HELP my ducks are dying

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Paigej, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Paigej

    Paigej Out Of The Brooder

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    Please help me. My ducks are dying and I have no idea why. Two days ago we found one of our khaki campbells dead. She was curled up and had been fine that morning. I couldn't think of why she died and I thought it may have been from an accident since it was so windy that day.
    Today when I came home my cayuga was very listless and had trouble walking. This was at 5:00pm. I took her inside and put her in a warm bath and she drank a little. I sprinkled lettuce in the bath and she dabbed at it but didn't eat. I put her in a dog crate and watched her and placed a bowl of water next to her. She lay there slightly shakey with her head getting lower and lower. When she lay like that it looked like she was dead so I'd stroke her and put her in my lap to keep her awake. I thought if she fell asleep she would never wake up.
    At 5:40 I drew her another bath to get her to drink. Before I put her in it she started making muffled quack noises. Her bill opened and her jaw moved horizontally so her top bill and bottom bill were not aligned. She started seizing and I put her in the water holding her. She continued to seize, her neck got stiff and craned toward the water. She started flapping her wings and then she was gone.
    I am SO sick about two of my ducks dying in two days. I have two left and have NO idea what is going on. The two I have left look fine but so did my campbell and cayuga. It took my cayuga only 40 minutes to die.
    Does this sound like anything? Please help me.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Sounds like toxicity, though it could be viral or bacterial or fungal.

    Have you started using a new bag of feed, or a new brand?

    Is there anything around the yard like a dead animal or swampy area with dead plant material?

    How's their bedding? Any changes there?

    What other changes in their environment have occurred?
     
  3. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Oops looks like Amiga already covered the questions. I agree it sounds like a toxicity issue.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    See if you can get some activated charcoal (not briquettes) it is a powder, a food-quality supplement that absorbs toxins in the gut. Add a teaspoon of that to a couple of cups of water and give it to the ducks to drink.

    If you find something nasty they may have gotten into, think seriously about doing a digestive system cleanse. There is a sticky on how to do that

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/700526/flushes-for-aiding-in-toxin-removal#post_9508213
     
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    They need the whole bird, not frozen. In CA there are four labs that do necropsies on poultry/ducks for free. The lab I use is the one in Tulare, CA.

    CAHFS
    Attn: Dr. Shivaprasad
    18830 Road 112
    Tulare, CA 93274-9042
    (559) 688-7543
    (559) 686-4231 (FAX)
    [email protected]


    The other labs are listed here:
    http://www.cahfs.ucdavis.edu/services/lab_locations.cfm

    What you need to do, if you haven't already done so, is put your duck in your refrigerator, NOT the freezer! Then you need to find a box, line it with styrofoam (I use the 4'x8'x1" stuff from Home Depot, but you can anything, I guess... you can also get smaller pieces at an art store like Michael's, but is way more expensive). Click here to see foam options. You'll also need at least one ice pack. Here are some pictures that I took of the last bird that I sent:

    Box lined with foam on four sides and bottom. Seams of foam taped sealed.
    [​IMG]

    Box, sides, bottom and and top.
    [​IMG]

    Frozen ice pack in ziplock baggie.
    [​IMG]

    Brown paper on top of ice pack.
    [​IMG]

    Hen in ziplock baggie on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]

    Brown paper on top of hen.
    [​IMG]

    Ice pack on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]

    Lid on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]

    Inside the box you should also include a submission form in a ziplock baggie. Do not tell anyone at FedEx that you're shipping a dead animal... that seems to really worry them. Just make sure that nothing will leak.
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    The symptoms you describe are most likely the part of the dying process, the "throes of death".
     
  8. Paigej

    Paigej Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for your responses! We already wanted to have our cayuga necropsied but I didn't realize it was free for SoCal residents. We have her body outside in a styrofoam box now but we'll move her to the fridge.

    Have you started using a new bag of feed, or a new brand? We are actually finishing up a bag of Flockraiser. I think it might be toxicity too, I read on another thread someone mentioned damp food? Our girls food gets damp and I haven't washed their feeder in a while. I'm going to scrub it out tonight and feed them new food (I have another bag of Flockraiser in my car) in another bowl tomorrow.

    Is there anything around the yard like a dead animal or swampy area with dead plant material? No dead animals, but it rained a lot lately and our yard is a bit swampy.

    How's their bedding? Any changes there? Dry. They have pine shavings and I just put a new layer on a few days ago.

    What other changes in their environment have occurred? A lot of our neighbors have Christmas decorations up and I noticed one of my ducks pooped out some tinsel today. However it doesn't seem like Jay (the cayuga) died from a blockage.
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Thought I should mention that you should get a preliminary necropsy report the day they get your duck. Are you close to San Bernardino? If so, I'd drive there tomorrow just in case it's something that you can treat the rest for.
     
  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    You might want to do some reading on duck viral enteritis, that was the first thing that came to mind.
     

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