18 Week Old Harlequin Not Walking


9 Years
11 Years
Jul 12, 2010
North Eastern Arizona
I have advised many people on this forum about niacin deficiencies in ducklings, and now I have a problem with one of my own ducks and want to get opinions from you all. I think I might be a niacin deficiency but want to make sure.

Our duck, Sugar, is almost 18 weeks old. This morning when we opened up the coop to let the ducks out Sugar could not walk. She managed to get out the door by flapping her wings and pulling herself along. According to my son, when he put the ducks in last night she was fine. I have her in the tub and she seems to be doing well in there. She is grooming herself, and flapping her wings. You know, all the stuff they do when swimming. She is a little shaky but I think it's because she is by herself. I felt her legs and I didn't feel any broken bones. But they felt week, flimsy, spongy, limp like. I don't know if that make sense. She seems like she is a little thinner than she was two weeks ago. I had eleven others that came with her from Holderreads, and they are doing well. Plus, I have six other ducks that are in the same pen but fenced off from her and they seem to be doing fine. They all eat Purina Flock Raiser and Veggies. I try to clean their pool out every day so that they have clean swimming water. It has been raining here a lot so get does get muddy in the pen but will dry out between rain storms.

The only thing that has changed is we recently sold off two of the Harlequins that came with her. However, she is still with the nine others. My gut is telling me niacin deficiency. I will start her on a vitamin pack that I got from Metzers and see if that helps. Let me know what you think. Can ducks at her age have a niacin deficiency?

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Well unlike other animals ducks can't synthesize niacin one bit, so I'd imagine it's possible.... My duckies get a ridiculous bug buffet every day, and they sometimes even get almond meal (and baby cereal) so I don't have any supplements. I should grab some soon just to have in the vet emergency cabinet though.
My duckling is 3 months old and I am still putting brewers yeast on his food. I'll use the one pound can up and hopefully he'll not need it after that. I don't think it would hurt to put her on it.
How is she today?
Thanks guys. Miss Lydia, She was doing better until I had to leave for the weekend. Up until then I had been giving her vitamins in her water and feeding her extra peas, lettuce, etc. and she was actually standing and walking. She had even put on weight. I thought she had recovered but because I was gone and she did not get the extra attention needed she is back to her sickly self. It must be that she is going to need extra supplements for a while. I don't mind as long as she recovers and I can put her back with the rest of the flock. Unfortunately, I didn't separate her from the Saxony drakes in time and one has fallen in love with her. During the day he will sit next to her with a fence in between them. I will have to break his heart because I can't keep them together. He is way too big for her. I am in the process of converting a kids playhouse into a Harlequin home where all of my Harlequins will move into soon. Hopefully, there won't be too much heartache. For now I bring her in with one of my Saxony ducks at night, as I have no other secure place to keep her but in the house. At least she is not depressed because she is around other ducks. I am hopeful she will have a full recovery.
sounds like it to me. And yes, until they are full blown adults, they are at risk of it. I also use the avian vitamin packs, just way easier for me to put it in their water and know what they are getting than a lot of the other remedies.
If caught early, she should bounce back or show signs of improvement in 2-3 days and a 2 -3 week over all recovery time. If caught late and she's already crippled or bow legged, she'll most likely stay that way, treatment all depends on how quick you catch it. Fortunately, it's not to terribly common. That being said, this is why 1 bird can get it and 200 others in the brooders or pens are just fine, even on the same diet. Just like angel wing, some will get it, some wont.

Good luck to you and keep those vitamins ( with the niacin obviously) in there for her

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