantly eaten as part of the feed. You really don't need the oyster shell if you re feeding Layena or any good layer product unless it is very hot in the summer (when they will reduce their feed intake) or the birds are eating a significant amount of scratch grains, table scraps or other unfortified materials. Should you decide to feed something like FlockRaiser instead of a layer feed, then you will want to offer oyster shell for the hens, but the caveat is that some hens may not eat enough, and some roosters may still eat it. It is always a bit challenging to feed a mixed flock. If they free-range, you really don't need the grit, either -- they will pick up tiny stones from the ground. Is there any chance the hens are hiding their eggs? Could eggs be being eaten? How many roosters vs hens? Too many roosters can result in tension within the flock, and stress can impact laying productivity. I wish you luck!
  6. LipsChicks

    LipsChicks Chirping

    Dec 31, 2014
    North Dakota
    They might be molting but I'm really not seeing much feather loss. I have about 20 roosters and 30 hens. I know that's a lot of roosters but that's how it turned out with straight run chicks. Some are Japanese Phoenix and the males are really beautiful. They aren't free range but they are outside in a run that's attached to the coop.

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