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Sudden Death Syndrome, 'Flipover'

Extracted From:
A Pocket Guide to
Poultry Health
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By Paul McMullin
© 2004
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A condition of broiler chickens of unknown cause, possibly metabolic. It can be induced by lactic acidosis and about 70% of birds affected are males.


  • Sudden death in convulsion, most are found lying on their back.

Post-mortem lesions

  • Intestine filled with feed.
  • Haemorrhages in muscles and kidneys.
  • The atria of the heart have blood, the ventricles are empty.
  • Serum accumulation in lung (may be little if examined shortly after death).
  • Livers heavier than those of pen-mates (as a percentage of bodyweight.).


Birds found on back with lack of other pathology.


None possible.


Lowering carbohydrate intake (change to mash), feed restriction, lighting programmes, low intensity light, use of dawn to dusk simulation and avoidance of disturbance.

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