dying ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by mocloy, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. mocloy

    mocloy New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2013
    My wife and I have always had several ducks. A mixed bag so to speak, we have Peking, Rouan, Buff, and one that has a grey head and a mix of grey and white wings on a buff body, so not sure what kind that is. My Peking ducks seem to do very well and all the ducks are fat and healthy. They enjoy a spring fed pond of about an acre in size and we supplement the diet with whole corn that we buy at the local feed store. We have had our share of predators; coyotes mostly, but have also had fox and bobcat problems, Owl and Chicken Hawks. Installing predator lights have eliminated those problems but have seen coyotes after dawn when the lights don't work and still have problems with Owls and Chicken Hawks but they go mostly for the smaller chickens.

    Sorry this is rambling but this is my first time on this site and wanted to give as much info as possible.

    My question is as follows:

    Last year we lost 4 of the peking ducks and so far this year one of the pekings has died and now a second one is apparently sick and waiting to die. What happens is they separate from the other ducks and won't associate with them in any way. They become "loners" and simply go to the oposite side of the pond to wait to die. Can anyone tell me what they think the problems may be and why this is happening to what appears to, a layman, perfectly healthy fat ducks?

    Thanks in advance for anyones help.

    Mo Cloy
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Glad you have joined us on the Duck Forum, Mo Cloy.

    There are a number of things that can go wrong. Could be viral, bacterial, fungal, hidden injury, parasite load.

    The only way to be sure is a necropsy. In my state, the ag university will do one for free. You need to get the recently deceased body to them a.s.a.p. I wrapped my duck in a towel and placed her body in a cardboard box with some ice packs, since it's a 1.5 hour drive to the lab.

    Something else to try is to get a fecal sample to a lab, since some kinds of parasites and bacteria will show up under a microscope.
     
  3. Quack Addict

    Quack Addict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't mention the age of your ducks. Pekins have a fairly short life span. Could they just be dying of old age?
     
  4. mocloy

    mocloy New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2013
    They are about a year old this spring.....
     
  5. mocloy

    mocloy New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2013
    ok...thank you
     
  6. mocloy

    mocloy New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2013
    ok thank you......
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Yes, a year old is too young. Do you have a state university that can do the necropsy?

    Another question I have is, can you take the sick duck in to sick bay and have a much closer look? You could give it a poultry vitamin-electrolyte-probiotic mix, make sure it's getting lots of fresh water.

    Toxins are another possible cause. Could they be getting into a rotting carcass or fetid water? If so, they could get botulism, though I don't see that from the way you describe their behavior.

    Something else you can do if you have the duck confined is see what the fecal material looks like. Does it smell really rancid, is there blood in it?
     
  8. mocloy

    mocloy New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2013
    Well....although they are friendly....we have always let them run loose so they will only come up close to us if we are feeding them corn.....Texas A & M is a couple of hundred miles from us....Baylor University about 40....but I don't think Baylor would be able to help. Do you think it strange that they are doing this one at a time and also do you think it is normal for the afflicted one to go off by him/her self to be alone? Are the other ducks running them out of their circle.....we only have 7 ducks but they usually always hang togther.

    Thanks
     
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Going off by himself or herself sounds familiar. I have lost two ducks to egg yolk peritonitis, and one of the advanced symptoms is isolating themselves. They get a far-away stare, and stop interacting with the flock.

    Can you send a fecal sample to Texas A & M? Or is there a nearby vet or wildlife rehabber who could do a smear and look under a microscope for anything obvious?

    I would at least contact the university and see if they have options. There may be satellite labs that cooperate with their program.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  10. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As Amiga said it could be any number of things. A disease slowly spreading through the flock or a contaminant that is taking it's toll slowly. I'd call the university or you local extension office. You can ship the carcass. They need to be refrigerated and not frozen and then shipped in a cooler type container. If you can find someone to do a necropsy, they can inform you on shipping needs.

    They tend to isolate, either by choice or because they aren't able to keep up or the others shun them because they know they are sick.

    Body condition can be hard to determine without a physical exam. I had a rooster, a big guy, that all of a sudden wouldn't come out of the coop. I picked him up and he was a feather covered skeleton even though he looked fine.
     

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