Duck not thriving

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by austroberta, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    One of my Runner ducks, Edda, is showing breathing difficulties. She's the smallest one of my flock and from the beginning she's been on the small and weak side. From the beginning, she has 'eaten like a bird.' While her sisters wolf down their treats and food, she'll take a nibble, stare into space for 2 minutes, take another small nibble, etc. Treats like lettuce, kale, peas and tomatoes are gone before she knows it. She's not a huge forager, so I don't think her lack of appetite is due to her gobbling down the critters in the yard. She tends to just stand around a lot. She'll follow her sisters to the food/treats/etc, but she doesn't show any gusto in partaking. I'd separate her so she can have the food, treat bowl to herself, but when I do so, she just starts looking for her duck friends and doesn't eat. I'd also hand feed her, but she's very skittish and rarely accepts the odd worm or slug I try to give her. I'm wondering what I can do for her, if anything, if she won't eat. Crop feeding her doesn't 'seem realistic as a long term strategy. If I take her to the vet, and get her treatment, how useful will it be for her if she doesn't seem to have any appetite when I leave the vet's office?

    She still gets around, and preens with her flock friends when they do. She's not showing signs of overt sickness (laying around, separating herself from the flock, etc), but with the breathing difficulties (breathing with her whole body), I know that day will probably come.

    Does anyone out there have any advice or perspective. I want to take care of her and offer her a good life, but I'm perplexed about the persistent and consistent lack of appetite.
     
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  2. CrystaBub

    CrystaBub Introducing Rosy and Posy!

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    Hi. Is there any way you could post a video of her with the rest of the flock for comparison and also alone showing the breathing?
     
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  3. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    It's dark here, so I can't do a video. It will be raining tomorrow, so I'm not sure I can take one tomorrow either.

    As far as what she's like with her duck mates, picture 4 ducks foraging and 1 duck just standing there, staring into space, and you'll get an idea of what the video would look like.
     
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  4. CrystaBub

    CrystaBub Introducing Rosy and Posy!

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    Oh that’s sad. I’m sorry for her. If it were my duck I’d take her to the vet if that’s an option. If not and you feel the need to tube feed @casportpony is the expert. A few more questions... Is she laying? How old is she? Has she been losing weight?
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Possibly an on going respiratory infection. A Vet would be your best solution.
     
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  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    Sorry your duck isn't feeling well. :hugs

    There are so many things that can cause the "whole body breathing thing" that you described, so a vet really would be the best thing.

    If you wanted to try treating her without a vet, you could try de-worming, antibiotics, and tube feeding. Tube feeding feeding is very easy and very safe. You're correct, long term tube feeding isn't a solution, but short term, as in a few days to a couple of weeks can be very helpful. Note that two weeks is the longest I've done it, and that was just once or twice, most times it just a few days.

    Do you have a vet already? If not, this place is supposed to be very good:
    http://www.medicalcenterforbirds.com/

    If you decide to try medications and/or tube feeding, let me know and I can make some recommendations.
     
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  7. WannaBeHillBilly

    WannaBeHillBilly Crossing the Road

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    How old is Edda?
    That is exactly the behavior we experienced this summer with one of our Indian Runner ducks: We bought six of them at the local farm-supply store, five were eating machines and grew like inflating balloons, the sixth one did as you described. Taking a bite here and there, then just standing, staring in one direction then "waking up" and take the next bite. And i have read this symptom over and over here in the forum.
    We, sadly, lost our straggler to hypothermia (in August!!) during a sudden "cold-snap". She was just too weak to withstand temperatures around 15°C (59F), by the time i took her in it was too late, she was just 2½ months old.

    What would i do different after this experience? I would separate Edda together with the second smallest bird back into a make-shift brooder in a place where they cannot hear the others - that's important, otherwise they won't calm down.
    Then try to feed as much protein-treats to Edda and her room-mate as they want. Vitamin C gives my ducks »the munchies«, Niacin of course and Vitamin E.
    Do you have a kitchen-scale? Get Edda's weight daily and see if she makes progress. Monitor her behavior, maybe you are raising the new Einstein duck?

    Finally GOOD LUCK!!!
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    :goodpost::goodpost:
     
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  9. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    She's a young one....less than 4 months, so she is not laying yet. She has always been very small, but it's hard to tell if she is loosing weight, as she has always been tiny, especially when I compare her to her brooder mates. I recall her other 2 brooder mates feathered out quickly, and she was the last to feather out. Even in the brooder, she did not have a voracious appetite and she was very slow to eat the treats (peas, tomatoes) that I would give everyone. It's as if she were anorexic.
     
  10. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    I have not been able to find a good vet (and I've visited 3, including one at the medical center for birds, which I did not have a good experience at). I have tube fed her with a mixture of nutri drench and some liquified mazuri feed, but it was only a very little. I'm still a bit confused about how much I should put in the syringe.

    I do have some itraconazole from another duck I had who also had the same breathing problems ( and was also somewhat small). I did take that duck, Fanny, to 2 different vets and spent quite a lot of money...and she still ended up dying. Edda is even smaller and weaker than Fanny was, so I am really hesitant to go the vet route, especially since Edda just doesn't seem to have a strong appetite and especially since the vets I have seen have not been very helpful.

    If you do have any advice on the tube feeding, I'd love it!
     

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