Duck Won't eat, or extend neck, Help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by RobertSwan, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. RobertSwan

    RobertSwan Hatching

    Apr 4, 2015
    Redmond, Wa
    Hello there! I have two Welshies, a drake and a female. About a week ago the female was nearly taken by a bobcat, she was in its mouth and everything.

    noticed it as the drake nobly came flapping and screaming out from by the stream, leaving her to her fate....

    I chased it off, the bobcat let her go, and she seemed to only have one small cut on her neck. I put vetricyn on the wound and assumed I/she got lucky.

    However, ever since the attack she 1. won't extend her neck, she just keeps it crooked up against her. and
    2. won't eat at all. she still drinks, runs, swims, flaps, etc, and will nibble VERY little, but hasn't been to the feeder yet at all.

    I have taken her neck and gently extended it all the way out, and she doesn't seem to be in any discomfort when I do so.

    I have felt up and down her neck and feel no blockages of any kind, and her crop feels completely empty.

    she had also started laying about a month before the attack, and immediately stopped afterwards.

    Could the stress have caused a stuck egg? infection? ???

    I have been force feeding her with a straw and her food mixed with extra niacin and a lot of water.\

    Next thing I am going to try is bribing her with mealworms and/or peas...

    Any ideas or input is all greatly appreciated, Thanks!!
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England

    Well, a good duck vet is best, and for many reasons, not always possible. But I needed to write that.

    I think you may need to start helping her with food - there is a method that will prevent accidentally putting food in her lungs -

    I will see if we can find @casportpony or others who have experience with tube feeding.

    She may have an infection - if that is the case, you'll need antibiotics, and I am not expert there, but there is this thread.

    @Orca5094 have you done tube feeding?

    I would also get her into a tub of lukewarm water and look under her wings, around her vent, see if there are any puncture wounds you may have missed.

    She may have muscle injuries to her neck - and those will take quite a while to heal.

    I have seen it posted on BYC that ducks can have Advil (ibuprofen) for pain and inflammation. From the post I have calculated the dosage at 4 to 5 mg per pound of duck.

    Welcome to the Duck Forum.[​IMG]

    I need to turn in - will check back in the morning - I have notices turned on….
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
  3. Orca5094

    Orca5094 Songster

    Jul 26, 2014
    Wow, I need to figure out how to get notifications when I'm tagged. I got nothing from this.

    Anyway, I have done alot of tube feeding in the past, but only at past wildlife rehab jobs and my old zoo. All the tubes and materials were there already for me, so I'm not sure how private people get such things. Now that I'm in Sweden, I have even less of a clue. At any rate, you have to be extremely careful tube-feeding any animal that you do not get the tube or liquid into the lungs. Are you just tubing into the crop? We always did that with young birds and ducklings, but adult ducks we'd tube into the stomach. You'll want to gently slide the tube down over to one side of the throat (I always do it on the right) to lessen the chance of getting it into the glottis (opening to the lungs) which is in the middle of their throat at the back of their tongue. I don't think you can do that safely with a straw, though. I know you're doing the best you can with what you have, but maybe contact a local vet or even wildlife rehabilitator and see if you can get tubing supplies from them? Best thing to use is a soft rubber tube that can move and turn with the curves of their necks/throats and slide gently into the stomach. Rough edges on the end of the straw can cause abrasions and bleeding in the throat.

    I would think her behavior is due to the stress of the attack. Prey animals tend to give up on life when they are attacked and lose their will to live. This makes it very hard for them to recover, but you need to get this duck to eat something at all costs. Give her every treat you can think of (mealworms, earthworms, corn, peas, a cheeseburger, whatever!) to try and get her to eat on her own. Once she starts eating something again she should start to come out of this.

    Of course it's also quite possible she does have some internal damage, injury, or infection going on. In which case a vet really would be best. And yes, they often stop laying when under stress so that is normal. Are you able to feel around near her vent (gently, you wouldn't want to break any egg she might have in there) to feel if she does have an egg still in there? Eggbinding is also a life-threatening condition, but with stressful situations like this their reproductive systems just shut off for awhile. If she did have an egg in her before the attack, she should've laid it before shutting down her egg production, though. Had she already laid an egg the day of the attack?
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    @RobertSwan , welcome to BYC!
    One can use modified aquarium air line for tubing. Get 16" of it a melt the end with a lighter to smooth the edges.

    Petsmart and Petco have Kaytee Baby Bird food and Tractor Supply has 60ml syringes.

  5. Orca5094

    Orca5094 Songster

    Jul 26, 2014
    Oh, that is brilliant! Never would have thought of aquarium tubing.
  6. RobertSwan

    RobertSwan Hatching

    Apr 4, 2015
    Redmond, Wa
    Update - tried the mealworms, and she gobbled those up. Peas did nothing for her. Have been feeding her mealies (plus a little brewer's yeast for niacin) for the past few days and she seems to be getting more active and stretching her neck a little more. However, still haven't seen her eat her pellets... seen her dig at the sides of the pond and such but never for long. Still loves to bathe... hopeful she's starting to come out of it :)
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Sounds like she is making progress which is good. Have you tried making her a soupy gruel out of her feed? warm water an some feed a small amount to start just to see if she'll eat it with some meal worms toss ed in entice?

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