Duck with weak legs, can't walk, Can anyone advise

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by dmpalmer, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. dmpalmer

    dmpalmer In the Brooder

    Jul 28, 2010
    I have three Pekins, one is fine, but the others have terrible leg weakness and can't walk. They are about three months old, and this has been going on for at least a month and a half while I have tried various things hoping for a solution. When they were still growing all three of them came down with it. At one point I inadvertently changed their food ( I just went to the hardware store and took what they said I should give them, it wasn't labeled because they break down their own Blue Seal bags and they had just made this one for me). When they started on that all three started walking again. The next time I went to get more food, I thought I was getting the same thing, shortly afterwards two of them came down with the leg weakness again. I have since gone back to what I think the food that made them well was (Grower-Cal), but it has not worked. I have tried feeding them eggs, bananas (things I have read worked for other people on the internet.), I have tried poultry vitamins and niacin pills in their water. I am very sad that I think I am going to have to put them down, so I am hoping maybe someone out there knows why this is happening and has some advice.
  2. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    Niacin is what usually works. Can you get game bird starter?
  3. satay

    satay oz-e-chick

    Sep 2, 2008
    Esk Qld Australia
    Have to agree that niacin usually works. Get some brewers yeast and sprinkle it on top of their food each day for about a week and see if you notice a difference.
  4. Red Maple Farms

    Red Maple Farms Wish Granted

    Feb 25, 2010
    NE Wisconsin
    Do you allow them to free range?
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    If niacin does not work, then there may be something wrong with the feed. Mold, even if you cannot see or smell it, can be present and it does cause lameness and it can go down from there. My guess is a problem with the food, just from what you have written. Try some other food source and see if that fixes it again.
  6. waterfowlrescue

    waterfowlrescue Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    Find food in the bag that you know what your getting. Feed or lack of nutrition is the number one cause of lameness (for us at least). Also consider that pekins arent bred for longevity and often have congential defects.

    You need to examine whether the tendons on the legs are intact and still laying properly in the tracks. At this point the damage may be done to the joints. Rotational deformities are common when ducks are genetically defective or fed improperly. If the leg sticks out or the tendons arent on track a surgery would be required to repair.

    I concur on the brewers year. We order our from saratoga horse supply and we use it all the time. Also go to walmart and get the 1.99 avian multipurpose vitamins and supplement a couple drops in the water so that it looks like weak lemonade.

    Good luck
  7. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC

    I'm sorry you're dealing with this right now. [​IMG] Pekins are notorious for leg problems, especially if they're jumbo sized. It's so hard to watch your little ones struggle.

    A couple things I would try, and the first one has already been mentioned--examine the food source. Feed store employees are not always the most knowledgeable about duck requirements. I would, for now, go with a pre-mixed food such as Purina flock raiser or Dumor chick starter, supplemented with niacin in the water. The other problem with the mixed-in-store feed is the potential for mold and such--a good feed store may have practices that avoid this, but the danger is present if they're not careful because rancid feed is often not distinguishable from good feed by smell or appearance. So if they have old feed mixing with new feed, it could all end up rancid very quickly. I'm not saying that this *is* happening, just that given your issues, it's a potentiality to consider. Even bagged food *can* have this problem if the feed store is not being careful about how long their feed sits in storage before selling, so it's important to find a feed store that *is* careful.

    Once you have the feed situation sorted out, or before, you might try confining the lame ducks for a few days. They won't like it, but if the lameness is caused by their weight (as is sometimes the case in pekins), then forcing them to rest for a few days will often help them to recover. If they start to show improvement from confinement, then you will probably want to keep them confined until they are recovered fully.

    Other considerations--could they have bumble foot? Are they free ranging or in a pen? Is there something in your grass or soil that could be irritating their feet? Any chance they've suffered an injury?

    Those last considerations are what I consider LEAST likely, but not impossible.

    And, for good measure, here is part of what Dave Holderread says about lameness in ducks, from pages 256-257 of Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks:

    "Lameness can have many causes, including dislocated hip, sprains of leg or foot joints, infections, muscle damage, pinched nerves, dietary deficiencies (especially of niacin, biotin, and other B vitamins), or a calcium:phosphorous imbalance (common when high-calcium laying rations are fed to immature birds). Also important, but less common, are inherited leg weaknesses...

    "If otherwise healthy, ducks with injured legs will normally recover if kept quiet in a clean pen and provided easy access to food that supplies a balanced diet and drinking water to which a good poultry vitamin mix has been added.

    "When a deficient diet is the cause, take prompt action. Mixing a vitamin/mineral supplement in the drinking water or with the feed (per manufacturer's recommendation), or the feeding of 2 to 3 cups of brewer's dried yeast per 10 pounds of feed, will often correct the problem. If you have been feeding immature birds a high-calcium laying ration, immediately switch to a feed that contains a maximum of 1 percent calcium and a phosphorous:calcium ratio of 1:1 to 1.0:1.5."

    That's just part of what he said--as always, I highly recommend the book!

    Good luck. Lameness is often treatable/curable, so with luck you'll be able to get your babies up to speed and well again soon.
  8. dmpalmer

    dmpalmer In the Brooder

    Jul 28, 2010
    Thank you all very much for all your help. I am trying to locate a place that sells brewer's yeast now, and Purina Flock raiser. I have put niacin caplsules into the water, but maybe there is something different about the brewer's yeast. It is worth a shot. I'm sure it is not an injury, and they have hay and shavings in their pen so it is soft. I take them out of their pen on weekends when I am around, otherwise they have a large pen, but I can't have them out when I am at work because I have lost chickens to foxes out there. We are going to put them in a larger fenced in area where until recently I had my chickens, but I was worried the chickens would hurt the ducks because they are not well. I will let you know if I see any improvement.
  9. rdnkkkgrl

    rdnkkkgrl Hatching

    Jun 26, 2011
    you can get the purina flock raiser at like the tractor supply store my brother in law picked me up a 50 lb bag of it yesterday for 15.00 bucks as for ur ducks week legs i had 2 the same way especially after them getting wet they couldnt even pick themselves back up they were actually trying to push there selves up w/there beaks i felt sooo bad but so far ive heard from not turning the eggs everyday while thy were beeing incubated could cause it and my brother in law nows everything about chicks n ducks and reptiles and he said there getting too much protien in there food hope this helped a little!!!

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