Duck having spells. Please read!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by MotherDuck91, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. MotherDuck91

    MotherDuck91 Hatching

    Aug 17, 2011
    I have two female Pekin ducks. They were given to me when they were about a week old in March, 2010. Daffy is the livewire, alpha duck, and Deana is the calm, slower one. Deana has started to have some sort of"spells" about 2 weeks ago. It has happened 3 times already, and it seemed to be worse the 3rd time. I will try explaining the best way I can.

    The first time it happened, I had walked outside and noticed that Deana had her head underwater in their pool. For a moment I thought she was just nibbling at the bottom of the pool like they always do, but I noticed she was hardly moving. I ran over and pulled her out the the pool, and her neck was sort of hanging there (not limp like a rag, just like she
    couldn't hold it up.) I set her on the ground and she stood there straight up with the bottom of her bill pressed to her stomach, she was also trembling and walking backwards a little. I thought she was choking, so I quickly took her inside and looked down her throat but found nothing. Her bill and feet felt very warm, so I hurriedly put her in some cool water to cool her off. After a few minutes she started to act almost normal; She picked up her head, walked forward (but with an extra waddle,) fluffed out her feathers, flapped her wings, then started to clean herself. As she tried to clean her back, she moved her head sort of funny, then she put her head under her stomach again, stood straight up and started walking backwards again. She'll even sit on the ground and the top of her head will be on the ground and her bill under her chest. Her legs trembling, and feeling very warm, then she all of a sudden goes back to normal for a minute.

    This cycle continues for about an hour, then she'll come out of it completely and sleep for a while. Then she all back to being a normal, happy duck again.

    The second time this happened, I caught it. I was putting fresh water in their pool like I do everyday, when Daffy got on Deana's back and bit her in the back of the head/neck area (as if she was a male duck.) Daffy always does this to her, and Deana has also done it to Daffy but only a few times. After Daffy got off her back, Deana could not lift her head out of the water. She was having the "spell" again.

    This happened again Monday evening, but it didn't start in the pool like the first 2 times. I was nearby when I heard Deana making the noise she usually makes when Daffy is on her back and biting her in the back of the head/neck. I went over and she was having the "spell" again.

    I've searched online, but have found nothing. The only thing I can figure is that it's either seizures, severe muscle spasms, or some sort of normal mating habit.

    What could it be? Please let me know if this is something normal and can expect it to start happening to my other duck, or if it's something that needs to be checked by a vet immediately. The nearest bird vet is 100+ miles away from me, and we cannot afford the trip all the way up there for them to tell us it is a normal occurrence.

    One more thing I need to add: When Deana was a chick, she was a little unhealthy. She became pigeon-toed and she still walks with her toes pointed slightly inward.

    List of Symptoms:
    Unable to hold head neck up
    Warm bill and feet
    Steps backwards
    Presses bottom of bill to stomach
    Walks with extra waddle when coming out of spell temporarily
    All the above symptoms repeat on and off for about an hour, then she's back to normal.

    Thank you for your time,
  2. GrannyCarol

    GrannyCarol Chirping

    Jul 7, 2011
    Having your male duck bite the back of her head while on top of her is the normal mating behavior. It does not normally lead to her having "spells" like that.

    Three possibilities come to mind. 1) Duck botulism - eating something that has mold toxins in it can cause "limberneck" where their neck goes limp like that. Look that one up online.

    2) A Niacin deficiency - ducks fed normal chick rations can (not too common) become deficient in Niacin. The symptoms include being wobbly and unsteady on their feet and problems with the leg strength as they grow. Niacin supplementation will take care of this rather quickly. Get a 100 mg tablet and put it in a gallon of drinking water for a quick "fix".

    3) Other toxicity - not sure what. Force feeding some activated charcoal might help if she's just been getting into something she shouldn't.

    I would keep her in, research the possibilities and probably feed her some niacin supplements and see how she reacts. Her condition is NOT normal and I hope you can figure out how to help her.
  3. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Songster

    It sounds like Wry neck. It's usually caused by a vitamin deficiency. Do a search to see how others treated it. Adding a Vitamin B Complex might help. Either crush it and mix it with water, feed it to her, or put it in their water. Sorry, don't have any dosage advice but you might be able to find some in the other BYC posts on wry neck.

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