Ducks losing feathers: is this normal? (w/ pics)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by AwesomeFacer, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. AwesomeFacer

    AwesomeFacer Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, all. I have two 12-week old male Rouen ducks who sleep in a coop with 13 Buff Orpington hens and free range all day. About 2 weeks ago, we noticed that the ducks were beginning to lose feather on their undersides, and it has progressed so that there are barely any dark outer feathers underneath their wings and across their bellies. Is this normal for ducks of this age, or is something else going on?

    On one occasion I went out to the coop after dark to close things up, feed my flock, etc. and I noticed that a few of the chickens were going up to one of my ducks and pecking at it. The duck didn't seem to care too much, didn't squack or run away, but it made a lightbulb go off in my head -- is it possible that the chickens are doing this to the ducks? And if so, what do I do about it?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Hi!

    I would not rule out chickens, but at about that age my runners (girls) went through a molt. Mercy, there were feathers floating all over the place! They looked kind of cute, in a disheveled sort of way.

    You may have molting ducks with chickens pulling their feathers, too. With feathers loose, it may not bother the ducks that much right now.

    Keep feeding them well, and look for new feathers to start coming in.

    If you don't see new feathers starting (my runners developed what looked like thin blue straws on their wings), then please post again to update us.

    By the way - they haven't had any trouble or trauma lately, have they? No feed problems, or harassment by predators, extreme temperatures, that kind of thing?
     
  3. AwesomeFacer

    AwesomeFacer Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Now that you mention it, the loss of feathers seems to have started during that heat wave here in the North East a few weeks back. I bet that's partially related.

    After reading some other posts, I see that others have their chickens and ducks live together, so I'm less concerned about that. The ducks don't have any wounds and are happy as anything, so even if the chickens are pulling out feathers, I'm not sure it's as big a deal to the ducks as it is to me. [​IMG]
     
  4. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    Looks like they are molting into adult colors.
     
  5. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This may be a related case....My 8 week old white campbell girl is losing feathers as well, but it has been pretty warm here in Boise, mid 80s. She has a pool to cool off in, but her feathers are coming out on her underside, exposing patches of fluffy down...is she just getting new adult feathers? Or is it just warm? Like my cat sheds off fluff in the summertime? Help please [​IMG]
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Examine her closely for mites, be sure she is getting enough protein and a balanced feed, perhaps give some vitamins.
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Molting is stressful so like Amiga said maybe add some vitamins to their diet right now, there Poultry Nutri drench and also a product called Avia Charge 2000. both excellent.
     
  8. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel like maybe she is just moulting to some new adult feathers, because I can feel new quills under the down.....I'll check her out tomorrow.
     
  9. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She doesn't seem to be unhappily pulling at them out of boredom or stress, my 4 hens and her have plenty of free range time and space in their run and they all get along great so I don't think the chickens are pulling them. I searched her for any signs of mites this morning, mind you it was just a quick check because I had to get ready for work, but I didn't see any indication. There is no down missing, just the outer feathers. I can feel and see new quills underneath, she isn't sensitive or tender to the touch and the areas are a healthy pink. Just new feather growth? I think maybe especially because it's been warm too.
     
  10. Rlstewardson

    Rlstewardson New Egg

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    Our adult female Pekin duck is losing her feathers at a great rate of knots! After a little online research I'm less alarmed but am wondering about the timing. It seems that summer is when ducks mostly molt but we're just into winter here in Australia. We have recently introduced two 5.5 week old ducklings, after a gentle, gradual socialisation, who have not yet grown all of their feathers and the three seem to be spending lots of relaxed time together foraging or sleeping in close proximity. One of the ducklings is a male Pekin and the other a female Khaki Campbell. Temperatures here are around 5 degrees C min and around 15 to 20 max. No heat waves since February.


    Loving having ducks to cuddle after trying rabbits and hens. 2 McLahey River turtles and feeder fish. Cats and dogs owned by both neighbours.
     

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