Had some duck drama this morning

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Sweetfolly, May 29, 2010.

  1. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    For the past two years, I've kept my 1 - 2 month old ducklings in a big, wire dog crate overnight in the garage before they move into the adult pens. The crate has a wire floor with pans underneath - the wire is small enough (about 1/2" wire mesh) that I figured it was safe - I'd never had a problem with it, even when my little Mallards lived in there.

    Well, this morning I went to let them outside, and one of my Stanbridge White drakes is lying on the floor, flopping around and struggling. I let all the other ducks out, at which point, it became obvious that he was somehow stuck. I thought maybe he had pinched some feathers or a wing along the edge of the crate, but when I started feeling around to figure out where he was caught, I discovered that he had managed to get his entire leg and foot woven down through the wire, so that his leg was stuck down to his hock joint, and the foot came back up through the wire underneath him. Like I said, I've NEVER had a duckling manage to get a foot caught in that wire, I've never even seen one of them stumble on it, but this BIG 7 week old Stanbridge White drake managed to WEAVE his leg through it. [​IMG]

    It was bad. I had to run next door and get my neighbor to help me manipulate the duck around to see what I could do. The wire is just too thick to cut away (and the ducks leg was so swollen, I don't think we could have cut the wire without cutting the leg too), and the way the leg was woven though the wire, we weren't sure which way to try and pull without causing more damage.

    In the end, my neighbor bent down with a flashlight so he could see from underneath, we poured olive oil all over the leg, I managed to get a hold of his leg just under the hock joint, and pulled straight up. It was tight, the duck was obviously in a LOT of pain and he complained, but we finally managed to pull the leg out!

    I took him inside and cleaned him up, to get an idea of the damage. His leg is very swollen - it was a little gray when it was stuck, and I was worried that the circulation had been cut off too long, but it got it's color back just a few seconds after we pulled him out. There's a small open wound on the leg, below the hock joint, where it was stuck, and I'm pretty sure that we dislocated something when we pulled him out. He's limping bad (which is to be expected), but he seems to have pretty good use of the leg, and the foot moves in response to my touching it - which is a really good sign!

    He also did a LOT of damage to his wing while he was struggling to free himself. He broke LOTS of blood feathers - I'm not sure if I should pluck them or leave them be.

    Anyways - I cleaned the wound on his leg with hydrogen peroxide and put a dab of antibiotic ointment on it, but I'm not sure what to do with the wing. I cleaned it really well, and now he's in a new, clean run that I set up quickly, with a few friends to keep him company. He ate, and he even preened himself after the bath I gave him in the bathtub (he kept losing his balance though [​IMG] ). I'll be keeping him and one companion separate from the other ducks for a few nights (NONE of them are going back in that wire crate!), and giving him lots of electrolytes in his water.

    Any other suggestions? Especially about that wing - it's soooo tender, I want to do something to help him!
    Plus, I want to avoid any infections - are there any antibiotics I should be giving him, in addition to the electrolytes?
    I've been very lucky for the past 5 years - I've never lost a bird to a predator, and I've never had to deal with any injuries besides one broken blood feather on a wing of another of the Stanbridge Whites this year - so I apologize if I'm overreacting! [​IMG]



    EDIT: He's having a lot of trouble keeping his balance - if he did dislocate a joint, is there anything I can do here at home to fix it? My vet is really great about helping me out with my ducks, but she closed an hour ago and won't be in again until Tuesday! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2010
  2. Falcon61

    Falcon61 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Sounds like you've done what you can. From the pic. it looks like just a matter of time to heal. Should be healing up pretty good in a couple of weeks. Good Luck
  3. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Chillin' With My Peeps

    That sounds horrible. im sorry, i dont know what to do, ive never dealt with cuts on my birds before. Hope you get some help from a more experienced BYC'er
  4. L0rraine

    L0rraine Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2009
    Whidbey Island
    As I recall, our vet had us use neosporin on our duck's bumble foot, and I think it's been referenced on other BYC threads for cuts and scrapes. As far as the limping, I think you are probably correct that time will heal the leg. I had a drake get caught up in a soccer net and limp pretty badly for a few days after being de-tangled, but he was back to normal within the week. It's amazing how resilient they can be. (And how they manage to find ways to get hurt - no matter how hard we try to keep them safe.)
  5. Kim65

    Kim65 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2009
    Washington state
    If the leg was out of joint he could not move it at all, nor would he even try to walk on it. Humans with joints out of the socket are the same, so that's how I'm guessing lol.

