DEAD Ducks found with maggots in their vent

Mrs. BJ Hensley Jr.

9 Years
Jul 23, 2010
I have about 60 ducks & I love ducks and never had a problem raising them. BUT on Thursday, I found a dead duck. I had seen her about an hour sooner and she seemed fine. I haven't seen anyone acting sick or ill except one other little lady has bumble foot; which I just treated with ducky surgery today. Anyhow, I saw her about 1pm, and about 2 I went to change their water, and she was dead. I was immediately saddened and started to cry as I picked her up and I was about to hold her and hug her lifeless little body, and realized she smelled like she had been dead for a week. I flipped her upside down and she had A HAND FULL of maggots fall from her vent; which by the way was very loose. Today, I went out to my truck to see if I left my phone charger in it, and saw another one dead out by my tractor. SHE hadn't been sick either (as far as I knew) and sure enough... she had maggots in and on her vent too (although not as many and not as big). She too had to have only been dead for about an hour, since she wasn't there when I fed the cows an hour earlier. I don't understand what happened. HOW did this happen? WHAT causes this? HOW can I fix it. This is devastating. I have 15 Drakes and 45 girls; well, I did! I don't want anyone to suffer, I don't want anyone to die, and I need to know know how to fix this.
They did not die from the maggots, the maggots were most likely deposited close to the time of death. Blowflies are usually the first to arrive when an animal has died, and immediately deposit their eggs inside of the body. With poultry, the mouth and vent are the easiest and most moist areas to deposit eggs, which is probably why they were there. The fact that they were maggots means that they died fairly within 8-48 hours depending on the size of the maggots.

I'm sorry this happened to you
but the maggots were most likely not the cause of their deaths, but rather an indicator of when they died. I would do a scan of your flock to look for any signs of illness and try to identify cause of death.
would it have been possible that these ducks had an injury prior to death that you perhaps hadnt seen? and the maggots had been there before they died? you say you were out there at 1 and she was ok, then an hournlater she was dead...that wouldnt be enough time for maggots to hatch. so my thinking is perhaps she had an injury you hadnt noticed, and it was infected. the infection could have killed her?

i once had a duck who'd somehow hurt under her wing, i hadnt noticed . i picked her up one day and the smell was awful, a lot of tissue had died under her wing and maggots had moved in.....she had a raging infection under there, that is what eventually killed her not the maggots. despite our best efforts it was just too far advanced.

did the ducks have dirty bums? warm weather seems to bring out the flies, and what better place to lay your eggs than round a dirty bum? i guess what im trying to say is the maggots were probably not the cause of death, they were most likely already present given the time frame....the ducks died from something else, and you really need to find out what if you have others at risk?
I can't add anything too helpful but firstly I am sorry for you and your loss of girls.
Secondly, in World War II, in the jungles of Asia, where medicine was scarce, they used to put maggots into the poor chaps tropical ulcers, which were some times the size of dinner plates,
to eat out the dead flesh and prevent gangrene.
The POW's used to tell of this amazing surgeon "Weary Dunlop" who would do this and saved many, many Aussie POW's lives.

After that little bit of history! I am suggesting that the maggots were there for a while before they died. They take quite a while to get big enough to see. Maggots will only eat dead tissue. Sorry gotta stop! Im feeling a bit sqirgly!
The first one, I had prodded with a stick at her belly (after death of course) and they were all the way up her inside... I mean all the way up to her breastbone even. She was a crested and the second was an Ancona.... not at all related.
I need to add, some maggots do indeed eat only dead flesh and have been used to clean out bad wounds, however some kinds of maggots will eat live flesh. I would catch every one of those ducks and look them over very closely. I used to have sheep and their rear ends can get fly blown and you see a dark area and you catch them put them on a grooming stand and start spraying and clipping. You clip all the way down to the skin and keep spraying, I think it was hydrogen peroxide, it killed the maggots and I just kept clipping and spraying, it does smell. I could get them cleaned up.
Since they were all the way up inside and it was only dead for a short time I feel that they were there before it died as you said. You need to find out why and how. Look very closely at every one.
I looked over Flop again.... no wounds anywhere. And someone mentioned to "You clip all the way down to the skin and keep spraying" THAT'S NOT gunna happen. Ducks have blood feathers which clipping can cause severe bleeding and kill or hinder my babies even worse. I do not know a lot about water fowl disease, but I DO know that.....additionally, chipping their feathers will leave them defenseless from predators, cold, and other illness; and MANY of them have dark skin. The ones who died dad not have any wounds. I searched their whole bodies the best I could (without
vomiting)... they didn't even have a scratch, bumble foot, or anything else having to do with open skin. Now what?
There was quite a gruesome thread awhile back about a silky young roo who had tons and tons of maggots and the battle his keeper had to get rid of them. He survived the ordeal and it was an ORDEAL. I am pretty sure her vet said that when maggots run out of dead tissue, they attack live tissue and keep traveling, they can get to organ, eyes, brains, etc. it was just horrible. The wonderful OP who saved him deserved combat pay. Maybe someone can recall this and find the link. I do believe it started at his back end and they had used peroxide and more and more just kept coming out - from deeper areas etc.

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