Ducklings suddenly dying


In the Brooder
Sep 22, 2019
This year I decided to try hatching out ducks. I hatched 4 in June. The incubation and hatching process weren't any trouble, went slick as could be. When they were about 4 weeks old I started putting them in a small, temporary coop outside during the day. They absolutely loved it. I'd bring them in at night so they wouldn't get cold. All was well for about a week. All of a sudden they, one by one, started losing interest in food and water. Then they'd have a seizure and die. Within a week all four of them were dead. The only symptoms they had were not eating, not drinking, green poop, and right before they died they couldn't stand.

Fast forward a month and I hatched out 8 more ducklings. They were good till about 8 weeks and then they same thing happened to that batch. They went in a different pen than the first bunch. I wanted to make sure that wasn't the problem.

I'm currently struggling to keep my last two babies alive. One seems to be doing great. Unfortunately the other is not doing so good. I'm going to try to make some calls tomorrow to see if there's a vet anywhere near me that will treat a fingers crossed!

Does anyone have any ideas about what could be causing my babies to die? I have racked my brain and exhausted Google and I still can't come up with a good answer. The only thing I can think of that they have all had in common is they share a dad. Could my drake be passing along some sort of mutated gene?

None of this makes any sense to me. It's really frustrating and heartbreaking to have all my babies die. It sounds corny but I've put my heart and soul into these ducks. Having my little ones die for no apparent reason has been terrible. Any help or new ideas would be appreciated!
So sorry you are losing them.
What are you feeding them? Are you providing plenty of clean water, deep enough to dunk their whole bill? What’s your setup like? Ducklings don’t need much heat after they start feathering in. Too warm isn’t good for them.
Ducks also benefit from extra vitamins, B complex, etc.

What breed? Any crested? Any possible toxins in your yard? Weed killer, etc? Are you letting them swim?

Sorry for all the questions, but it’s so hard to guess possible problems.
I gave them all fresh water, day and night.

The four that died earlier in the year were in a small chicken of those cheaply made ones similar to what you'd find at Tractor Supply. They had a black rubber bowl that they were using as a swimming pool. Those ones were all khaki campbell. I used Purina chick starter, not the medicated one, till the bag was gone. Then I switched them to the Purina grower pellets. They only had those for a couple days before they started dying.

My second batch of chicks were in a completely different house. I got one of those portable dog fences and set that up for them with a bigger dish for water. I would refill once in the morning when I let them out, once when I'd get home from work and maybe even a third time after supper. Some of them were pure khaki campbell. Some were a mix..I'm not sure what breed their mom's are. I used poulin grain chick starter till they were 4-5 weeks old then switched them to the grower pellets. They didn't seem to have any trouble till I came home one day after work and one was dead.

I have two boys that free range in the yard and they're fine, so I can't imagine it's anything to do with toxins in the yard. We don't spray weed killer or anything. They were able to get to shade if need be. I stopped using the heat lamp with all of them around 3ish weeks. My second batch I babied hard and always put extra vitamins in their water. All of them seemed healthy and happy...till they weren't anymore.

Don't apologize for asking! I appreciate you asking and trying to help. I am at a loss. I've had other ducks and not had this problem. That's why I was wondering about their dad passing something along. Any help is greatly appreciated!! ☺️
I never noticed any blood in their poop. I did notice that when they were starting to get sick their poop was green with a minty green liquid..if that makes any sense lol

As far as their appetites, they all had normal appetites. They loved it when I brought them food. They'd go absolutely crazy. Until they started getting sick. Then they'd pick at it and eventually stop eating. I would give them food once in the morning and once in the early evening. When I put them in at night I'd bring their food dish inside.

The only rodents I've ever seen are squirrels lol I had someone mention rat poop can be toxic to ducks. But I've never seen any around.
I’m at a loss also. Usually if they are going to die, it happens sooner.

I always worry about pellet feed with my ducks, since I have 98% bantams, I only occasionally feed pellets to my one group of big chickens. But I do know lots of folks feed pellets to young ducklings without issues.

For lack of anything else coming to mind, maybe check the date on the feed bags?

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