    His wing injury should heal too, keep it from getting infected with the Neosporin, give extra protein in his feed for healing. Girl I think you have this down, he's going to be OK [​IMG]

    Definitely B vitamins for the stress of it all.

    Yes, they sure do find the most amazing ways to hurt themselves or god forbid, commit "suicide" accidentally [​IMG]
  6. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    Quote:Thanks! The worst thing I've had to deal with with the ducks so far is really bad arthritis in my old, Jumbo Pekin - so seeing raw skin and blood is very distressing, especially on one of this years babies!

    This guy didn't have a name yet, but the way he's hobbling around right now, limping and having trouble holding up that one wing, he's been dubbed "Igor"! [​IMG]

    The bleeding seems to have stopped on those broken wing feathers. Do I leave them, or do I pluck them? I've read that they often start bleeding again if they get whacked at all, and with cage birds you should generally pluck a broken blood feather - does the same hold true for ducks? [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2010
  7. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    The duck is in enough stress right now, so I would not plug the feathers at all. Give it some time, and you can always plug them later if still needed. Nature can be more resilient then you think. It may heal all by itself. The picture does not look that bad. Wait 24 hours and it will look much better.
    You may need to cover the metal with 1/2 inch coated hardware cloth. Just bend around the sides to avoid sharp edges. That way nobody can get caught. You can also get rid of it and use pine shavings instead. They absorb the mess and you can use it as mulch under your shrubs.
  8. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    Quote:Alrighty, I'll leave it be. It just looks so sore! [​IMG]

    I'll make sure I update in the next week or so to show how he improves. My biggest concerns were the bleeding from the wing feathers, the limping, and preventing infection - and now I feel re-assured that I can leave the wing feathers alone, the limping should slowly heal, and if I keep everything clean and put a little antibiotic ointment on it, nothing will get infected. [​IMG]

    I did measure, and the bottom of that wire crate is just 1 mm over 1/2 inch square mesh, but it's a very large gauge wire, which makes the actual holes themselves smaller - a little under 1/2 inch square! I don't know HOW in the world he managed it, but he's already a BIG duck, so if anyone is using 1/2" mesh for smaller bantam ducks, I'd say go down to 1/4" to be safe - even if this is just a freak incident! [​IMG]

    Don't worry, none of the ducks are going back in that crate - they were only in there overnight, and they're in a run right next to the adult runs during the day because I'm in the process of merging them together. I'm thinking that I'll move the ducklings into the adult pens tonight, and just whip up a little barrier with 2x4's and some wire mesh that I'll stretch across the pen and screw to the walls, dividing it into sections so they can be together, but can't squabble, until they're more used to one another, because I tried putting them all together last week and my Jumbo Pekin wasn't amused and was really rough with the newbies. They just need a little more time - I think I tried merging last years ducklings with the adults about three times before they decided they could live together without all the fighting and feather pulling. [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2010
  9. TennesseeTruly

    TennesseeTruly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Church Hill, TN
    Oh hun, I'm so sorry about your duck. Poor baby. I don't think he dislocated it, (or you did). But he's probably really sore from being in that position.

    I'd keep a close eye on him and keep doing what you're doing. I think you're doing all you can.

    Good luck!

  10. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Some picking always happens. They need to establish flock rules. It even happened with my new hatchlings. Only one day apart and they did pick a little. They are all bodies now. With adults it may take a few days.

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