ducklings shaking and walking backwards

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MilkMaid, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. MilkMaid

    MilkMaid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    I have lost several ducklings the over the last week. I received them as day old ducklings from Metzer farms last Wednesday. I have raised ducklings many times before and have never seen such strange behavior or had so many ducklings die that seemed healthy only hours before. They seem to be shaking their heads violently every once in a while and then will walk backwards, sometimes in circles, sometimes while they are shaking. Does anyone know what this is? I am pretty sure everything I am doing is okay, since I have successfully raised a number of duckling batches over the years. Do you think I should let the farm I bought them from know about this? Maybe they have an idea about what it could be. Anyway, I am very lost and sad over hear and would appreciate any input. Thanks
     
  2. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    I'm sorry to hear about your ducklings. It isn't easy to watch that sort of thing unfold. I would definitely give Metzer a call and let them know. They probably can help you. I don't have an answer off the top of my head.
     
  3. themoorethemerrier

    themoorethemerrier Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2008
    WNY
    Oh no! I had that happen last year. I had free range Muscovy ducklings with their mom and then at night, I closed them in a crate. Something spooked the mother, she pooed all over, and then knocked the waterer over and killed most of her babies by trampling them. The ones I had left started doing the same thing your are, and they started to jump backwards. Eventually, they laid on their back, and kicked their legs up in the air.

    If that sounds what was happening, check to make sure they are warm enough... I know that they do that when they get severely chilled, maybe wet? We had newly hatched chicks get soaked from the waterer, and they did that. I dried them all with a towel and made sure they were warm enough, and all but five (of 100) made it. If they survive after that, then it's probably not a disease, but it never hurts to contact the hatchery...

    Good luck, and I hope you do better than I did...
     
  4. MilkMaid

    MilkMaid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Hello,

    Thanks for the replies. I am certain that they are warm enough though. We are having a heat wave here right now in Tri-cities, WA and they are out in a little pen ( just for today when it is warm) where they can have sun or shade. They have a heat lamp in their brooder, which is on when it is getting too cold for them. The ones who have died didn't seem wet either. It is so puzzling to me. I am thinking it must be disease or toxin. They don't ever lay on their backs or kick their legs up. They just seem to get weaker and weaker and just kind of "fall asleep" and don't wake up. I do a lot of natural and herbal treatments with my animals, and I have just started putting GSE in their waterer and have given them a small amount of oregano oil (only the ones showing signs), which is what I take when I am coming down with something. I am hoping that it will keep the others from coming down with whatever it is.
     
  5. themoorethemerrier

    themoorethemerrier Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2008
    WNY
    Okay... I searched all of my books for you - paratyphoid or keel (eliminate flock), coccidiosis (use sulfa compounds), new duck syndrome(antiboitics) , hepatitis(antibiotics.) I'd search these to see if any of them fit.
    Again, sorry!
     
  6. HeirloomHeritageFarms

    HeirloomHeritageFarms Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 6, 2008
    Spanaway, WA
    I had some muscovy babes do this.... I took them out of the brooder they were in... seems even though the bedding (painter's canvas to prevent spraddle leg) was fairly clean (they are ducks, afterall... they are lucky to keep their bedding clean for an hour!!), the fumes from the poo and wet canvas due to their playing in the water was too much for some of them.

    I lost only one of the 5... I washed their feet and put them in a different enclosure without a brooder light, and after about 15 minutes, they snapped out of it. I only had two that would relapse, but would re-treat as before, and now none of them do this - they grew out of it.

    Hope this helps [​IMG]
     
  7. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
    There are several candidates for these symptoms (AE/avian Encephalomyelitis ...vitE deficiency... botulism ... and Organophosphorus /Carbamate are the ones that immediately come to mind)
    I dont have time to pull all the articles for you (tho I have listed one below on the ortano/carbamate toxin as I was helping someone with that earlier this morning) ...
    VitE/selenium has been shown to help with many different conditions exhibiting neurological symptoms (and a deficiency will cause the symptoms also) so I would advise you to give half a (human) combo tab of vit E/selenium (make sure the selenium content of the tab does not exceed 50 MICROgrams!) once a day for three days then once every other day two times along with a B vitamin supplement. This combination has been shown in research studies to help recovery from several toxic substances.
    Walmart and Agway has this combo tab but to my understanding it is not difficult to find nor expensive.
    Here is the article on the organo/carbamate :
    http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/publications/field_manual/chapter_39.pdf
     
  8. MilkMaid

    MilkMaid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Well, I don't know that it could be fumes, as I also changed substrates and locations, etc. and they still do this. Another one just died. I don't know where they would be getting organophosphates either. I will go out and find some selenium/vitamin e anyway, and try that.
     
  9. MilkMaid

    MilkMaid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Well, some of the ducks have stopped the shaking and seem to be normal again. I have changed their bedding from wood shavings to peat moss to see if maybe they were ingesting the wood shavings and that was causing the symptoms. Also, I noticed on the bag of shavings that it says "soft wood shavings" and not "pine shavings". Do you think this could mean there is cedar in there? I don't know anything about whether cedar is soft or hard. Anyway, one duckling is still shaking quite a bit, and I don't expect him to live much longer. My husband is out getting the sel/vit E and some other things, and I will go ahead and give that to whomever is still showing symptoms. Anyway, thanks for everyone's suggestions.
     
  10. WisconsinChick

    WisconsinChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had three ducklings last year and the same thing happened to them...... I still have no idea what was wrong.
     

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