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Help!!! Muscovy Drake Over Preening.....

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by NOLAdee, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. NOLAdee

    NOLAdee In the Brooder

    Jul 22, 2009
    New Orleans
    I am having an issue with 2 of my ducks. 1st is my Muscovy drake, he is 8mo old, and I hatched him from eggs I got from Bleenie. The issue is his wing feathers. They are ragged and chewed looking. The same is happening with my Cayuga drake, who is 10 mo old. It is only happening with these two guys, I have 50 other ducks, 5 Wood Ducks and 45 Mallards, none of which are having this issue. They are housed in a covered flight pen, 800 sq ft, 3 duck houses which they are free to go in and out of, and a pond. There hasn't been anything unusual happen or any changes lately. They are eating a mixture of Game Bird start & grow crumbles, Game Bird Layina, and Cracked Corn for the winter. I am hoping that someone else has seen this before and can help me come up with a solution. I am willing to try or do what ever my duckies need. It was suggested that he may be seriously over preening, but I never see him preen at all...

    Here are some pictures of my Muscovy's wing issues, couldn't get a good one of the Cayuga... their wings look pretty much the same...

    Oh and it started sometime in August... I thought it was just a molt, but it has gotten worse not any better.

    another of Sidney

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give...

  2. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Is it possible that someone else is chewing on his feathers? Could he have mites or something like that?
  3. duckluck

    duckluck Dulcimyrh Ducks

    Oct 22, 2009
    Well, here's my take: the drakes are stressed by so many birds and they feel the need to over-preen; they may feel too much breeding imperative and are trying to make themselves more attractive to females to the point of being neurotic about it. I know some people might laugh at this, but I had a female Call that was doing this...preening herself till her chest was bare. I know of many parrots who are pluckers but never a duck, so I had a friend who is skilled at Reiki and fowl come over and check her out and this is what she told me about my female. Said the bird was too stressed by too much male attention and wanted to be able to act broody without being constantly courted and disturbed by too many males. (This was in the early spring before I had my breeding pens together and all the Calls were in together.) Do you know, as soon as I had her in the breeding pen with two other females and only one male the behavior stopped and she grew back all her feathers and has been fine since. So maybe these guys just need more space with less company involved; I don't know about Muscovies but Calls just don't "do" overcrowding very well. Eggs and ducklings both seem eager to volunteer to die when that happens.

    I looked at the pics again, and some almost look like pin feathers, but I've never seen a pin that didn't lose its sheath in the time you are describing.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  4. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I'm leaning towards duckluck. First I thought diet, but then the rest should show something too. Then I thought about mites, again same issue. Stress is the next alley, and birds in stress mutilate themselves. The best way to combat this is taking the stress factor out of the equation. Can't tell what it is, so you need to figure this out. Perhaps he feels overcrowded in the pen. Ducks are like humans they have different comfort levels. Interesting that you have another make with the same issue starting up. Do you count on the male to female ratio. There is one thing you can do and that is give them electrolytes into their drinking water. Electrolytes calm birds and usually given when you move them etc. Electrolytes also contain vitamins and minerals on top, which cannot be bad at this point either. Just remember this is not the cure, this is just something to help them.
  5. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Crowing

    Apr 19, 2009
    I'd lean towards stress as well. Are all the ducks you listed in that same 800 sq ft pen?
  6. NOLAdee

    NOLAdee In the Brooder

    Jul 22, 2009
    New Orleans
    Thank you for the replies so far, your suggestions are helpful...

    BirdBrain - it is possible that someone else is chewing the Muscovy and Cayuga's wing feathers, but I haven't witnessed anyone bothering them... I had thought about mites as well, but only these two guys are having issues and only their wings...

    duckluck - What you said makes since. It is possible my two big guys aren't as "happy" as my mallards. They may be more comfortable in another pen will less "friends".

    katharinad - Thank you also, stress very well may be my problem... now just figuring out what that stress is. I will add some electrolytes in the mean time as I work out some new arrangements. I am planning to double the size of their flight pen this winter. I may make part of the new addition sections just for my big guys and get each of them their own "special friends". I may also put up some shade screen on the sides of their pens to keep the outside from bothering them... if there is something stressing them they are seeing out and about in the yard...

    Olive Hill - I too am starting to think stress is the problem... there are a few other possibilities as well... I will do my best to figure what is causing stress or what is missing that will keep them happy and healthy. Also, they are but aren't all in the same 800 sq ft pen. 13 of the mallards are in my garage brooder, 5 are in a brooder house right next to the flight pen, the 5 woodies are in the pen but have their own above ground section, 1 male & 4 female, 3 of the females are looking for new homes, any one interested?
    So that technically leaves 29 ducks sharing the same floor space... I will also be thinning the mallard flock for the winter, as the brooder house babies will be pen ready in a couple weeks... cutting back some might help with the stress hopefully as well as the pen addition...

    If all else fails, I may have to look into rehoming my muscovy and cayuga. I breed the mallards year round, the two I am having wing problems are just kept my pets. I would rather them have a great home that they are happy at than keep them selfishly and them not be happy and healthy...

    Thank you all again for your help...
  7. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    I am glad you got some good replies & i hope you can get it figured out soon & they start to drop those old feathers & regrow.

  8. love_a_duck

    love_a_duck Songster

    May 26, 2010
    Waterford, Michigan
    If all else fails, I may have to look into rehoming my muscovy and cayuga. I breed the mallards year round, the two I am having wing problems are just kept my pets. I would rather them have a great home that they are happy at than keep them selfishly and them not be happy and healthy...

    I sincerely hope you do not have to rehome them, but it really warmed my heart when you rather them be happy and healthy.
    Thank you very much for that.
    It seems you are trying everything. I hope you find what is stressing them out (if that is what is happening.)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


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