Advice being sought - Breathing Behaviours Mallard Duckling

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by NewtoDucklings, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. NewtoDucklings

    NewtoDucklings Hatching

    Sep 6, 2016
    Hello Everyone,

    Im new to rearing ducklings and to this forum. I would like to introduce my recent experience and post a question I have with regards to, Millie, my Mallard Duckling. I live in Queensland Australia.

    My partner and I recently adopted a 1 week old Mallard, whom we called Millie. We havent formally identified her gender (we understand it is a delicate procedure to do so) however we assume from her aesthetic markings, she might be female.

    Since bringing her into our home we have done a significant amount of reasearch on Ducklings to ensure we would make the right decisions and offer the appropriate responses with regards to her health and well being.

    We brought her home last Friday and have so far have had a wonderful experience rearing her at home. She is certainly lively, inquisitive and so far has shown promising signs of robust health.

    We've been keeping her in a reptile glass enclosure, with ample ventilation, a 100 watt heat lamp, and dry conditions. We have been cleaning her enclosure daily. For food we started her on unmediacted starter gaming feed. We mix this with a little water so she can consume easily and digest. We also keep a shallow plate of water (just less than 1 inch) that is deep enough for her to submerge her beak and clean her sinuses, nose, etc. We also gave her a warm bath last night in a bucket to which she responded very enthusiastically by cleaned herself and her beak etc. Outwardly she seemed content and happy.

    So far its been great and we're certainly growing an attahment to this sweet little thing.

    However only yesterday did we notice that her breathing turned slightly abnormal (not being versed in raising ducklings, this is only a presumption). When she breathes she parts her beak over so slightly open and her body also slightly raises with each breath. She doesnt look stressed, nor is she making any noises so we're not sure if this is a normal. Our initial diagnosis was panting so we reduced the heat in her enclosure. After a while the breathing condition disappeared so we thought it was heat related. But again this morning the breathing returned. It was cooller this morning so we accepted that 25 to 30 degrees was ok.

    I want to highlight that apart from this breathing action, her apetite is strong, her body is robust, she's lively and able to clean herself properly. We've always maintained that if an animal is eating, noramlly this is a sign they are not struggling with any serious medical condition. Still naturally we are worried and dont want to ignore what may be a bigger underlining issue.

    We took her to our local vet but they are not Avian specialists. Before we ring other veterinarians, or overreact (Ive personally been very upset about this) we wanted to seek advice from members of this forum, in case others have experienced this same breathing condition with their ducklings.

    We would greatly appreciate any advice.

    Thank you, Susie
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Hi, Susie,

    I have not been on the forum much the last couple of days. Sorry I missed this....

    Let's see - I am used to Farenheit, so 25 to 30C is 77 to 86F, for a week-old that's about right.

    One of the paradoxes to brooding ducklings is that they need good ventilation, but no chilly drafts.

    Panting can be caused by overheating as you know. Some ducklings need a little less heat than standard recommendations. Panting can also be caused by nervousness. If she's a single duckling, she could be feeling some anxiety especially when left alone. An unbreakable mirror would help, and a washable stuffed toy with nothing that she can bite off and swallow on it.

    Longer term, a ducky buddy or two would probably be best unless you are in the position of being able to be her constant (really, like always) companion for her lifetime.

    Have you seen the Sticky on Raising Ducklings? Some good advice there.
  3. NewtoDucklings

    NewtoDucklings Hatching

    Sep 6, 2016
    Thank you so much for your reply Amiga.

    I also thought this might be the reason behind her breathing (or panting). I couldn't find any videos on a duckling panting only adult ducks so I had nothing to compare it to.

    I took your advice re: the toy. She took to it immediately and is snuggled up. You could be spot on about the anxiety so will bear this in mind. We definitely want her to have a happy upbringing so if this entails some duckling mates, we're happy to take on the responsibility.

    By the way Ive uploaded 4 separate videos to youtube so you can view Millie's breathing etc. All 4 videos were taken yesterday.


    Eating, cleaning:

    Please mind the state of her enclosure. I had spent 30 mins cleaning and wiping and changing her bedding only for her to make an absolute mess eating her starter meal shortly afterwards.

    Warm regards, Susie

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