Duck being picked on—pulling feathers

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Duckworth, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    I have four female welsh harlequin ducks, who arrived together almost two years ago and have always been together in the same duck house/pen setup. Recently, I notice that one duck (our most consistent layer) had rough looking feathers. Then, I realized that she had a few feathers missing and that the other ducks were pushing her away from the water bucket. I added more buckets.. This morning, she has a lot of feathers missing and looks like she may have bled from having them plucked. I moved a large wire dog crate into the pen, covered the top and two sides with a tarp, added lots of straw inside and put a separate food dish and water bucket in there, then caught my injured duck and put her inside of it, leaving the others free inside the fully enclosed pen. The duck in the crate has plenty of room to stay away from the other ducks if they are pulling out her feathers. I don’t see a bunch of loose feathers in the house or pen and the duck I saw pull a feather from her this morning ate the feather.

    Any ideas? I am feeding All Flock or Flock Raiser, depending on which feed store I get to that month and am providing oyster shells. No ducks are laying right now. The injured one stopped laying about two weeks ago and the others stopped after they molted last fall. It is too cold here in Nebraska for this duck to be missing feathers. I would bring her inside, but all of the ducks go crazy and call nonstop for each other if I separate any of them and I don’t want to add trauma to the duck who is already struggling unless I have to. I could put her in the basement where it is pretty cool in winter, but she would be alone there.

    One other thing. I had surgery seven weeks ago and had to have my teenaged son take over my morning duck care duties for about six weeks. I took over again a week ago. I know he took good care of them because I checked, but before that, I was the only one who took care of them in the mornings.

    Thanks for your help. I haven’t been around here lately, so I hope that things have gone well for all of you since I was last here.
     
    shawluvsbirds and WVduckchick like this.
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Sorry about your surgery hope Your well on the mend now! About these girls you might try giving them a bit more protein it can be added to their feed or tossed on the ground but cat kibble good quality or dried mealworms can help sounds to me like they may need some added protein. Try this for a couple weeks while your one duck is recovering and when you let her back in with her sisters if they are still pulling out her feathers. Since they are eating them sounds like a protein issues.
     
  3. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    Thank you so much for that idea. I’ll get some dry cat food today.
     
  4. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    I am finally on the mend. I tore up my shoulder doing gardening and yard work and needed to get it repaired. I now have seven pins in my shoulder. Things are going really well, now. Thank you for your good wishes!
     
  5. Misfits Farm 92

    Misfits Farm 92 Songster

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    I agree :goodpost: if there eating the feathers it's a protein issue.
     
  6. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    I put dry cat food in their bowls with their regular food. Do I dare let Flipper, my feather-poor duck sleep in the duck house with the others tonight, or should I keep her separated in the dog crate inside the pen?

    Our overnight low temperature will be 24F, which is relatively warm for here, and the snow has mostly stopped for the day. The pen has a tarp for a roof and a tarp over the north wall and a solid east wall. I put another tarp over the north, west, and top of the crate. I can put another tarp over the south wall, too, but want to be sure there is ventilation. There is lots of straw in the crate and I will add more for the night. I used the wire crate so Flipper would feel less isolated, but I can switch tomorrow to a large airline kennel, since we should be between storms. It was snowing heavily when I set up the wire crate and I just wanted to get her some safety and get back indoors. I didn’t want to have to find all of the parts of the airline kennel.
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Can you move the wire kennel inside the coop so they are all tigether but they can’t pick on her? But if not I think with your setup she should be fine. Especially if you add more straw to her kennel.
     
  8. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    The crate is too big to fit into the duck house. The house is 4’ x 4’ and the crate is for an extra large dog and is too tall to fit through the back door of the house, even without the 16” of deep litter that’s in there, now. I add fresh straw every 2-3 days because it’s so cold that I think the ducks need clean straw to bed down into. It’s been below zero F here a few times recently, but our ducks are quite intrepid and I go out and break the ice on their water several times a day. I have taps over the north and east sides to cover those windows and keep the wind out. The south and west have windows that are sheltered from the wind, but allow lots of ventilation.

    I went out and put a thick porch blanket over the crate and added a bunch more straw for Flipper to nestle down into for the night. It looks like all of the ducks have eaten at least some of the cat food, so we’ll see whether that helps. Flipper will be only four feet away from her sisters with an open window to allow them to hear each other.

    I really appreciate your help!
     
    WVduckchick and Miss Lydia like this.
  9. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Hello..Do you provide any greens for them? Romain Lettuce, Peas etc?
     
    Duckworth likes this.
  10. Duckworth

    Duckworth Songster

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    Thanks for bringing that up. I haven’t this winter. Everything seemed fine before I had surgery and my focus was on getting through that. I counted on my husband and son to keep a good eye on things, but though they are good at maintaining things, they aren’t good at spotting problems. I have frozen peas and will thaw some and put them out for the ducks. Through the fall, I gave them everything that was in my vegetable garden that I knew wouldn’t harm them, but once I got hurt and the weather changed, I didn’t supplement their diet with greens because I didn’t have any coming out of the garden. We are now eating what I canned all summer. I didn’t even think about there being no scraps for the ducks! Oops!!
     
    chickens really likes this.

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