Adolescent ducks missing chest feathers (a.k.a. Crazy Teenaged Ducks showing off their Breasts!)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Kerath, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Kerath

    Kerath In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    I have a group of ducklings that were born the last week of November. They are a mixed bag of WH, runners, and buffs. They feathered out nicely a couple weeks ago, but I started to notice that some were missing feathers right along the breast bone. Now I have a number of them who have nothing but down on their entire chest.

    They are the most crazy, nervous batch of ducks I've ever raised. Could stress in ducks cause chest plucking? Could this be some kind of parasites? They are housed right next to my adult flock and none of them are showing any feather loss. Any ideas?

  2. Could be they are moulting into their adult plumage... maybe. They could be suffering from blistering.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Pictures sometimes help.

    How much space do you have per bird? Crowding can cause feather plucking and eating.

    That's just my first guess.
  4. Kerath

    Kerath In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    They have a good bit of space but they are so nervous they spend most of their time in one enclosed area. They also get out to graze in the pasture a few days a week. I've never had a batch so crazy. Usually they go thru a nervous period as they are getting their first set of feathers, but this is just ridiculous.

    Yesterday I spread a good layer of DE over the floor of their pen and put down hay in case it's mites or some kind of contact skin problem with the flooring. It was mostly gravel and sand.

    What is blistering?
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    3 months. I think it is possible that they are going into their molt. It's a bit early, but the days are getting longer and the light might be triggering the molt. It's possible that the drakes are practicing their breeding activity, which also might rub off feathers that are getting loose preparing for a molt.

    Lice and mites are a possibility, but pretty rare on ducks if ducks can get into clean water. I don't think losing breast feathers is normally the first sign of mites. Not saying that's not it, but probably not the most likely cause. Check around their vents and under their armpits in good light.

    As for temperament, I bought a box of ducklings from a hatchery last spring and they were teetering on the brink of mass hysteria 24 hours a day. My son called them The Nut Cases. It was not the way they were raised because some show ducklings raised at the same time in the same way were really calm and are still really calm.

    I was very happy when The Nut Cases went to the freezer because it wasn't pleasant to be around them. Temperament is something they are born with and doesn't seem to get much better as they get older.

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