Ducklings getting stuck on their backs

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by localife, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some of my Welsh Harlequin ducklings (4 days old) seem to be unable to get themselves back up when they find themselves on their backs, and it is freaking everyone out, including me! Most of them seem to pop right up, but there's at least one (there are a total of 10 -- 2 male, 8 female) who just flails around and kicks and hollers and digs herself into the shavings while everyone else freaks out and runs for a corner of the brooder. It has happened twice, that I know of (not sure if it's the same duckling it's happened to both times), and I have reached in and flipped the upended duckling over -- should I be helping, or letting her figure it out for herself in spite of how freaked everyone else gets? I'm not sure whether to be worried about it or not. Everyone is in excellent health, by the way, as far as I can tell -- crazy silly little beasties, very active and strong. Thanks in advance for any input!
     
  2. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Let me first say I don't have much experience with this kind of thing, but maybe this will be something to check into until someone with a real clue answers.

    First how deep is your bedding? They need enough for some traction and some absorbency so they aren't treading in their waste, but if there is too much i could be like walking on a trampoline making it more difficult for them.

    Also If you aren't giving them some kind of probiotic/electrolyte mix (like save-a-chick) and a niacin supplement, it would probably be a good idea. They might be short on something. Ducks need more niacin than chicks and if you are feeding them chick starter, they will need more. You can either get niacin capsules and open them and add them to the water or add brewers' yeast to the food. The probiotic/electrolyte mix is just to make sure they aren't short on anything that could interfere with their development.

    Also I would somehow mark the one(s) that flip (maybe a sharpie on a tail fuzz?) If it is the same one, there might be something very wrong with that one that needs attention. If it is several of them, maybe something like the bedding being too thick is the problem.

    Hopefully one of our resident experts will add to this, but this will at least get you a start (and bump your thread back up to the top [​IMG])
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  3. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your reply! It could be that the bedding is too deep -- I had paper towels on top of the shavings for the first few days, and they did fine with that, but the towels got so filthy so fast. I think I may go back to that for a bit if it continues to be problem. So far everyone's legs seem quite strong, and I do add brewer's yeast to their feed and propbiotics to their water, so hopefully their apparent good health will conitnue. I really like your idea of marking whoever gets stuck so that I can tell if it's the same one -- thanks for that!
     
  4. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    No problem. We brooded 11 ducklings. Initially we bought a "brooder kit", but as they grew we transfered them into a makeshift brooder. We used signboard for walls (real cheap) and a tarp for the floor and put about 1/2" of shavings over the tarp. We would spot clean the shavings for 2 - 3 days then lift the tarp, dump it out and start again. As they got older, the shavings got a little deeper (when they scuffed it clear to the tarp, we made it thicker.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  5. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    How is day. 5 going?
     
  6. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So far so good! It seems that they have packed down the shavings with all their waddling and tramping around and everyone who has ended up on their backs has been able to pop right back up. They got stressed overnight, by my cat who discovered that he could place himself in just such a way as to make his evil presence known, and then presumably watch the panic show. When I woke up this morning, he was just leaving the perch he found (which will now be made inaccessible) acting like "ho, hum, nothing to see here" and the poor ducklings were all piled in a corner trying to be invisible. No one seems to be the worse for it, though, and everyone quickly got up and went crazy over the food and water once they realized I was up and around. It is absolutely cracking me up the way they suddenly wake up, waddle over the the food and water, go bananas over it for awhile, play, and then just as suddenly they all flop down under the lamp for a nap. So cute!

    My 7 year old son has chosen names for the boys -- Frank and Jimmy :)

    Thanks for checking in on us!
     
  7. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Great!
    And
    :welcome
    And now you have to post pictures :celebrate
     
  8. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here they are -- and I got the names wrong. It's Larry and Jimmy for the boys!

    [​IMG]

    And here's the feeding tray I built, which makes life with them indoors tolerable :)
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Great Pictures! I built a similar tray for drinking (more slapped together 2x4s and hardware cloth with no nice frame - yours looks much nicer.) We put cake pans under the waterers to catch the water and poop for easy removal. The food bar (we had the kind that is closed with a bunch of holes on top for each duck to eat from.) Was farther away in the bedding (this was after they were about 2 weeks old). This encouraged them to run back and forth and reduced crowding. We didn't get much spillage from the food so just focused on the water and poop. It sure is much easier when they can't wet down the bedding.

    [​IMG]

    By the way, I snagged this picture from the book in my signature (ridiculously obvious plug [​IMG]) If you notice, on the bottom of the flock counting from the right ducks 1 and 3 are Welsh Harlequins [​IMG] (they are a week younger than the rest).
     
  10. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I think ,y pan arrangement just looks fancier because it was clean when I took the picture :)

    And I have been informed by my son that their names ARE NOT Frank and Jimmy -- it's LARRY and Jimmy :)
     

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