Disabled crested mallard drake


Sep 17, 2013
Salem, or
I have adopted into my family a little boy who cannot walk. The crest on his head didn't work out in that area. He is around 7-8 months old now and he still looks like a female. He hasn't changed colors. We have a female as well who likes to pluck his feathers so now we have to keep them separated. They used to cuddle. Their calls are clearly different. We have dogs and cats who are fine with the ducks but we are still figuring out how to do this. Because he is a crested we are having a hard time finding help and answers on questions like development and care. If anyone has dealt with similar issues or even just plain old duck advice I would appreciate it!

Well he is a cutie

At the top of the Duck Forum is a link to the Stickies Index.

Good articles in there, on raising ducklings, treating some illnesses, etc.

There is also a thread about the concerns with crested ducks and neurological problems


and (I have not read through it) a response thread


Since - from what I have read - cresteds have neurological challenges, making sure he has plenty of B vitamins including niacin seems important. Brewer's yeast contains it, and you can get plain niacin capsules. 100 to 150 mg per gallon of water, at this point I would try it for a couple of months.

There are a number of members with special needs ducks here on the forum, so I hope they will check in soon.
Thank you so much. We really do love our boy. He swims in circles and sleeps on his side. He is quite the character though!
First a little background on how we ended up with Ferdinand.

My fiance works for Wilco Farm Supply Store. They received a shipment of baby mallards and he was the only crested of the bunch and he couldn't walk. No one had even heard of the crested gene so we had to research it all on our own. To give him a friend we went and picked up a female mallard because we had heard they are social birds. They were friendly until a few months back.

Things we would like advice on:

-Waterproofing. He can't reach his glands and he can't spread his oils. This makes him get water logged and cold quickly so we can't let him swim for very long.

-Sleeping area. We use towels and try to make him comfortable but it isn't always easy.

-Oily tears? We are new to duck raising is this a normal duck thing? He looks so sad when he "cries"

-He doesn't know how to use his feet. They don't bend the right way all the time. This might be just because he has never walked.

-His legs get very dry. We use coconut oil on them to help him keep moisturized.

-Ways to keep our Delilah duck from pulling out his feathers. Right now we just keep them apart but you can tell she wants to lay down with him too. When they were babies she kept him calm when they slept.

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