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Duck was very sick and weak, looking for some answers/opinions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ethelandfred, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. ethelandfred

    ethelandfred Chirping

    Apr 2, 2015
    Hello, I am new to this website but have actually visited quite a bit over the last few days.

    We are duck newbies - my father and me, although the ducks are technically his I do help with their care, that is why I am here. They are family pets.

    First some background, we had a duck show up at our grandfathers house in the city last October, when no one came to collect him he came home with us, as we live in the country. My father then got another, female duck from one of his coworkers to keep him company. I am unsure of their breed but the male is all black with a iridescent sheen and the female is larger mostly black with white spots. We call them Fred and Ethel.

    We have housed them over winter in an old shed that also houses our 2 goats but separately. We used mostly hay bedding with some wood shavings. They were eating around a cup of scratch grains and corn a day and we washed and refilled their water a few times daily.

    Mice are present within the shed but my dad has taken steps to discourage this but they are still around.

    Last Wednesday I went out to feed the goats that night and noticed that Ethel was rather lethargic and not at all as peppy as usual. She is about a year old and we are guessing the same for the male but unsure. She hadn't laid for about 5 or so days but that wasn't unusual as she had just started laying. She wasn't completely off so I kept an eye on her and the following day she laid a regular sized egg and was back to normal. I did notice some mucus on the egg but am unsure if that is unusual or not.

    She was fine for the next few days but when I went out Saturday night I found her by the door, near death. Her legs were straight out in back of her and she could barely lift her head. Both ducks aren't handled much and because of this they don't liked to be picked up and when she didn't protest and I knew something was wrong.

    I immediately brought her inside and set her up in our cellar, I didn't expect her to make it but I did some research anyway and the first thing I found was botulism it didn't entirely fit but I had nothing to lose. I grabbed some molasses and syringed what little I could into her, left her some food and water and hoped for the best.

    I was surprised to find the next morning she was sitting on her own. She had drank quite a bit but she still couldn't stand up and was trembling a bit. She had passed some loose droppings but not quite diarrhea, they were a dark green. I gave her a charcoal slurry that morning, and offered her some yogurt with honey to see if she would eat but she wouldn't. She passed some charcoal in her next few stools and alot of water but I knew this was because of how much she was drinking. I was concerned about her not eating but she seemed much better but definitely not 100% yet. I gave her a mix of baking soda/salt and sugar in her water for electrolytes.

    We aren't anywhere near an avian vet so I called the closest place. I described what had happened and he didn't think it was botulism and told me to stop the charcoal slurry. He said from what I described it sounded like an infection, he asked if they bed with hay and I said yes but he said it didn't sound like Aspergillus either because her breathing would be off and it is not. He said the only thing he could think of (without seeing her) was she was attacked or hurt herself and somehow got an infection. He said that she could have been sick for a while and hid it.

    We did find a small amount of blood in the shed a few months back but it is almost impossible for anything to get into the shed other than small mammals like a mouse or such. We were confused but couldn't find any wounds or abrasions on either bird.

    He said to try apple cider vinegar in her water, mash up some pellets and baby food and to offer her leafy greens. He also said to keep her warm so we moved her closer to our wood stove.

    She wasn't interested in the mash or the veggies but boy did she gobble up the pellets that night! I was glad to see this.

    The following day she was standing but wobbly and the day after she was walking. She got feistier and more lively with every day. Her droppings still aren't normal and neither is her appetite, but as I had separated her from Fred I am unsure how much is stress at this point. Her droppings range from dark green, slimy and small like rabbit poop to a more mushy lighter green but not much of either because she isn't eating an awful lot.

    The day after I found her I went out to tear apart the shed and came up with a little moldy hay around their water bowl and some mouse droppings in their food bowl that hadn't been there before. I pulled all the hay out and we purchased shavings to lay down instead. Aside from being upset with his separation Fred has acted fine. I did notice his droppings are more green and loose than usual but no other symptoms, again I am wondering if this is stress related?

    Anyway I brought her out to see him today for a bit and although timid at first they greeted each other and were quite happy with their reunion. It is still pretty cold out and he was attempting to court her so I decided to bring her back in, much to their dismay.

    I am at a standstill now and want some opinions on what to do, I think I will call the vet again tomorrow to see what he thinks.

    I have scoured this site for any kind of illness that matches what she had but nothing fits. The three I researched specifically were botulism, fowl cholera and antipestifer, but there isn't much information out there I could find, here or otherwise.

    I am curious about what everyone here thinks and what I should do, I am open to antibiotics but haven't any idea what I should use. We do still have some penicillin left over from a sick goat but I am unsure how to proceed or if I should do so. Tractor Supply is the closest carrier of any poultry needs.

    I was also wondering if chicken egg shells could have made her sick? We had some in our fridge that I had given her the day I found her under the weather initially, which were eaten to some extent but I'm not sure duck got them. They were from cracked eggs, not boiled ones.

    She also hasn't laid since the egg I found Thursday.

    I apologize for such a long post but I want to make sure I take the right steps forward, my main questions are:

    1. Are the few eggs she had laid edible? Not a huge issue but if she was sick I am curious. She has laid a total of 3 so far.

    2. Should I utilize antibiotics and if so should I treat BOTH ducks?

    3. Should I be worried about something more serious like fowl cholera and antipestifer and could those diseases kill her in time untreated?

    4. Could the mice droppings or egg shells have effected her this way?

    5. Could my male be sick also?

    6. But mainly, should I keep her inside where it is warm until the weather improves? Or let her back out? I do plan on letting her and my male out tomorrow to swim in our kiddie pool with some warm water, I think it would do them some good.

    Thank you!
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015

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