Cause of Death

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by mandelyn, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    So my favorite duck passed away today. I was so confused by her symptoms and how quickly she went down hill, husband and I did a necropsy since it wasn't some sort of mystery illness.

    Cause of death was from a perforated crop and subsequent damage caused by stomach contents leaking into the body cavity, due to a large piece of wire/fence bit. It isn't the kind of fence we used to build, so she must have found it in the yard from someone else's project or something from before we moved here. It's a really thick gauge, don't know why she would have thought to eat such a thing. I can't tell what it came off of, it's as thick as field fence.

    Also in her crop was a piece of white ceremic and two bits of glass but they didn't look problematic. It was that giant piece of metal sticking up out of her crop when I opened her up that gave it away.

    So, today's lesson is make sure your entire free range area is free from wire, glass, and anything else that isn't leaf or grass or dirt. I walk the yard all the time, but missed that. Going to barrow FIL's metal detector though and keep the other ducks locked up until I know I've picked up everything from every square inch. It's not like we live in a junk yard, but it's a 100 year old house where part of the back yard was an alley back in the day. So apparently there's enough debris left back there to kill a duck.

    I feel like poo now, it was totally preventable if I had set up a sifting machine and ripped all the topsoil up and sifted through the entire surface area of the yard to find everything dangerous before replacing all the dirt and throwing grass seed, long before getting any ducks. Ugh. What's that saying? ____ happens?

    Why did it have to be the favorite hen, the only one old enough to lay eggs right now? This is exactly why I kept two males, in case something happened. Now I'm short a female.
  2. heatherindeskies

    heatherindeskies Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2010
    SE Minnesota

    Sorry for your loss. It was very unusual... even if you had scoured the yard with a metal detector, you may have missed it. It was an freakish thing, do not beat yourself up over it.
  3. bayyjayy

    bayyjayy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2011
    I agree with the above post.

    I can feel your frustration through your post.....I imagine I would feel the exact same way losing my only female, and one that I loved to boot.

    I feel so bad for you......hugs your way.
  4. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Well I have 5 left, 3 girls and 2 boys. It's just when something like that happens over human garbage.. it's frustrating. I've always spent time grabbing random trash out of every yard we've ever had, ducks or no ducks trash bothers me. She must have sifted long and hard to find that though, it was decent sized and not something I miss.

    I mean, this is how OCD I am, I take a bucket and a scooper to get dog doo once a week, and I grab everything else too, sticks, candy wrappers from the kid next door that blow through the fence, anything. Once a week. When we first moved in here, I filled up 2 garbage bags. When we got the chickens I went over everything again knowing how they are about grabbing shiny things.

    Husband said I can buy hatching eggs if I need to. He said the brooder has been too quiet.
  5. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2010
    Western Mass
    Sorry for your loss [​IMG]

    Our house was built in 1766 and in the part of the yard where I have the run, I am constantly picking up old nails, screws, and bits of glass and ceramic. The chickens and ducks scratch and dig for whatever they can find. I have found large shards of glass in the bottom of the pool, along with sticks and rocks. Don't blame yourself, it is their nature to forage and see what they can find.
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Oh, no.

    I have the same concern - that something I've missed will end up in a duck and kill her.

    I also scout the areas where the ducks go, but I sometimes wonder if someone walks through our property overnigh tossing odd things here and there. I found a headlight one day. I am happy to report it was intact. Sheesh. I have gone over the area closest to the house with a super strong magnet and picked up pounds of nails, staples, etc. I have raked through soil to pick up shards of glass and plastic, and aluminum nails and screws. And our house was built in the 1960's.

    Things work their way up from deeper down, so an area that seemed clean a year ago may produce another piece of hardware.

    You did what you could do. And you will continue to look out for your ducks. Sometimes there's too much, too hidden, to prevent sorrows.
  7. Tivona

    Tivona Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2011
    Sorry about your duck [​IMG]

    I lost a duck this summer from something that poisoned her. I searched and searched trying to find anything that would have caused it and never did find anything. I know it was poison as her poop was runny and so green it almost glowed. I always thought it would be a predator that slipped in during the day when they free ranged or a piece of junk like what happened to yours. I spent ages cleaning up the yard when I moved in including going over it with a powerful magnet on a pole but I am still finding stuff. [​IMG] I agree with Amiga, you did what you could. There is no way to be absolutely sure that they won't find something that will hurt them. We can only do the best we can, and hope for the best.
  8. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    I looked at the piece again, it's actually a staple that's a little over an inch long! Not fence like I thought. A giant staple that lost the fold when it got into her system. Folded back into shape, she sure could swallow that easy. Staples we don't use since we use little ones and U nails or screws with washers. This is like the kind they put on wooden shipping crates.

    Feeling better now, just needed it to set in that she really is gone, and that it really isn't my fault, because you can't control what things are going to come up out of the ground when you were not the first one to be on that ground.

    But I know what I'll be doing tomorrow. Another thorough sweep of the area. Luckily our yard is only about 80x120 in back. They have 6 inches of gravel over top of a liner in their run, they're safe there.

    The chickens sure find some fun stuff though, every day when I scoop their run there's glass or porcelain or ceramic. Not sure how it comes up through 5-6 inches of sand, but it does.
  9. pekinsRus

    pekinsRus Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2011
    My thoughts & prayers are with you. I will much more observant for objects where ours range!!
  10. duckielub

    duckielub Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 20, 2011
    I'm so sorry for you! How heartbreaking. [​IMG] I'm very impressed that you had the nerve to cut her open and find out what it was. I know it's a terrible loss for you, but just posting this may have saved some little duck out there (like mine). I almost didn't look at your post, but I'm so glad I did. We just put our house here 3 years ago and I am always finding little nails, staples, etc. I had no idea a duck would eat that stuff.

    We also shattered our Honda's front window with a rock while mowing. Took forever to get the glass up out of the grass. Now I'm thinking maybe I'd better go out there with the shop vac and give it another run.

    I guess that needs to be a class in Duck Raising 101. In the past couple of years that I have been researching ducks, I've never read anything like that. I can't even get mine to eat a peice of canned asparagus - who would have thought a staple?

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