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sick duck

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have a 2 month old Welsh Harlequin duck who's doing poorly today.  We were on vacation last week, with a neighbor caring for the ducks, so I have no idea how long this may have been coming on, or if it's totally sudden.


She's been staggering around like a drunk all day, but oddly, refusing to sit down even when the others do.  Also not holding her head up like the others, and a droopy tail.  Her white feathers have a somewhat yellow cast to them, but the other ducks do too, to a lesser degree, so maybe not related.  

I let her have a swim earlier in case it was due to the heat, and she perked up enough to try to preen while in the pool, but then seemed freaked out enough by the way this threw off her balance that she froze and couldn't seem to figure out to twist her head back around.  Either that or she was really stuck that way.

I thought she was going to need to be carried inside tonight, but once the last of the others found the gate, she was right after him, keeping up and went up and down the two steps to get into the garage more nimbly than many of the others.  Then, immediately, started stumbling again.  


I have her in a too-small cat carrier right now to isolate her from the others.  She seems terribly stressed out, and the way she's stumbling around, she keeps crashing into the walls, flipping over, and not having enough room to right herself.  Is there any way to help with the stress?  I know I need to keep her away from the others, both to keep them from getting sick and so she doesn't get trampled, but the stress can't be good for helping her get better.  The other ducks are caged in the garage at night.  I have the sick one inside, thinking that this would be less stressful than if they could all see each other but not get together.  Is that true, or should I put her on the other side of the garage?


Thanks for any help!!



post #2 of 9

Oh no, I'm so sorry your duck is sick! I don't have much experience w/ ducks- could it be infectious serositis? I have no idea how common that is. Best of luck to both of you!

post #3 of 9  I wasn't sure if this was helpful or not... but here ya go!

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I can't find anything about infectious seriositis other than a very medical definition that I don't have the degree required to understand!  What are the symptoms?

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Okay - so, just how much is isolating her really helping, given that she was looking really sorry by the time I realized there was a problem and managed to find a place to quarantine her?

I ended up moving her to the flock's night cage when they went out this morning, figuring that I'd need to wash it before they come back in, but she was so cramped in the cat carrier that there was no way to observe her balance - she just didn't have room to try to go anywhere!  And food/water wasn't going to happen in there.  Seemed like the only solution that could happen in a timely enough manner.


But they can hear each other, and are making SUCH a racket.  We're in a neighborhood where the ducks themselves are okay, but noise issues could trigger official complaints that might make them no longer welcome, so I'm a bit worried about the quacking.  If only the sick one were a boy!


She's seeming wobbly enough still that I would worry about trampling in the close quarters of the night cage, but the daytime space is roomy enough that I don't feel concerned about that.  Just about the possibility of seven more sick ducks.  But then, if they've all been seriously exposed already, is the quarantine going to help that?  

post #6 of 9

I found the description  of infectious serositis a.k.a. "new duck disease" on this website:


As for the quarantine- I haven't had enough first hand experience with duck illness to know how long it takes for afflicted ducks to show symptoms or what the likelihood is that it's contagious vs. isolated.

post #7 of 9

Hmm- have a look at this thread:  If it's niacin related, I would think she could be with the flock so long as you made sure she wasn't trampled and the whole gang would benefit from the dietary addition.

post #8 of 9

One of my runner ducklings was hunched up. It was really uncharacteristic of her. She just hobbled about and didn't seem to have the energy to preen. The head was sunk and the tail has droopy and she looked like it was uncomfortable to sit down. Later on that day she shook her head violently and a load of gunk came out of her mouth including some material which looked like it could have clogged her up. Since then she has been healthy and happy. 


I hope this helps.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Sadly, I think she had a stroke.

She was starting to seem a little stronger, so I took her outside near the other ducks, but they started to peck at her and I rushed in to rescue her - but she didn't want my help and flung herself out of my arms.  That was two days ago and she's seeming in really rough shape.  Starting to think she's not gonna make it.  :(

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