Floppy, shaky duckling who keeps falling on his back!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 19, 2010
I posted earlier today and have just been reading posts that are very similar to what my duckling is experiencing, and I need ADVICE!!! I have one duckling down, having tremors, falling over on her back.. She hasn't had water all day, though I've tried dipping her beaks a few times. Does anyone know what these are symptoms of?? She is totally unsteady, disoriented, can't hold herself up well. I am expecting she won't make it through the night at this point. Other posts say that once one dies they all seem to follow suit. What should I do? Anybody out there??
Do you have vitamin electrolyte mix? And a dropper?

You might try apple cider vinegar.

These are things that can help the immune system.

Can you afford a vet, or can you find a wildlife rehabilitator in your area who can advise you?
I can't afford a vet. I've been googling symptoms, and it sounds like it might be Riemerella anatipestifer:

In the acute form, listlessness, eye discharge and diarrhea are commonly seen. Ducks show incoordination, shaking of the head and twisted neck. Birds are commonly found on their backs, paddling their legs. Typical lesions found in dead birds are infected air sacs, membranes covering the heart and liver, and meningitis.

Does anyone know abotu this disease?
If it is a communicable disease, quarantine would be a good idea - in any case, having the bird where you can tend to it more closely will likely help. Keeping it quiet, warm, dry, with available water and nutritious feed may really make a difference, more than a very specific diagnosis at this point.

Feed stores carry some kinds of antibiotics. But you need to be giving the bird some kind of nutritional and environmental support A.S.A.P.
Oh man ....seperate him now! I had that wipe out almost all of my baby ducklings from a hatch one time....hate telling you that. But keep him away fast and if any others start showing it seperate him too.
So I think she's beyond saving at this point... I've taken her out of the pen and made her a little hay nest a few feet away. Should she be completely out of the room, or do you think out of the pen sufficient quarantine? I'm planning to do a complete clean out of the pen tomorrow and bleach the food and water containers... Arrrgh I hate this! I'll definitely be on the look-out for other sickies, but the rest APPEAR to be totally fine for the time being. Knock on wood, please please please, etc. They're just getting their adult feathers in and seeming super sturdy and bomb-proof. So sad.
Separated but in the same room is not sufficient if it is an airborne illness. The sick duckling will need to be moved to another room.

As Amiga alluded, misting the area with vinegar followed by hydrogen peroxide is a very effective way to sterilize without using harsh chemicals (either by itself will work, but using peroxide AFTER vinegar has been shown to be a lot more effective than other alone).

If you don't want to bother with getting spray bottles for vinegar and peroxide, Clorox makes a pet safe bleach.

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