One hundred 6-week-old susceptible cockerels were inoculated with a pathogenic strain of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) and kept in the same pen as 100 each of 6-week-old pullets, local chickens and broilers. The cockerels developed depression and diarrhoea on day 3 post inoculation (PI) and most of the pullets and some of the local chickens and broilers showed similar signs on day 4 PI. Loss in weight was severe and similar in the pullets and local chickens, being significantly greater than that in the broilers from days 3-11 PI. The total mortality was 85%, 66.7%, 30% and 20% for the pullets, cockerels, local chickens and broilers, respectively. The lesions were more severe in the pullets and local chickens than in the broilers. IBDV antigen and antibody were detected, respectively, in all the bursal and serum samples from the infected chickens tested. The contact exposure method used in this study simulates better what happens in nature than inoculation with IBDV. The reduced mortality observed among the local chickens, compared with that (61.5%) seen in earlier studies using intraocular inoculation of IBDV, may have been due to behavioural differences that tend to result in their ingesting a relatively low dose of the virus.