Prolapsed Phallus in Ducks

A brief overview of prolapsed phallus in ducks including causes, risk factors, prevention and treatment. See link for a case example in article.
By Melky · Oct 18, 2018 ·
  1. Melky
    Prolapsed Phallus in Ducks
    Penis Prolapse​

    A prolapsed phallus can occasionally occur in male ducks or drakes mostly due to trauma, over exertion during mating, or a sign of infection commonly venereal disease. Prolapsed phallus can also be seen in duck plague. Seen here

    A “prolapsed phallus is described as a condition in which a male duck's phallus (penis) remains outside of the body and is unable to retract back inside the body” (Poultry DVM, 2018b). The length of time the phallus remains outside the body is important because delayed treatment may result in a secondary bacterial infection and damage. Clinical signs of a prolapsed phallus may be swelling, redness, enlargement, dryness, ulcerations, and tissue may turn necrotic in advanced disease. Look for behavioral signs that include depression, self-imposed isolation, loss of appetite, or lack of interest in mate or socializing with other ducks. If you are experiencing a low egg fertility rate with male and female ducks, you may want to consider a prolapsed phallus. Carnaccini et al. (2016) reviewed Mycoplasma infection associated with reproductive disease in Toulouse ganders in the United States from a commercial breeder in California. The first sign was a drop in egg fertility from 65.7% to 33.9% during the first 40 days of their 2014 breeding season and on closer inspection discovered phallic deformities that prevented mating. Post mortem exam revealed yellow fibrocaseous exudate and fistulas through the wall of the penis. Lymphoid nodules were also noted in the mucosa and submucosa of the phallus as well.

    Male duck’s penis is outside of the body and has remained for several hours or more

    Clinical Signs
    Physical Exam

    Separation from flock to avoid pecking
    Topical antibiotic creams
    Systemic antibiotic
    Phallectomy (Rarely recommended unless required treatment for infection, which may be removal of affected portion of penis by a veterinarian only)
    Do not under any circumstances attempt tying off of the affected part of the penis. This is painful, inhumane, and dangerous for the duck.

    Risk factors
    Risk factors may include improper handling during vent sexing of the duck, lack of clean swimming water available, over exertion during mating, infection, genetic tendency, old age, and bullying by other ducks or drakes.

    Clean swimming water available daily is important. A kiddie pool is just fine for swimming. Replace water daily or frequently to avoid infection risk. Promoting evening swims with a small basin in shed/barn is advised as well and can be very enjoyable for your ducks. The more your duck relaxes in clean water, the more likely this will be self-limiting and rectify itself. Take precautions that water sources do not freeze up in the winter while your duck is using them. In addition to fresh water, make sure they have fresh bedding. Keep house and run areas clean. Separate males from females to avoid over exertion from mating and rest your drake. Also remove bullies from the flock. Separate any ill ducks to avoid spread of infection and seek immediate treatment through veterinary care.

    See link for case of prolapsed phallus in duck named Linda presented by Dr. Rebecca Gounaris, DVM from Fallston, Maryland

    Photo courtesy of Poultry DVM​

    Your drake’s condition may resolve on its own but if noticing this condition for several hours or more, it is important to seek immediate medical attention from your veterinarian. If suspect infection or unsure a round of antibiotics for prevention is perfectly acceptable and poses no harm to the duck. This condition usually resolves in a couple of days but can last for months. Some drakes can have this condition for the remainder of their life. It is possible for the tip of the phallus to dry and fall off causing no harm to the duck with the remaining phallus functional. It may result in a phallectomy or amputation of the phallus but your duck can still lead a very healthy life once treated. It is important to follow up with your veterinarian during the course of this condition to assure no harm to your drake. Your vet will want to monitor progress to prevent further complications.

    Carnaccini, S., Ferguson-Noel, N.M., Chin, R.P., Santoro, T., Black, P.,
    Bland, M., Bickford, A.A., & Sentíes-Cué, C.G. (2016). A novel mycoplasma sp. associated with phallus disease in goose breeders: Pathological and bacteriological findings. Avian Diseases, 60(2), 437-443.

    Gounaris, R. (2018). Linda the duck’s prolapsed phallus. Poultry DVM.

    Poultry DVM. (2018a). Duck plague. Retrieved from

    Poultry DVM. (2018b). Prolapsed phallus. Retrieved from

    The Majestic Monthly. (2007). What’s that “Thing?” The Majestic Monthly
    Newsletter, 28. Retrieved from

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