Found my Cayuga duck on his back the other night - couldn't flip!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by gallatea, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. gallatea

    gallatea Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2010
    Okay, so I don't know if this duck was doing this intentionally (it had never occurred to me that this could be intentional) but here is a pic:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/23298_upside_down_duck.jpg

    he seemed to have a little trouble righting himself from this position...

    I looked for other posts regarding this situation - someone else posted a pic above. So I see others have it happen, by any idea why? My duck books give no explanation but I was sick to death the following 24 hours worrying about him. He's not even a year old. I'm wondering if he's too fat? Other people said it could be heat - but it's cold out.

    So the story: I found him the other night like this when I came home from shopping. It's 40's/50's out and dark at 430pm. I thought he had gotten attacked. I lock all my chickens/ducks up at night, but sometimes don't do it as early as dinner.

    He could NOT flip over. My Old English Sheepdog that he bites all the time (the duck bites the dog) went right up to him, sniffing away. Nothing --- he just laid there flapping his feet. Then I helped him, he was obsessed with how dirty he was, so he drank, bathed and ate. He appeared dizzy and clumsy at first. I had to wonder how long he'd been laying there. He's fine now - no signs of injury whatsoever, and he doesn't feel that fat.

    Anyone else have this problem?​
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Could be a neurological issue, and then there is nothing you can do.
    Make sure he does not have an ear infection, because that can mess with their sense of orientation. Giving them a ducky version of vertigo.
    Add niacin (vitamin B3) to the diet. A lack of it can also cause disorientation. No guarantee that this will fix it, but it will if it is cause by a deficiency. You can buy it at Walmart in the vitamin isle. Mix 100mg per 1 gallon drinking water. It's ok for the other poultry to drink it too. Vitamin B3 is a water soluble vitamin, which means it will not accumulate in the body. It's naturally present in leafy greens, so there is a possibility of deficiency since it is winter.
     
  3. gallatea

    gallatea Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Thanks so much for the info. He hasn't done it since and has no signs of dizziness now. Such a freak thing. My ducks are fed a mix of pellets, cheerios (plain), whole oats, popcorn (as a treat once in a while), ground flax (more for my chickens laying), and leafy greens (spinach too 1x/wk. for a little calcium) and fruits at least 2-3x's a week. They have about 100ft. x 100ft grazing area too (all fenced in). Since I only have 2 ducks, there are tons of baby grasses - in Oregon it grows year round, no freezing except a touch of frost at night, maybe.

    Maybe I should up the leafy greens. Supplements that are water soluble are mostly pee'd out, so I should think about a fresh food option to supplement. He's not showing any signs of an ear infection, but what else would be going on with an ear infection other than dizziness, discharge, inflammation, head tilt or itching? He has no signs/symptoms. But I'm keeping an eye on him.

    I wish they could be litterbox trained, he'd be in the house with me. This is my first duck.
     
  4. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I would stay away from spinach. Commercial feed is notoriously low on niacin since chicken don't need that much. Niacin is very cheap to buy so I would add it to the drinking water at least once per month. Don't worry about the wasted water, since niacin is cheap. I'm also in Oregon, but in the mountains at 4000 ft and everything is frozen up here. It was in the teens this morning when I let my ducks out. They decided to stay on the hay until it got above 20. Ducks don't always show sign with ear infections. You have to physically take a look and smell the ears for yeast. They don't lay on their backs naturally nor for fun. Make sure they get sufficient protein in their diet (16-17%), but they can supplement with bugs themselves. A product I like to use for my ducks is. Anyway ducks needs a lot of niacin.
     
  5. gallatea

    gallatea Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:The cheerios and whole oats have niacin though (and they gobble that down), but I'll look into it. I just took a nutrition course, and basically there is no proof that supplements work, better to get vitamins/minerals from a natural/food source. I'm not too happy with using commercial feeds in general, so try to vary the diet. And smell his ears..! Didn't think about that.
     
  6. gallatea

    gallatea Out Of The Brooder

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    also have heard of organic farmers feeding brewer's yeast to ducks...source of niacin...
     
  7. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You can use brewer's yeast instead. I don't have a dosage for that.
    I'm not to sure about the nutrition not being absorbed when it is not from a natural source. I had stomach surgery a couple of years ago and can no longer absorb many of the vitamins naturally from food. Do do however am able to absorb it from supplements just fine. I get my blood checked every 6 month so I will stay within normal range. Some of it I do have to inject monthly. I know the soluble niacin is working in ducks. There are many that had ducks with issues like yours and they did get cured with niacin. They are usually younger birds that get it, but that does not mean older ones cannot get it. Anyway it could be neurological. You basically have to eliminated one by one until you know what it it.
     
  8. gallatea

    gallatea Out Of The Brooder

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    crickey - didn't know about the spinach..I'm nixing the popcorn and spinach
     
  9. gallatea

    gallatea Out Of The Brooder

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    Those are good points. And I'm only going on my knowledge of humans - working on my RN - and the push is to get nutrition from food sources, vs. pills unless there is something physiologically out of whack. But there are extreme circumstances like with pernicious anemia (lack of intrinsic factor) where something else is preventing the absorption of a vitamin and injections are necessary. I just found out from blood work that I am vit. D deficient, but I avoided the sun too much. I did go back to taking pills & getting a bit of sun everyday and it's back in check. Despite what I read, I'm still sitting on the fence about pills.

    Well what you said is making me think twice - I mean the food source vs. a supplement. The farmer I bought my Ancona from also feeds his birds tomatoes pretty religiously. Another source, so I'll try nixing spinach/popcorn and adding tomatoes or maybe a supplement. The other duck has never done this. So maybe it's just the Cayuga.
     
  10. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I'm also on vitamin D3. I take about 2000 IU per day. It's a lot for most, but I do need this large dose to get it right for me. Vitamin A is also an issue for me. Then comes B12 which I need to inject. I'm all for natural ways, if it works. Most of the time it actually does work. In Germany you have to take two alternative medicine classes to become a medical doctor, and you can see the difference. They always try natural ways first. To this day I still don't take cold meds or nasal sprays. Natural works well for me, minus the drowsiness. Have never taken a laxative either. Good old figs or sauerkraut work just fine. So does a balanced meal with lots of vegetables or a good salad with olive oil. There are so many things that can be done.
     

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