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Scruffy duck, skipping eggs, thin shell eggs

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

She is nearing one year old and hasn't had a molt past the one from teen to adult. She is looking really, really scruffy and fluffs her feathers a lot. I thought maybe she had mites, but her mate looks pretty like he usually does, ALTHOUGH they both have scattered feathers of a darker color which I contributed towards molting. She pretty much acts as her usual self except shows concern with the 3 week old ducks fuss because they have lost track of me. Mikey wants to kill him so he is in the pen when they are in the back yard. I've never had anything with red mites before and wouldn't know where to start looking for them. Betsy and Mikey's night pen has a dirt floor so I can imagine the headache that would be to rid it of red mites. Betsy has laid an egg a day since she started November 2015 until a week ago, then she skipped a day. I figured that was because she was going to molt. The day before yesterday she skipped a day again and today when I was wiping the debris off of her egg it broke in my hand. Normally Betsy's eggs are so tough it takes more than one knock to break them when cooking with them. I feed Purina Layena Pellets and she is free ranged in an area that provides the most wonderful fat earth worms and lots of different grass choices. The food says that it provides plenty of calcium. I just now put out some oyster shell anyway. I see that she has nibbled on that. So, what are the guesses? Mites? Molt? Calcium?

 

 

Feather Progression

 

 

My three "kids"

 

 

I *think* Betsy is the one on the right. Angel Sarah on the left, Bad Mikey in the middle. They were 9 weeks. (OK, Mikey was 8 weeks, but don't let him know you know) Angel Sarah left, Betsy leading, Bad Mikey right (running his bill as usual). They were 17 weeks. Betsy and Mikey today. Age 42 weeks.

 

I tried to make the table prettier so that the last picture showed better. Click on the pictures to see a bigger one.


Edited by spiritbrook - 4/2/16 at 9:31am

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post #2 of 5

I don't think chicken layer is a particularly good food for ducks. At least not as the only food.  If they have mites, dust them all and their coop, unless

someone else has a better idea.  I would worm them all and supplement their food with a higher protein mix as well as free choice Ca. and give either brewers yeast or some other niacin source. Good luck

post #3 of 5

I would hold off on worming until you get a fecal sample tested to see if they need it.

 

It is likely that she is calcium depleted.  Many feeds say "enough calcium," but in my experience there are ducks who simply don't metabolize it as well as others.

 

She needs a rest from laying.

 

And I suspect she is trying to slow down.  In the meantime, I would try to build her calcium levels back up, since it affects not only egg shell thickness, but also her heart and other systems (according to my vet and materials I have read).

 

For a quick calcium boost, I crush a calcium citrate tablet into powder, then sprinkle that on thawed green peas and give that.  I use a 250 mg tablet once a day for a few days, then cut down to 50 to 80 mg a day extra.

 

You can put some of the powder into their food and water as well, but treats enable me to give extra calcium to just one duck.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amiga View Post
 

I would hold off on worming until you get a fecal sample tested to see if they need it.

 

It is likely that she is calcium depleted.  Many feeds say "enough calcium," but in my experience there are ducks who simply don't metabolize it as well as others.

 

She needs a rest from laying.

 

And I suspect she is trying to slow down.  In the meantime, I would try to build her calcium levels back up, since it affects not only egg shell thickness, but also her heart and other systems (according to my vet and materials I have read).

 

For a quick calcium boost, I crush a calcium citrate tablet into powder, then sprinkle that on thawed green peas and give that.  I use a 250 mg tablet once a day for a few days, then cut down to 50 to 80 mg a day extra.

 

You can put some of the powder into their food and water as well, but treats enable me to give extra calcium to just one duck.

OK on the worming. Her poo has been very green lately, owing in part to the fact that they have been out in the front yard eating yummy green grass. They both have watery poo with all the components - white and brown. Have seems perfectly happy though. I wish they were more like my hens poo. I have considered mixing in some flock raiser to see if it helps.

 

I put a pile of oyster shell out and I have seen the powder places where she has eaten a little each day - more than a bill full each day.

 

She doesn't like peas, or lettuce, or berries, or a lot of things people say their ducks like. Only freeze dried meal worms and pond fish food (the one with the big koi on the cover) in that order.  Her children already like peas and other things. I decided that I would do it right with them. Fuzzy even likes to sit quietly in my lap and nibble my arm. I'm still looking for a home for him and Berry, I think they will be boys. She stands by the gate and quacks if they are fussing, I don't know if that would affect her.

 

I didn't crack today's egg to see if it was thin, at least it didn't break in my hand when I was polishing off the debris with my t-shirt. I'm not sure if a person can see if it is thin shelled without cracking it. How is the world do you encourage a duck to quit laying? Or get her to start again after a break? Unless she does lay occasionally I would be worrying myself silly that she is egg bound.

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post #5 of 5
It is somewhat involved, but keeping them in the dark can stop laying. They don't generally lay when sitting eggs.

It is not always the easiest thing. I would provide nutritional supplements and keep a close eye on her.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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