Duckling(s) with respiratory or muscle issues?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by wallawu, May 10, 2016.

  1. wallawu

    wallawu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First time poster out of Arkansas. Signed up because I couldn't find a situation like this through searching.

    2 and 1/2 weeks ago we bought six ducklings from TSC. It appears we have 2 Mallards, 2 Black Swedish, and 2 Welsh Harlequins. We've been using pine shavings as media, elevated their water as they've grown to keep the mess to a minimum, and have a food dish mounted to the wall of the container to keep them from stepping into it or tumping it over. We clean out their pen usually at least twice a day, three times if they somehow get their water dumped out. We keep them in the bathroom with a heat lamp and a dual exhaust fan in the window. This eliminates almost all odor from the bathroom and keeps it out of the rest of the house. They're on chick feed still, which is 24% protein, so I've been going with the rolled oats suggestion to dilute that down to around 18%. I've been putting Brewer's yeast on their food every few days and have been putting the vitamins and electrolytes in their water a 2-3 times a week because I noticed one of the Welsh Harlequins has trouble walking sometimes (this is a timid duck, it will eat without drinking because the others are hogging the water.)

    Last night we had a big thunder storm with tornado warnings and sirens going off, so I went to check on the ducks. They were laying down, but I noticed that one of the WHs wasn't getting comfortable. Every time it sat/laid, it was almost like it had a whole body hiccup or spasm that raised it back up. This was happening in regular intervals of just a few seconds for about 20 minutes until it just gave up and started walking around. I got it to eat some food with BY on it (this duck is the timid one), and picked it up and put it next to the water. It drank quite a bit, then went back to lay down and the same thing kept happening. I noticed the other WH did the same thing, but less frequently. This morning, I saw one of the Black Swedish was doing it. After I showered and got dressed, they were all laying down and falling asleep except for one of the WHs that just seemed to give up trying to sleep after a bout of this--I think it was the other WH. It's like a full body belch. It goes from sitting to lifting its chest off the ground, extending its neck and standing up. Not a very quick motion. Almost like breathing or a slow burp. I have a video on my phone, but I'm not sure I have a way of posting it.

    With the WHs, I don't see any neck problems, but I notice one foot standing on top of the other and what appears to be wing tremors from time to time. They're probably about 3 weeks old, feathers are coming in, and its almost impossible for me to keep their chests dry. I didn't think to turn the fan off to listen for sounds when it happens. Any suggestion or diagnosis is appreciated. Sorry for the long post, but I want to be thorough. The Welsh Harlequins are my favorite because they're so friendly and curious. I don't want to lose any ducks, but I REALLY don't want to lose either of them.

    So, infection? Normal behavior at this age? Nutritional or environmental issue? Food stuck in throats?
     
  2. wallawu

    wallawu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been trying to find a way to upload a video on youtube, but I can't get it to work and I'm getting frustrated. Just imagine a duck sitting, then standing and lowering immediately, then sitting, then standing and lowering over and over every 2 seconds for 10 minutes until it just decides to give up on the sitting. It looks like maybe its toes stretch out pretty far, too. Kind of like how muscles do when dry heaving. Any direction would be great. Thanks!
     
  3. wallawu

    wallawu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It seems I'm talking to myself here, but I went home for lunch to clean out their enclosure and turned off the exhaust fan when I saw one of them doing it. It sounds like a reverse honk. It's definitely inhaling, which I hope rules out muscular issues, but may point towards something in the throat or an infection. We fed them chopped up romaine lettuce last night for the first time. That's all they've had besides the chick mash and oats (oats are dry. is that bad?) They have never had grit. I'm in the city, so their aren't many vets that are duck experts. I'll keep calling around, but would love some help and maybe a sigh of relief from someone here!
     
  4. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely outside my wheel house. Maybe @Amiga knows, or can tag some other helpers.
     
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  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    @wallawu
    Hi,

    It may be within the range of normal behavior, actually.

    Please take a deep breath and try to load a video to Vimeo or Youtube.

    I have some initial thoughts - I added chick grit to their feed, per Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks recommendations - just a light sprinkling to each 6 inch diameter plate of food.

    My ducks do make a honking sound on the inhale sometimes in their night pen (that is big enough that I can join them sometimes and just visit, and watch them.

    I would not panic at this point . . . I am trying to visualize what they are doing, and it sounds kinda familiar to me.....

    My ducklings - and even now my ducks sometimes - used to do something that looked like what I do when I am trying to get my ears to pop when I am traveling at high altitudes.
     
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  6. Jujubeans2008

    Jujubeans2008 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm pretty new to ducks; I have only had them for about six weeks.
    But I'll give this my best shot!
    If ducklings eat anything other than their food, they need grit. From my understanding, ducks and chickens do not have stomach acid to help digest food.The grit helps grind down the food, so their crop doesn't get impacted. They might be having trouble "digesting" treats.
    Also, I give my ducklings Nutritional Yeast twice a day. It seems like once every few days isn't "enough" for my ducklings.
    Finally, I have a rooster (not a duck), that has been having leg issues. He does the whole stand up, sit down, can't get comfortable deal. I think it is because his legs hurt. He was my neighbor's rooster, and another rooster beat him up to the point that he couldn't walk at all. She gave him to us, and he is healing, but it's a long process. Maybe your duckling could have something wrong with it's leg?
    I hope you get to the bottom of it. :)
     
  7. wallawu

    wallawu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, i set up an appointment to drop the WHs off tomorrow morning. Both of them are standing one foot on top of the other almost completely and dont walk with their legs fully extending now. More sitting on their knees. The smaller one crosses leg over leg a lot when it walks. I have the two separated from the others for now to make sure they eat the brewers yeast and get the durvet (dervut?) in their water. It may be overkill, but i wanted to make sure i wasnt lettin somethin in that could harm all 6 of them. If this is from a niacin deficiency, how long would it take to correct?

    Thanks for the info! If it weren't too late id probably cancel the appointment. Im supposed to drop them off early tomorrow morning before i go to work. @Amiga
     
  8. Jujubeans2008

    Jujubeans2008 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine improved in two or three days from the nutritional yeast. It wasn't a fully recovery, but it was a noticeable change.
     
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  9. wallawu

    wallawu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I may have to leave them separated for a bit until i know they're on the mend and getting enough niacin. The smaller one lets all the others eat first and doesn't stand up for his or herself to get to the water. Im ready to have them outside in more space. I know they'll be much happier. I just want to keep them all healthy! When i put them in a little pen outside it makes sitting on the deck even more enjoyable!
     
  10. Jujubeans2008

    Jujubeans2008 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitely keep them separated for now, until they start mending, then monitor them. I don't think you have a super serious problem on your hand, I really think it sounds like it's "fixable." If there's a size difference, one of the ducklings could have been trampled by the other ducks. They don't really watch where they are going. I had a baby chick get trampled by the ducks, and had to separate the chicks and the ducks. I'll put them back together once the chickens are fully grown. I had no idea chicks grew so much slower than ducks do! :)
     

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