Help, please - 6 week old khaki pulling wing feathers of 6 week old pekin

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by feathersweet, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. feathersweet

    feathersweet Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2013
    About 6 weeks ago, we brought home 4 precious 2-day old ducklings.
    The past 6 weeks we have been lovingly caring for their needs -- adding"just amount" of Niacin to their water to supplement their starter mash...heating, enlarging their habitat and serving as guards when they take little swims. It has been heavenly...until the scare yesterday when I saw blood on the tip of Pekin's wing and a few, small drops that dripped on her side and on the ground .

    I immediately removed her (honestly I don't know if it is a her or him - so the name, Sunshine) -- anyway. I logged online to see "what, why, and how... for next" here. I cleaned it (it was not bleeding anymore) - and it remained okay with no more bleeding. I placed the Pekin back and watched as all four nestled into sleep. I still was uncertain and during the night "checked"...to find the tips on the one side were a bit bloody. I decided to take the advice from a thread I read - and placed in Sunshine a safe habitat where the others could see her, for today.

    I also read she might need exercise -- and so I let her roam our atrium for a couple hours (looking around including visiting the others in their screened atrium habitat).

    (A new home is being built for them in our kitchen garden so they reside in a kiddie pool with 5 foot chicken wire and a cover -- with heat in our atrium... until their new house is finished).

    Today, I let Sunshine walk around, sleep where ever...and tonight, Sunshine looked great, no blood...so I placed Sunshine back with the other 3 buddies.

    Observing, I noticed that our 6 week old Khaki Campbell, Nutmeg walked over and after a little while started to pull on "that" wing of Sunshine's. As I write, Sunshine is with the other 2 6-week old buddies and now the Khaki is in the other coop, all in the atrium.

    Based on what I am sharing, please share what you think? And any thoughts to help to resolve the bleeding issue or pulling concern? I read tonight it may be a vitamin deficiency or space? I started them on Starter Mash (adding some Niacin to water), at 4 1/2 weeks started mashing duck pellets and mixing with Mash and some cracked corn. Feed some greens, daily - and give great attention.

    Needless to say, we are head over web-feet, in love with them. But we are newbies to ducks (we have 9 hens ranging from 3 years to 1 year) - and need your wisdoms.

    Thank you! I appreciate all the wisdom you all offer (been a reading fan for 3 years)...
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Is the KC eating the feathers after it pulls them?
    What is the protein level in their feed?
    Are they in the kiddie pool for most of the day?

    I'd stop the corn, it lowers protein levels and I'd increase greens. Often feather eating is a result of a protein deficiency. Some require more than others.

    Recommended: Check the temp, reduce light intensity (get a red or blue bulb), increase their space, make sure they are getting enough feed. Give them greens or let them out on grass for a good part of the day.

    I had 13 ducklings hatch in December and a few weeks later 2 of them started pulling feathers. Then a 3rd. I had to seperate them for about 3 weeks until everyone's feathers had grown in. I increased their protein but whenever I put them back, someone would end up bloody. I think that it can also become a habit for them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  3. feathersweet

    feathersweet Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2013
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply! It is very helpful. No, the KC is not rating them. It was more like a quick tag with the Pekin. Also, the tips look more like quills.


    They officially turn 6 weeks tomorrow. I have been mixing protein to about 16 percent with mix of their chick starter mash and a greater portion of mashed duck pellets (Kruise brand).


    They are all together again and there is no sign of blood on the Pekin's tips. I am wondering if the quills are the blood quills ? I have had a challenge finding details about the growth of feathers in the maturity of their wings. I have several books on raising ducks from ducklings - and too have been searching online but somewhere between angel wing notes, pulling and blood quills...I am not sure I am really gathering the 1,2,3's of how a duckling's wing should develop (in a healthy and rather normal manner).


    With respect to diet, along with the mixed mashes I have given a daily feeding of fresh greens (preparing cooked, soft peas, carrots, green beans, etc.) I will increase their greens servings.


    We are on California and their interim habitat is built in an 18 foot open atrium. The temps are in 60-79 this week with evenings in mid to high 50's. We stopped heating earlier this week fresh fresh shavings to keep their base as dry as possible.


    I will also exercising more. We gave been letting them have a daily swim together on a Roman tub with heated, warm water. We will make sure they are getting time to walk outside more.

    Thanks again - I know you are busy with all your precious ducks - wowza!

    Again, thank you - you helped to turn the lights on our systems for a brighter day!
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Somerville, AL
    When they start getting feathers, they will look like quills at first. As the feather grows it will unsheath (only way I can think to describe it) as it grows starting at the top and working down toward the body. They are filled with blood so that is what can attract them. Feathers are basically protein so they need more at this age and then some more than others.

    Theoretically 16% protein is okay right now but if the pulling continues, I'd bump it back up to 18%. It won't be a problem for them. The veggies will also lower their protein level intake so I'd keep a close eye.

    Believe me, dealing with it long term is a pain and the blood feathers bleed a lot. I had ducklings that were covered down their sides with blood when this started happening. With mine, I tried to lower their protein level and I think because it was December they were burning too many calories to keep warm and needed extra for their feather growth.
     
  5. feathersweet

    feathersweet Out Of The Brooder

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    great insights! We talked about you and your 13 ducklings born in December...fondly during brkfst this morning. We bumped up the protein as you suggested and they had great exercise with the run of the atrium for hours. Fun for them and fun for us as we watched them. (No pulling of feathersor, blood.) The wing growth is fascinating. Thanks for your care, it makes a difference.
     

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