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Unexplained Deaths in my Flock; what's going on?????

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

We've had Two deaths in two days! One 2 1/2 year old female Indian Runner, one 2 year old Pekin mix Drake.

 

Two weeks ago I bought the drake from our local feed store and introduced him to our flock of 10 female ducks, and a mated pair of Ginny fowl. We took our time with it but he had been fully accepted into the fold within a few days and everything seemed totally fine. 

 

We let our flock out of the run at first light every morning and let them wander the yard all day. On Sunday, we noticed the IR girl acting a bit lethargic, but nothing too concerning until I went to put them away that night. They were a bit far from the run and as I was herding them home, she just sort of gave up and sat down. She let me approach and pick her up, so I carried her to the run and put her in with everyone else. On Monday morning she was dead. 

 

Then today I let everyone out and all seemed normal again. Until about a few hours ago when we noticed the Drake huddled alone, away from the flock and shivering. When approached, he tried to move but struggled, flapping his wings and not really using his legs much. We picked him up and examined him; no cuts or visible signs of injury. We put him in a bath to swim for a bit and then left him in the sun. About an hour later he was dead as well.

 

 

What is going on here and what can we do? My husband and I are terrified for the rest of our flock, racking our brains trying to figure out how to proceed and if it will effect anyone else. Could they have gotten into something poisonous? If so, what can we do now? Or did the Drake perhaps introduce some disease to our flock?

 

We are still getting a ton of eggs, so I'm hopeful that's a good sign. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Duck Eggs rule, Chicken Eggs drool! Flock of 10 Layers, 2 Drakes + 1 Guinnea Boy:

Black Runners: Lolo, Solo & Flojo

Blue Runners: Zippo & Webber

Welsh Harlequins: Marco, Polo, Carol, Joan & Lucy

Pekin: Peanut

Guinnea Fowl: Brown Travis & Mama Travis

*All enjoy dive-bombing, green leafies, singing and sneaking off into the woods.

 

Follow me on Instagram: @darlingind

Reply

Duck Eggs rule, Chicken Eggs drool! Flock of 10 Layers, 2 Drakes + 1 Guinnea Boy:

Black Runners: Lolo, Solo & Flojo

Blue Runners: Zippo & Webber

Welsh Harlequins: Marco, Polo, Carol, Joan & Lucy

Pekin: Peanut

Guinnea Fowl: Brown Travis & Mama Travis

*All enjoy dive-bombing, green leafies, singing and sneaking off into the woods.

 

Follow me on Instagram: @darlingind

Reply
post #2 of 6

I'm so sorry. :hugs

 

The most common cause of sudden death in ducks is botulism. It comes from eating rotting plant or animal matter. It can kill in 3-24 hours. I would check the yard to see if there is anything they could have gotten into.

 

It is also possible the drake was already sick and your one hen had a compromised immune system and caught it. But I'm not sure what decease has these symptoms. I would keep a close eye on the rest of the flock. You might want to give them all some electrolytes and vitamins. It won't prevent them from catching anything but it might help them if they are fighting something in their systems. If possible, you might consider taking them to a vet.

 

I know it's too late now, but if you add any more birds to your flock in the future you will want to quarantine them first. I hope the rest of your flock turns out to be okay. Good luck.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you @lomine ! The Botulism theory sounds about right to me. We've had a ton of rain lately, and my husband thinks it quite possible they could have gotten into some stagnant water around the back of the yard. We also recently starting re-using a waterer that had sat outdoors for some time. It had some old leaves and water in it and I'm thinking maybe was not cleaned thoroughly enough upon re-entry.

 

We spent the last hour fencing off the front of the yard so they are now a bit more reigned in. I also throughly cleaned all their waterers and gave them a little bit of epsom salt to flush their systems. Watching them now, everything seems pretty normal again...

 

One question that's come up now is, how long should we wait to introduce a new rooster to the flock? We really wanted to grow it this year, and I know our mating window is drawing to a close...but on the other hand, I obviously want to be sure all my girls are healthy and not too stressed out before doing so. 

Duck Eggs rule, Chicken Eggs drool! Flock of 10 Layers, 2 Drakes + 1 Guinnea Boy:

Black Runners: Lolo, Solo & Flojo

Blue Runners: Zippo & Webber

Welsh Harlequins: Marco, Polo, Carol, Joan & Lucy

Pekin: Peanut

Guinnea Fowl: Brown Travis & Mama Travis

*All enjoy dive-bombing, green leafies, singing and sneaking off into the woods.

 

Follow me on Instagram: @darlingind

Reply

Duck Eggs rule, Chicken Eggs drool! Flock of 10 Layers, 2 Drakes + 1 Guinnea Boy:

Black Runners: Lolo, Solo & Flojo

Blue Runners: Zippo & Webber

Welsh Harlequins: Marco, Polo, Carol, Joan & Lucy

Pekin: Peanut

Guinnea Fowl: Brown Travis & Mama Travis

*All enjoy dive-bombing, green leafies, singing and sneaking off into the woods.

 

Follow me on Instagram: @darlingind

Reply
post #4 of 6

A rooster? You'll want to be much more cautious of introducing adult chickens. They are far more likely to carry something. I believe a good time frame for quarantine is 4 weeks. I wouldn't do any less than 2 weeks. This means no contact at all and ideally 100 feet of distance. I know that's not always possible.

 

Most domestic chickens and ducks will mate all year. I don't think you need to worry about not being able to grow your flock in that regard. You can incubate eggs any time of year.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Sorry, I meant a Drake, not a Rooster! Lol typing too fast!

 

Last year we had a Ginny hen go broody in late July...and it just gets too hot here at that time of year for a mama to be sitting in the nesting box all day! So we were trying to get things going now, before full-out summer hits. 

Duck Eggs rule, Chicken Eggs drool! Flock of 10 Layers, 2 Drakes + 1 Guinnea Boy:

Black Runners: Lolo, Solo & Flojo

Blue Runners: Zippo & Webber

Welsh Harlequins: Marco, Polo, Carol, Joan & Lucy

Pekin: Peanut

Guinnea Fowl: Brown Travis & Mama Travis

*All enjoy dive-bombing, green leafies, singing and sneaking off into the woods.

 

Follow me on Instagram: @darlingind

Reply

Duck Eggs rule, Chicken Eggs drool! Flock of 10 Layers, 2 Drakes + 1 Guinnea Boy:

Black Runners: Lolo, Solo & Flojo

Blue Runners: Zippo & Webber

Welsh Harlequins: Marco, Polo, Carol, Joan & Lucy

Pekin: Peanut

Guinnea Fowl: Brown Travis & Mama Travis

*All enjoy dive-bombing, green leafies, singing and sneaking off into the woods.

 

Follow me on Instagram: @darlingind

Reply
post #6 of 6

It will depend on your ducks on if they go broody or not. Some of them never do and some do it a lot. I'm not sure if there is a way to encourage it, haven't ever heard if there is. Runners and Pekin are not really know for being broody. You can still incubate them indoors in an incubator and raise them in the coop using the mama heating pad method if you are trying to avoid brooding inside. I know that can be a messy and stinky process. Check out this article for more information on that http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/reasons-for-tossing-out-your-indoor-brooder-and-start-raising-your-chicks-outdoors.

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