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Sudden onset of symptoms and death of duck - plant poison?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Ive searched the web and cant find anything definite. I wondered if you may have heard of symptoms like these.

Yesterday I arrived home and my two Pekin juveniles were acting normally and free ranging. Within ½ I noticed one of the ducks not moving. Upon picking him up, I noticed he was limp, disoriented and seemingly having trouble breathing. I immediately took him inside, got a light bulb on him for some extra warmth, and started observing him. He got more and more lethargic, to the point of not being able to lift his head. He sounded like he was gurgling, so I inverted him and lots of liquid came out. Within 20 minutes, I noticed my other duck showing the same initial symptoms. I brought him/her inside and started to observe and the progression was the same. Sadly, within an hour or so, one of my ducks had died. It seemed to me to be caused by suffocation and then heart failure. This is only a guess, but based on my dealings with people whove died of lung disease, the symptoms seemed similar, only far more rapid. My other duck started to have trouble breathing and seemed to be gasping for air, so I did rescue breathing and it seemed to help. I wish I had thought of that for the first one, as maybe it would have helped. I thought I was going to lose the second duck too, but he has started to come around. He still wont eat or drink, and sounds very mucousy with labored breathing, but hes preening. For awhile there, he couldnt open his eyes or lift his head, so he is definitely improving.

I opened the deceased duck to see if I could find anything in his airway or intestines, but I didnt see anything obvious. Im at a loss. I want to be able to allow them to free range, but not at the expense of their lives! I dont know what caused it, so I dont know how to prevent it from happening again. Ive researched poisonous plants, as this seems the most obvious answer. I do have a few buttercups around, as well as a few foxglove plants. There is access to plenty of other plant matter, but its possible they ingested these. (Ill be aggressively removing them now).

Have any of you had any experience with this set of symptoms?

Thank you.

post #2 of 3

I have no idea but will give you a bump.


How is the other duckling doing now?


Did they run out of water and drink alot quickly?  I have read that this can cause problems.

Fowl adventures happening daily       

"Poultry- they may be your pets, they may be your hobby, they may be your livestock. But remember, if you fall down in the pen, unconscious? They WILL eat you." ~ Sally/Ranchie - we miss you.
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Fowl adventures happening daily       

"Poultry- they may be your pets, they may be your hobby, they may be your livestock. But remember, if you fall down in the pen, unconscious? They WILL eat you." ~ Sally/Ranchie - we miss you.
Reply
post #3 of 3

Im not sure, but im sorry.

If you are on the scout for toxic plants, another is Night Shade.  Its a weed that grows under trees and shady areas and has tiny white flowers and clumps of green (immature) and dark blue/black (mature) berries.  My puppy ate a few leaves and it affected her neuro system...she had severe muscle spasms and seizures, stiffness, and high temp...we almost lost her.  And there was nothing that could be done but treat symptoms...and it took days.  So beware!!

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