First time poster out of Arkansas. Signed up because I couldn't find a situation like this through searching.
2 and 1/2 weeks ago we bought six ducklings from TSC. It appears we have 2 Mallards, 2 Black Swedish, and 2 Welsh Harlequins. We've been using pine shavings as media, elevated their water as they've grown to keep the mess to a minimum, and have a food dish mounted to the wall of the container to keep them from stepping into it or tumping it over. We clean out their pen usually at least twice a day, three times if they somehow get their water dumped out. We keep them in the bathroom with a heat lamp and a dual exhaust fan in the window. This eliminates almost all odor from the bathroom and keeps it out of the rest of the house. They're on chick feed still, which is 24% protein, so I've been going with the rolled oats suggestion to dilute that down to around 18%. I've been putting Brewer's yeast on their food every few days and have been putting the vitamins and electrolytes in their water a 2-3 times a week because I noticed one of the Welsh Harlequins has trouble walking sometimes (this is a timid duck, it will eat without drinking because the others are hogging the water.)
Last night we had a big thunder storm with tornado warnings and sirens going off, so I went to check on the ducks. They were laying down, but I noticed that one of the WHs wasn't getting comfortable. Every time it sat/laid, it was almost like it had a whole body hiccup or spasm that raised it back up. This was happening in regular intervals of just a few seconds for about 20 minutes until it just gave up and started walking around. I got it to eat some food with BY on it (this duck is the timid one), and picked it up and put it next to the water. It drank quite a bit, then went back to lay down and the same thing kept happening. I noticed the other WH did the same thing, but less frequently. This morning, I saw one of the Black Swedish was doing it. After I showered and got dressed, they were all laying down and falling asleep except for one of the WHs that just seemed to give up trying to sleep after a bout of this--I think it was the other WH. It's like a full body belch. It goes from sitting to lifting its chest off the ground, extending its neck and standing up. Not a very quick motion. Almost like breathing or a slow burp. I have a video on my phone, but I'm not sure I have a way of posting it.
With the WHs, I don't see any neck problems, but I notice one foot standing on top of the other and what appears to be wing tremors from time to time. They're probably about 3 weeks old, feathers are coming in, and its almost impossible for me to keep their chests dry. I didn't think to turn the fan off to listen for sounds when it happens. Any suggestion or diagnosis is appreciated. Sorry for the long post, but I want to be thorough. The Welsh Harlequins are my favorite because they're so friendly and curious. I don't want to lose any ducks, but I REALLY don't want to lose either of them.
So, infection? Normal behavior at this age? Nutritional or environmental issue? Food stuck in throats?