Advice about long-term care for a mostly lame drake

mahuti

In the Brooder
Oct 13, 2021
6
25
19
Hey there folks. Sorry in advance for the long post. Background: We have several ducks here... we've had ducks now for about a year and a half, and it's been fun, but we've also had some setbacks and we've learned a lot. We currently have 4 ducks. In the past we had 2 additional ducks, one was killed by a bobcat, and one died unexpectedly at about 4 months of age. Of the 4 remaining ducks, I'd like some advice about long-term care for one of them that has some pretty severe issues.

Over a year ago, at about 2.5 months of age one of our pekin ducks, Jade, unexpectedly starting falling backwards, falling on his side, having severe breathing problems. He has a very silent quack. Basically he had all of the symptoms of botulism. We didn't expect him to live, but he has, and got mildly better than he had been at first. Over time I've come to believe that he probably either had a neurological problem that showed up at maturity, some kind of head injury, poisoning. It's hard to tell. We took him to a vet and he didn't have any fungal or bacterial infections. Basically the vet couldn't really tell me much. He isn't sick with anything obviously treatable... we did try antibiotics, but he didn't improve in any way.

So unlike our other ducks, Jade lives in the house and we try to make him as comfortable as possible. Though we can't always have him in eyeshot, he's always right in the middle of the family's comings and goings and I try to keep him close when I'm working so he doesn't get lonely. He can walk, though he is very unsteady on his feet. He has a lot of eye and nose drainage, but seems to see just fine. He sometimes has breathing issues, but that comes and goes and I try to give him some VetRX to soothe him when he does. I love to get him in the water, he really enjoys it. Though he favors one side when he swims, when he is in the water it's hard to tell he has problems. We keep jade in a bin that's big enough to move around in, but small enough that there isn't a ton of room for him to fall over. He often likes to stand, but it's pretty common for him to lean a bit against the side of the bin when he does. Depending on how active he is, I still have to tip him up from time to time. He seems to enjoy being in the yard, but if he's out there long, he'll fall over, and he can't move well enough outside to be left alone with the other ducks in any case.

I'm just curious about any advice any of you have about special care for a lame duck like this. The vet's advice was "a duck like this could live for years, just keep him clean and comfortable" and that's what we try to do. He can't preen well. Unlike a healthy duck water doesn't just slide off of him since he can't do his preening, so we limit his bathing somewhat... I'm trying to maintain a balance of keeping him clean without him being moist all the time (even with a cool hair dryer, it's not perfect). We try to find ways of allowing him to have water and food all the time, but it's a challenge to keep him from spilling and knocking things over from his falls.

This all might sound pretty sad, but Jade eats well and seems to like hanging out with the family. When he needs attention he quacks or pokes his head out of his bin. Since I work at home he gets regular attention.

Any advice about bedding, general care, methods to get him feed without it getting mixed in with his bedding, helping him get some exercise, plans for a duck wheelchair... anything would be appreciated. He's been lame for over a year and we've been doing what we can, but I'm no expert, so any info would be appreciated.

Screenshot_20211013-015701_Gallery.jpg
 

mahuti

In the Brooder
Oct 13, 2021
6
25
19
What feed is he on? Any supplements?

Depending on availability he eats Purina duck pellets, Nutrena duck pellets, or All Flock pellets. Additionally we occasionally supplement his water with a vitamin powder. And he gets fresh fruits and vegetables pretty often.

BTW, I have a dog named Jade. 😊

My daughter named the ducks.... she later decided names like Jade, Athena, Hazel were too serious for ducks. Hah hah.

Would he benefit from one of these
I am not sure if how many are still on this thread. But it is for special needs ducks
I'll check those links out. Thank you!
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
3,031
5,436
431
Depending on availability he eats Purina duck pellets, Nutrena duck pellets, or All Flock pellets. Additionally we occasionally supplement his water with a vitamin powder. And he gets fresh fruits and vegetables pretty often.



My daughter named the ducks.... she later decided names like Jade, Athena, Hazel were too serious for ducks. Hah hah.



I'll check those links out. Thank you!
I only skimmed the story at first as I was at work. Have you ever tried adding extra niacin to his diet? It might be too late since it's been over a year, but it definitely wouldn't hurt. But, I would imagine the vet would have recommended it when her first saw Jade. So, maybe it's already been tried? If not or if you want something that is often recommended, I'd try the liquid super complex b.
I definitely would look into making him one of those slings that would help him get off of his abdomen for awhile.

Post in thread 'Leg Injury - Help needed' https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/leg-injury-help-needed.1053551/post-16149281
 
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mahuti

In the Brooder
Oct 13, 2021
6
25
19
Early on we gave him extra niacin and charcoal. I tried lots of dietary things. After the first month or two he improved enough to be able to stand again, but he has never really gotten much better. His improvement mostly seemed incidental, not connected to any one thing. Hard to know for sure.

We started working on an "off-road" wheelchair using lightweight tricycle tires, PVC and neoprene but I haven't had a chance to finish it yet. We are on design MK3 😅 Might get back into it this weekend.
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Aug 28, 2020
1,563
3,278
336
Iowa
Early on we gave him extra niacin and charcoal. I tried lots of dietary things. After the first month or two he improved enough to be able to stand again, but he has never really gotten much better. His improvement mostly seemed incidental, not connected to any one thing. Hard to know for sure.

We started working on an "off-road" wheelchair using lightweight tricycle tires, PVC and neoprene but I haven't had a chance to finish it yet. We are on design MK3 😅 Might get back into it this weekend.
What was the form of niacin? Brewers or nutritional yeast, Durvet B complex, a poultry vitamin with Niacin, human capsules? Also how was it given? Sprinkled over food/treats, diluted in water, orally via syringe, injected? To say niacin is absolutely crucial to a ducks development would be an understatement and the form along with how it is given makes all of the difference. When it comes to Pekins sprinkling Brewers/nutritional yeast over food or diluting in water simply will not cut it or be enough to see results even with a duck/waterfowl specific feed. Failure to thrive, overall weakness and inability to walk are just some of the symptoms of a niacin deficiency.
 
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