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Discussion in 'Ducks' started by MotherGoose 777, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. MotherGoose 777

    MotherGoose 777 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    Hello all,

    I'm hoping someone can help with some information. Today I noticed that one of my ducks has what appears to be a cataract over one eye. The eye is completely pale and milky-looking. I checked them all and one other duck has some problem as well ... I couldn't catch her to see exactly what's going on, but the feathers around her eye are a bit ruffled and the eye appears to be closed. It MAY even be missing. :(

    These ducks are mixed breed, they appear to be primarily Rouen and buff. There were also runners in the breeders' mix. I got ten ducklings from them almost a year ago, which grew into one drake and nine ducks (happy drake!). I kept the drake and 5 ducks. Two of them (which seem to be buff/runner mixes) have been broody. One of the Rouen/buffs seemed to be going broody 2 days ago. She has taken an interest in a small coop I used to keep baby guineas in and has been spending time in there.

    They are free-ranged with various geese and muscovies. I also have chickens, goats, rabbits, and llama. The ducks also get into the cow pasture. They can slip under the fences, so they pretty much freer reign over several acres where the other animals are contained to their own yards/pastures. (Except the chickens and muscovies fly over if they like). They are penned at night with the muscovies and three of the geese (a large group that were raised together). Their pen is dirt-floored ... nothing grows in there. There are several coops but I no longer lock them in the coops at night, and they rarely go inside. They have swimming pools scattered around the property, one in their pen, as well as large water tubs they swim in. I feed my own mix, made primarily from whole wheat, whole oats, pearlized barley, corn chops, and sprouted grains. Everything is green now, so they have access to forage, and there were at least some bugs available all winter, and there are plenty out there now. (I live in the south - in Texas.)

    Last year one of my broody geese (different pen from the ducks, they rarely go into the goose yard) had a problem with her eye for a short time. It was red-rimmed and she kept it closed quite a bit. There was never any cataract, and she recovered. Otherwise, the ducks, geese, and muscovies are all pretty much 100% healthy. I did supplement the ducklings with Vitamin B when they were small because I was afraid they were deficient (I was feeding commercial poultry feed then), but I think it's just that I wasn't used to the muscovies' wide stance. I do have one white muscovy drake that seems to keep a bit of a dirty underside. He doesn't get in the water, and seems quite healthy. He's just a very odd duck who is often alone, and socializes separately with the ducks, geese, and muscovies, but has chosen a runner mix duck for a mate. Her eggs have not hatched yet. Sometimes the gander gets upset when the ducks breed, and he tries to break it up. It's possible he might have damaged the ducks' eyes when I wasn't there, but I've never seen him do more than honk loudly and poke at the drake. It doesn't break up the breeding, so I don't think it's very violent.

    I've read of duck cataracts being caused by injury, vitamin E deficiency, and infection. I'm MOST concerned about any infection that could spread to others, of course. I read (not sure how reliable) that ducks get vitamin E from corn, which I feed in lesser amounts, but I'm not sure they can be deficient. I haven't read of any parasites to cause cataracts.

    Any thoughts, info? I've always had my waterfowl to be very healthy -- I'm not used to dealing with health problems in them. I want to head this off if anything is going on, and help the affected ducks if I can. These two are some of my favorites.

    Thanks so much!
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    99% certain that your ducks have foam over their eyes. Give them some deep clean water to wash their faces and eyes and it will go away.
  3. MotherGoose 777

    MotherGoose 777 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    Thanks. I surely hope it's that simple. I've never heard of or seen them getting foam over their eyes?

    Anyway, the first thing I did after I saw that (and failed at catching the ducks) was to clean out all the places they have water (there are a good many and all are deep) and make sure the water in every one of them was clean, in case there is some bacterial or parasite involved. They took off for the far pasture, so I don't know yet whether it will help. Thank you!

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