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Egg-bound duck???

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My 22-week-old Khaki Campbells are the first ducks I've ever kept.  There's been just one egg in the duck house each morning for about 2 weeks now.  Either only one girl is laying or the others are taking turns. 

For the past few mornings I've been noticing some behavior from one of the girls that has me a bit concerned.  When I let the ducks out of their house there is one girl that stays in there, looking to me like she's trying to lay an egg.  She stands there sort of hunched up, neck bending & pulling her head in.  Her bottom even seemed to have a loaded-diaper sort of shape to it. 

Today I let her stay in there for almost 20 minutes while the rest of her flock was eating/drinking/swimming in their pen.  I finally pulled her out to take a look at her bottom.  I've never tried to look at a duck's vent before, it's really hard to find amongst all those downy feathers!  The duck was none too pleased either, but when I finally found it, it seemed to look "normal" to me.  Small & puckered & dry, not swollen or red or discharging or hemmoroidal.  So I didn't want to disturb her further by trying to go spelunking down her vent.  I felt the flesh around it & didn't feel any swelling, could feel her little bones (hip? pubic?) on either side. 

After her exam she went back to her flockmates, eating/drinking/swimming as well as the rest of them. 

So what do you think?  She's our blind duck the boys named "Aflac" and she's a popular favorite of the family.  I don't want to worry or interfere unnecessarily, is this just normal pre-game warm-up for laying ducks?  I just don't want to wait too long to intervene if she does have some obstruction.  Thank you for your imput!

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post #2 of 7

It does sound like she might be having difficulty. On the other hand she is young and might be just ready to lay.
The thing is, if she is laying internally, it will be hidden until as you describe, the loaded diaper look. The duck will likewise hide ailments as a protective measure.

If you can take her to a vet, you may get some strong antibiotics to stop internal infection and give her body a chance to reabsorb the yolks. Maybe winter will slow down her laying where she can right herself. We have a duck going through this now. She is a Khaki as well.

You might try a warm soak in the tub, but unlike chickens who relax in warm water, duck tend to freak out at strange surroundings. You can also try getting some KY or other lube deep in the passage toward her back in the vent, in case it is a stuck egg.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm going to have to gamble on the theory that this is just a novice layer preparing herself for a career in egg production.  Especially since it seems all but one of the others are NOT yet laying either.  And because otherwise she is eating/drinking/acting just fine.  Just this worrisome behavior first thing in the morning.

All the other remedies you described seem too aggressive &/or expensive to apply right now to a duck who otherwise seems all right.  But are you saying that ducks are more adept at hiding their ailments?  Could I be missing some problem despite my careful observations?  What are some of the more tell-tale signs of ailment in ducks?

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post #4 of 7

You are probably right. I was just giving you info. smile

She is probably at that point in life where she is on the verge of "knowledge" and is not quite sure what to do about it.

All bottom-of-the-food chain animals will work harder to hide weakness. Predators go for the easy to catch first. Just an inbred thing.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I do thank you for it, I've been keeping chickens for a few years now but these are my first ducks.  I'm grateful to hear advice from others more experienced with keeping webfooted poultry. 

I know that everyone has their own personal boundary as to when to treat or take to a vet, and when to leave alone or cull.  I'm fortunate in having a local vet who knows & loves chickens, having raised them for years in 4-H and now judges the poultry show at our County Fair.  He will see poultry, for a fee, and will also answer many questions over the phone.  He also will see & treat exotic animals too, and once treated our sick corn snake (she recovered!)

As much as I love my birds I cannot afford to take them to the vet for any of their illnesses.  Instead, I am trying to learn about treating their ailments & injuries myself and let nature take its course with the rest.  I am also trying to familiarize myself with their normal habits, spending many enjoyable hours observing them going about their birdy business, so as to better notice the unusual behaviors of a sick chicken, & now ducks.

I've put a lot of stock in the belief that if a bird is eating/drinking/pooping/resting normally, then any other suspicious signs are probably not going to be serious.  So that's why I was concerned by your comment that "the duck will hide ailments as a protective measure".  I feared that perhaps my theory wouldn't hold true for my ducks, that they could be ailing but not showing me any signs until it was too late. 

But generally is it any more difficult to detect an ailment in a duck than a chicken?  And if so, what are some of the more tell-tale signs to look for?

It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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post #6 of 7

Sunny, may I ask where you got your Khakis from?

If you wish to be confidential about the name of the place, you pm me; but I think it would be ok to say it on the thread itself, as we are not 'badmouthing' the hatchery..........

John
 

The measure of the humanity of a nation is NOT how it treats its animals; the measure of the humanity of a nation is first and foremost how it treats its HUMANS: the weakest, the hurting, and the strong. THAT is the measure of a peoples' humanity!

http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/

http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/

 

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John
 

The measure of the humanity of a nation is NOT how it treats its animals; the measure of the humanity of a nation is first and foremost how it treats its HUMANS: the weakest, the hurting, and the strong. THAT is the measure of a peoples' humanity!

http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/

http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/

 

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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Sure, I can answer that, I got them this summer from Murray McMurray Hatchery.  They have a minimum order of 10 ducklings, and I only wanted 5 and not many more to have to sell/give away.  They arrived healthy & well & adorable, and were accurately sexed.

It's not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!
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