Broken feathers and molting - again?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by newbyduckmom, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. newbyduckmom

    newbyduckmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Snohomish County, WA
    I am continuing to have trouble with my Khakis two drakes and looking wet. It's just my Khakis, the Magpie drake who is in the same house with them is fine.

    Now I notice broken feathers on them and they appear to be starting to molt (again)? Losing the smaller downy type feathers instead of larger ones. Not sure if they are losing weight or it is just feather loss. Still active and happy otherwise it seems.....

    No sign of mites that I can see and have examined them very closely (amazed that they let me), and they do not seem to want to go into the big pond with the other ducks. They will go in the small kiddie pool, but not the natural pond.

    This has been going on since late October. And although their feathers (the larger ones) seem to be filling in, they are really slow. And now larger feathers are showing breaking and molting the smaller feathers.

    Been feeding them eggs, dog kibble, peas, scratch, black sunflower seeds, and oatmeal in addition to the Flockraiser. They won't eat anything but the flockraiser and peas. [​IMG] May have to go get some meat bird feed or some such thing to get them more protein.

    Really at a loss here. Could they be molting again?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Just a guess and a gut reaction they're either not processing nutrients well or may have picked up a virus or something? I suppose it could be something hereditary . . . I hope someone on the forum has seen this before. sheesh.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. duckdad

    duckdad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dose their water with a capfull of apple cider vinegar in a qt of water and add vitamins . It takes a week or two for results to be obvious but it works. My little mallard hen was as ragged as an old towel when I got her, so I did the treatment and she grew in new feathers and filled out and healed up nicely. I was able to see improvement about a week later in her demeanor and appearance. Adjust the ducks diet to more fresh greens and less processed feed. Use a feed thats got the required 18% protein for ducks to thrive. If they are "looking wet" that may be the oil gland over-producing or injured from fighting. If they 'preen' as they should they would be spreading the oil everywhere. Its a dry oil that you can feel...not wet but it is shiney.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Speceider

    Speceider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks have 2 body molts and 1 wing molt per year.

    Clint
     
  5. newbyduckmom

    newbyduckmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Snohomish County, WA
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  6. duckdad

    duckdad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 4, 2011
    Quote:yes.


    Its at the base of the back near the tail under the skin. its more like a bump that you can feel if you rub your finger in that area. There should be enough oil at that spot to get some on your finger tip...not wet with oil but enough to see.

    When I used to let the little ones splash around in the bathtub they would leave the worst ring around the tub....from the oil that was on the body and feathers.
    I do not know of how to treat or even diagnose the 'preen gland' other than a dirty bird that might have one thats plugged up and unable to spread the oil around..then a bath takes care of that.
    If you feel that yours are too wet with their natural oils....perhaps a gentle warm water bath would help get them back in balance.

    I even used a couple drops of dish soap on mine when they got poo or something else all over their feathers that would not rinse off. If you DO use a small amount of soap, be certain to rinse real well. A shower massage sure helps with this...

    Dish soap is how coastal rescue birds get cleaned when they encounter an oil spill...Dawn dish soap is the preferred brand and they actually donate their product to the rescue sites for bird bathing.

    Hope this helps
     
  7. newbyduckmom

    newbyduckmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Snohomish County, WA
    Thanks for all the information. I think I may have found the oil gland on the worst (hates humans) of the drakes. He let me examine him fine until I got really near the base of his tail then he went a little nuts. I have looked for it before but guess I was looking to high up on his back. So I am guessing we have an issue there. He's the least tame of all my ducks (and none of them are tame), so going to have to enlist some assistance to hold onto him. The other one is definitely moulting again.

    If that is what it is, I was looking too far up on the body for it.

    Oddly, found info on butchering sites that helped me find it.....

    Someday I will actually know what I am doing with these birds, right?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  8. RunnerWhisperer

    RunnerWhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    We live in the same area and mine are molting for the first time. I have feathers everywhere!! They look dirty because they have all of these feathers sticking out around their heads.
    I checked mine over well too and no bugs at all!!! I keep their pen clean which is harder now that it's wetter so I use a lot of straw which has to be raked more because it get's pretty poopy. They bathe regularly and have fresh water twice a day, great diet and their oil glands are fine. I like to watch them preen after their bath, and when it rains they have their oil resistant sheen on working just fine. I think it's just the weather here. It's super mild so far this winter so I think their clocks are a bit behind maybe!? Mine stopped laying eggs too. At first I thought that losing their feathers right now is the wrong time of year because it the cold season, but really it isn't that cold here yet.
     
  9. newbyduckmom

    newbyduckmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Snohomish County, WA
    I seriously just had a bonding moment with a duck that absolutely hates humans. I brought Watson inside and let him have a warm bath. Sprayed his tail feathers with warm water. Checked his old gland, oily, no inflammation, crusting, any sign of irritation. Fingers were well oiled after examining him. Watson loved it. He had a blast in his warm bath. Then I took him out of the bath and sat him on my lap and checked the gland etc. He sat on my lap without being held and preened his feathers. It was pretty cool! Of course, I now have to clean the bathroom from the ceiling down.....but at least I know the gland appears okay, no sign of critters. (and no I know where to find it for future reference!) Got some Nutri-dench to start them on and a head of cabbage for tonight's treat. Gave him a treat of peas - which he wouldn't touch inside the house and his buddies finished off quickly outside. Think Watson got one or two maybe...he may be aggressive otherwise, but eating he is not. Thanks for the information folks. At least I have a pretty good idea that the gland is okay, and there are no critters. May have a spoiled duck though!

    Darned ducks [​IMG]
     
  10. RunnerWhisperer

    RunnerWhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:How funny!! I often thought about doing that with mine but I haven't yet. One I'm not sure how smooth things would go??? [​IMG] and two they may get use to it and want it daily!? lol Cute very cute! Ducky lovins!![​IMG] Rare but enjoyed aspirations of love from our ducks!
     

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