Devastated and need advice

jevans1

Chirping
Jun 1, 2016
16
17
54
Suttons Bay Michigan
Hello forum. I sure wish I came to you before it was too late. I just didn't know how to post things or use the site that well. I would like to ask you to please be gentle with the way to respond, as I am very upset and just need advice. I am planning on trying again and getting two more ducks before the summer is over. I have built them a huge house with two ponds and have a large garden and yard for them. I just don't want the same mistake to happen.
Here is my sad story:
I had two ducks both almost 9 weeks old. They went swimming with me all over the state of Michigan (I travel a lot in my VW Bus during the summers so I took them with me). I cared for them deeply and always made sure they were happy, well fed, comfortable, able to swim and be happy ducks. About a week ago they began acting abnormal - pretty sluggish and hiding under the porch when I had returned from camp in the Upper Peninsula. I assumed they were hot because it was over 90 degrees. Because it was so warm I refilled their pool 4-5 times with cold water that day and took them down to swim in Lake Michigan twice. For the first time ever, they did not come to me when I got out of the water. They did not come to the prompt "Treats, treats, treats" as they usually come flying out of the lake. The severity of their condition dawned on me when they stopped eating that night and then were not even interested in treats at all unless hand fed and then only a few. I didn't know what to do. I brought them into the vet.
She gave them a dewormer. The vet is only a mile from my home. Upon arriving home Mona, (my Pekin) started convulsing. I floored it to the vet and she was still alive (not well at all!!) when I raced her in. She died within a minute. Frida, (my Cayuga), was in the same crate. The doctor told me to focus on making her well, and was so sorry about Mona's death. I took Frida home and put her on the floor to drink some water. I was crying so hard over the violet and sudden death of Mona. Just then, Frida arched her back, spread her wings, and began convulsing. All I could do was stare in shock. I held her in my arms and she died a violent death.
This was 4 days ago. I can't eat or sleep. I am a train wreck.

Where did I go wrong? What do I do next time so this doesn't happen?

Here are some thoughts I have had as I have gone over the events a trazillion times in my mind.

1. The ducks got a parasite or bacteria from one of the lakes or ponds I took them too. They were too far gone when the vet administered the dewormer and this shocked their body and they died.
2. The vet gave them too much dewormer, or the wrong kind.
3. They somehow ate something poisonous when I was not looking...perhaps something that was in a puddle that they drank out of or something when we were not in the safety of my backyard.

Other?

Thank you so much for your help. I really want to do this correctly the next time around. I never want to hurt a precious animal again.

Jen
 

TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
I'm so sorry! That's a tragic story
hit.gif
I wish I could give some worthwhile advice but I'm sure some experienced duck veterans will have something to say that will help you. It sounds like you gave them a really good life. Don't beat yourself up to much, you couldn't of known what was going to happen.
 

Cherib603

Chirping
May 23, 2016
467
77
88
New Hampshire
So so sorry.
Unfortunately, when you place them in an environment you have no control over, they can very easily pick up a parasite, botulism or even be attacked by a snapping turtle or other predator.
It's wonderful you want them to be with you, but under those conditions you will never be 100% sure there are no threats.
I'm sure you're already thinking of things you'll do differently next time. It's just awful that we all have to learn the hard way. (( hug))
 
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Amiga

Overrun with Runners
11 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,821
551
Southern New England
You were as conscientious as you could be. Sometimes in spite of our best efforts, something goes wrong.

Without a necropsy, we cannot know exactly what happened. As written before, it could have been a toxin as much as it could have been a parasite. I confess that my own approach (which is not the gold standard, just my own way of thinking) is to test for worms before treating for them.

Thank you for sharing this story. People take their ducks with them quite often. I don't think you did anything that unusual. You were away at camp. What happened during that time? Did they get dehydrated? I have read a few stories of ducksitters who did not apparently know what they were doing, and who allowed the ducks to run out of water. Sometimes the ducks survived, sometimes they did not.

Please feel free to ask questions about using BYC. If you want to contact me (I don't have much time to review the forums like I used to), go ahead and send me a private message (we call them PMs). There are dozens and dozens of lovely people on the duck forum, some with vast knowledge of certain aspects of duck care.
 

jevans1

Chirping
Jun 1, 2016
16
17
54
Suttons Bay Michigan
Thank you so much for all your replies...Amiga- they were not dehydrated from camp but once they returned they stopped eating/drinking as much till it was very little. Camp was great. It was a heaven before my nightmare. I paddled and fished in my kayak on our inland private lake and they followed behind me happily, I hiked with them (while toting them in a wheelbarrow on the long walks) at night I laid a tarp on the ground near my bed with the cage they are familiar with... Door open with plenty of food and water. We fed them a watermelon with dried mealworms peas and lettuce.Then we came home... And they got lethargic (enter above story)
The vet that treated them performed an autopsy on both of them and said there were no worms. The Pekin had a small heart and both had some lesions on their asophogus. She felt they were just too weak and said the drugs had nothing to do with it.
....Just seems odd to me that they would both die tragic deaths within 30 minutes of each other ... The first passing horribly 10 minutes after receiving the medication.

I just want to do better and learn from my mistakes. I just ordered a khaki Campbell and a Cayuga today that will arrive on August 1 or 2 ... So I also want to treat and deep clean/disinfect my land, ponds, duck house, pens, everything so it isn't contaminated.
Suggestions?
Thank you soooooo much!!!
 
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TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
Good luck with your new ducks
jumpy.gif
I'm sure you've learned from this experience and I hope all goes well for you and your future feathered friends.
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
11 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,821
551
Southern New England
I just want to do better and learn from my mistakes. I just ordered a khaki Campbell and a Cayuga today that will arrive on August 1 or 2 ... So I also want to treat and deep clean/disinfect my land, ponds, duck house, pens, everything so it isn't contaminated.
Suggestions?
Thank you soooooo much!!!

When you write about treat and deep clean/disinfect . . . I strongly urge you to take a step back and think about what it is you want to accomplish.

I can see that you want to protect your ducks. That is good and right. At the same time, and I don't know if this is what you had in mind, trying to apply the synthetic chemical solution is apt to cause a bunch of problems.

So before I go further, did you have something in particular in mind? The way I would approach it is to first concentrate on duck house and pens and use the least toxic means. In fact, if you don't know what you are after, that's going to be a challenge. And trying to kill every living microbe is not something I would recommend.

The land and ponds, especially - - - I think one could end up with a truly toxic mess if not careful.
 
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RachG75

Chirping
Jun 5, 2016
146
23
81
Central Illinois
I'm so sorry Jevans. You did nothing wrong! Easier said than done, but please just be kind to yourself and grieve without guilt.

I also think it's suspicious that they passed so close together, time-wise.
 
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