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Wry Tail

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm looking on some information on wry tail, in ducks. There is almost nothing about it anywhere that I search so I'm hoping people who raise ducks may have had some experience with it and can tell me about it.

 

A little background: we hatched 11 ducks from a friend's hatching eggs two years ago. They all had the same father, a Pekin drake, but they had two different mothers: a cayuga and a pekin. We have 6 cayuga-crosses hatch, and 5 pekins. One of our pekins was born with wry tail, two others didn't make it, and two more were males that we culled last year because they were beating too much on the females.

 

The one with wry tail was named Gimpy. He was a male and would get picked on by the two pekin males. The cayuga drake never bothered him and he got along with the females fine. His tail was off to the right side, and there was two twists in his spine: one bulged out to the right near his neck and curved back to the normal area, and then curved again to the right down below. He had trouble walking and would often injure his feet and legs. He could not get in the pool to swim and was very defensive and bit us when we tried to help, so he'd often have foam near his eyes. He died last spring, from apparent heart failure.

 

My best guess is that wry tail is a genetic problem. Most likely, recessive, or there would be a lot more information about it. If that's the case, it's likely his mother and father were both carriers of the gene, which means all of our ducks might be carriers because of them having the same father.

 

We are not planning on breeding our ducks, although a friend asked if we would be willing to give her some fertilized eggs from our ducks so she could raise them - I said it would be a bad idea because her ducklings may hatch with wry tail.

 

Anyone have more information on it? Or seen it first hand and might be able to offer what kind of genetic nature it has? None of our other pekins had it. The two ducklings who died were healthy, just didn't thrive. The female pekin we have left is also healthy. Maybe it is more common in male ducks, making it a sex-linked trait (carried on the X chromosome given by the mother, not the father, which would mean our cayugas aren't carriers).

 

Also, for those who aren't familiar with wry tail: is it a (usually considered) genetic deformity that causes an abanormal twist, curve, or bulge in the spine that presents itself as a tail curved off to one side. It has varying severities, from ducks being almost unaffected by it, to ducks being completely incapable of walking. In the middle ground on both ends are ducks who walk with a limp or a severe limping gait. In Gimpy's case, it was a severe limp and his spine moved with each step he took with his right like (his spine twisted to the right). Most breeders will cull ducks who display the trait and the parents that duck was born to in order to 'breed it out of the gene pool'.

 

Not to be confused with scoliosis which also effects ducks - most commonly Pekins.

 

Edit: I forgot birds have opposite genetics as us, with the males by homozygous (such as XX) and females being heterozygous (such as XY). So switch those words around a bit..


Edited by arrowti - 4/21/16 at 6:33am
post #2 of 7

Story's Guide to Raising Ducks has a section on wry tail, I think...

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 #3 of 7
I have seen it in a flock where the breeder was inbreeding as well as linebreeding so I am guessing that contributes to it since I have not had it in our flock. I am more conscientious than most when it comes to diversifying genetics because we have ducks out of a limited gene pool and I want to keep their genetics as diverse as possible in order to avoid recessive deformities popping up.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'll have to buy that book sometime... maybe when I order a bunch of books next month!

 

I'm not sure where the woman we got the hatching eggs from got her ducks. I think it was a hatchery. I have been reading a lot of contradictory information about it, buy inbreeding and the like does have a tendency to cause mutations. I wouldn't want to raise ducklings from brother and sister parents for many reasons including genetic variety. It would be nice to breed it out of the population. Any offspring from our ducks would be inbred, as they share the same father, so I would avoid it if possible. And likely all carriers, the more I think about it. :/

post #5 of 7

Wry tail (and I have talked to Dave Holderread extensively about this topic) is usually caused from one of 3 things

1. Tough hatching- the position in the egg and length of time it takes for them to hatch can cause wry tail in ducklings. Some will come right out of it, others are stuck with it permanently. 

2. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in adult birds- this can cause issues in ducklings that hatch (if they even make it to hatching). 

3. Injury- injuries that can cause them to have permanent wry tail, usually due to a spinal issue

 

It is unknown if it is genetically passed to offspring as there isn't much extensive research that has been done solely on wry tail in ducks. Mainly because they are culled and not used for breeding (birds with deformities shouldn't be bred in the first place). 

NPIP CERTIFIED! Al's Quackery is a small waterfowl farm in Southern Maine. I raise ducks, ducklings, geese, goslings and sell hatching eggs.
Ducks: Anconas (Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lavender, Lilac and Silver),  Muscovy (barred in black, blue, chocolate and combo, ripples in dark, chocolate, and blue shades, lavenders, and looneys in blue, black, chocolate and lilac)

Call Ducks: pied / magpie...

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NPIP CERTIFIED! Al's Quackery is a small waterfowl farm in Southern Maine. I raise ducks, ducklings, geese, goslings and sell hatching eggs.
Ducks: Anconas (Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lavender, Lilac and Silver),  Muscovy (barred in black, blue, chocolate and combo, ripples in dark, chocolate, and blue shades, lavenders, and looneys in blue, black, chocolate and lilac)

Call Ducks: pied / magpie...

Reply
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the information. Gimpy was our last duckling to hatch even though he pipped right in the beginning. We were worried he wouldn't hatch at all since it took so long. When he was born we noticed his tail/oil gland was strange - for weeks it was all wet, ruffled looking, and greasy. Eventually, with the addition of various greens, vitamins, and niacin, that went away, but his crooked tail and limp remained permanent, and when he became an adult, it happened again because he couldn't even reach his oil gland to preen himself. Fortunately there are no deformities with our other ducks, other than being fat, they are perfectly healthy. As far as I knew their parents were also healthy, although the cayuga mother was grabbed by a hawk last spring.

 

Still weary about ever giving hatching eggs from our ducks to someone - unless we got another drake from a new family line added to the flock.

 

Finally another person from Maine!

post #7 of 7

Yes! Southern Maine :)

Not many "Mainers" on here 

NPIP CERTIFIED! Al's Quackery is a small waterfowl farm in Southern Maine. I raise ducks, ducklings, geese, goslings and sell hatching eggs.
Ducks: Anconas (Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lavender, Lilac and Silver),  Muscovy (barred in black, blue, chocolate and combo, ripples in dark, chocolate, and blue shades, lavenders, and looneys in blue, black, chocolate and lilac)

Call Ducks: pied / magpie...

Reply

NPIP CERTIFIED! Al's Quackery is a small waterfowl farm in Southern Maine. I raise ducks, ducklings, geese, goslings and sell hatching eggs.
Ducks: Anconas (Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lavender, Lilac and Silver),  Muscovy (barred in black, blue, chocolate and combo, ripples in dark, chocolate, and blue shades, lavenders, and looneys in blue, black, chocolate and lilac)

Call Ducks: pied / magpie...

Reply
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