Cayuga Drake died in less than two days--worried about the rest of the flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Pendergast, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. Pendergast

    Pendergast Just Hatched

    44
    7
    14
    Nov 3, 2016
    I apologize in advance if this post is a little morbid and long-winded.

    Tuesday around 6pm we noticed our male Cayuga was missing. We figured maybe he had taken a trip next door, but while we were getting everyone in for the night (the ducks and chickens free range during the day on about 1/4 of an acre), my partner found him back in the "jungle," a corner of the plot with dead trees, bramble and vines. I checked him out, no blood, no apparent injury, though we both thought it was strange he wasn't with the rest of the flock. He also seemed to be limping when he walked. We put him into their night enclosure.

    Wednesday morning we found him sitting on the floor in front of the door. When we opened up for everyone to go out, he didn't move, even though everyone else was scrambling out over him. He did try to amble up when I bent down, but he didn't put a lot of effort into it so I brought a large, shallow Tupperware container of water and a small bowl of food and kept him locked in the enclosure during the day. I visited him a few times throughout the day, brought snacks. I don't believe he was eating. At night I brought him and his girlfriend inside, gave them a bath and they spent the night in the laundry room (in a large dog crate). He seemed very spirited in the bath but was largely immobile out of water. Later in the day, maybe around 3pm, I noticed his eyes were half open and that continued until the end.

    The next morning he seemed to be in good spirits. Morticia, his lady, went to the rest of the flock, and Gomez, my sick boy, stayed in the enclosure, though I took him to the big pool a few times during the day, and his flock joined him each time. I noticed each time I picked him up that he seemed to be throwing up water. I planned to grab an electrolyte/vitamin packet to put in his water today. Although I just joined BYC today, I had been checking the BYC forum since night 1. I initially thought maybe the vigorous mating activities were why he was sluggish.

    Last night he and Morticia spent the night in the duck house, which is separate from the main enclosure (by themselves), and when I went to let them out this morning he was dead. I assume he died shortly after going in last night because of how stiff he was/is. I feel horrible for Morticia.

    This is what may be a little morbid and gross. I am changing out the water and hay, cleaning up what I can, but I'm concerned about the rest of my ducks. I would like to open Gomez up and see if I can visually see any lesions, try to figure out what he may have had. I have never had to cut into a stiff corpse. Does anyone have any advice? Is it possible? Am I crazy? Also, how should I dispose of him? I would put him into the compost, but the chickens often look for treats over there so I'm afraid they'll peck at him, even if I bury him under some leaves/refuse.

    None of the the others are exhibiting any odd behavior, but should I dose the flock with charcoal? Brewer's Yeast? I would be devastated if this took more than one bird. I thought Gomez was my heartiest duck so I'm still in shock.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

    29,394
    3,449
    501
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC, and sorry about losing your duck. You can also post on the duck forum as well where others who are more familiar with ducks can help. Ducks can suffer from vitamin deficiencies and they also can get botulism from eating a toxin from dead animals, fish, or buried vegetation--a good reason not to leave his body out where others can get to it. A necropsy would be the only way to find out a cause of death, and the state vet or poultry lab can do those.
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,983
    1,955
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks has a section on doing a necropsy, though I have had the state ag school do the ones we needed.

    How old was he? He could have had a virus, an infection - sometimes their gonads get inflamed and cause problems that can lead to death. Could have swallowed something like twine and been impacted.
     
  4. Pendergast

    Pendergast Just Hatched

    44
    7
    14
    Nov 3, 2016
    @Amiga he was two. Now I have a female Pekin displaying the same symptoms. She was fine this morning when I let everyone out then a half an hour ago I noticed she was sitting with her legs held back. Now she's laying with her neck extended out, legs back. When she gets up, she walks as though her legs are asleep, but there's a stiffness or strain. I'm going to cross post on the duck forum, but here's a picture:

    [​IMG]

    It looks like an injury to me, but it did with the Cayuga drake, too, and he wasn't able to keep anything down, which is curious.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,983
    1,955
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    a good duck vet is best...

    Could be botulism?
     
  6. Pendergast

    Pendergast Just Hatched

    44
    7
    14
    Nov 3, 2016
    @Amiga that's what was suggested on the duck board. The vet isn't an option until Tuesday so I'm going to try a flush.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by