Help! Very sick duck...don't know what to do.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by angelfey, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. angelfey

    angelfey New Egg

    Sep 14, 2010
    Hi all,

    First time posting here and I really hope that someone can help me out. I live in Miami in a community that has a fairly large lake....naturally there are tons of ducks here. A couple of months ago a momma duck came around our door with 5 ducklings. My neighbors and I fed them and gave them water. Most of us here feed the ducks even though the community doesn't really like it. The ducklings were growing fine and even though they were almost adults themselves (they're wings had started to get more developed) they still stayed with the mom. The "pack" roams the entire community but always come to my area in the evenings since we feed them.

    Two days ago, my boyfriend went out and found one of the young adults dead in the middle of the drive way. We thought that someone had run it over. We also noticed that 2 of them were missing. About 30 mins we noticed that one of the young adults (YA) was sitting under a car and could not move (5pm) . We brought him near our townhouse and put him under one of our trees. Tried to give him water but he did not drink. An hour later he passed away. Up until now both the mom and the one remaining YA were doing fine but then we noticed that the YA had trouble getting up but did manage to eat and drink water. Around 7 my boyfriend found the duck laying flat on his stomach with his legs straight out behind him barely breathing (same position as the other 2); mom was laying next to him...trying to comfort him. I called the Avian rescue center hoping that they could do something since my vet does not do birds, but was told that if I brought him in they would have to euthanize him because based on the description I gave them he was a Muscovy and since they are not indigenous to S. Florida they could not release him back into the wild! Not knowing what else to do, we placed him in a comfortable position under a tree (mom never left his side) and thought it best for him to spend his last hours with mom. Cried myself to sleep that night.

    The next morning the YA was still alive but clearly in distress. Went online and gave him water with epson as suggested by many....said a prayer and left for work. There really wasn't much I could do....and mom was still with him. Some maintenance workers informed me that they found 2 dead YA in another section of the community - they thought someone had poisoned the ducks. This explains why 2 were missing the day before. Came home and the YA was still alive...and seemed to have gained some energy. His neck was not in the position I'd left it in so I assume he managed to move. With renewed hope I tried to give him more water with a dropper...but I really have no idea what I'm doing so just hoping that I'm doing something right. Mom had left but came back...gave her lots of water which she drank happily. She's doing fine.

    Approx. 36 hrs have gone by since he got sick...he's still breathing but struggling. I really don't know what else to do other than giving him water and water with epson. Please if you could help me I would really appreciate it. From what I gather he may have botulism or could have been poisoned. If someone could tell me how to properly give him water with a dropper....I'm so afraid of choking him or getting water in his lungs. Currently giving him water every 2 hrs....don't want to distress him too much. I'll be home all day today...please any help would be appreciated....I really want to do all that I can to save him.

  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I assume people feed them old bread in your community. This is the worst diet for a duck. I assume someone gave them old moldy bread, which is very toxic to ducks, not knowing that this is bad for the ducks. There is not much that can be done once they have eaten it. It does makes them lame/weak and there is a very good chance that they die of it. Perhaps you can make people away of the danger of feeding bread to the ducks. Tell them that it is much better to feed them defrosted peas. Peas are cheap to buy and fun to feed to ducks.
  3. angelfey

    angelfey New Egg

    Sep 14, 2010
    Update: I found a wildlife care center in the next county that will take him in.....heading out there now. Hopefully they can help him out (fingers crossed). Also, thank you for the reply...I will definitely caution people against moldy bread and just bread in general. Although why anyone would feed any living thing something moldy is beyond me.
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Awwww, that's really sad! People have to be careful about feeding bread or anything else that's like bread (such as crackers) to waterfowl. I don't think the person who fed the ducks moldy bread (if that's what happened) knew that it would harm them. They probably thought that since ducks eat plants/algae that it would be alright. I'm glad you found a rescue center for the duck. It sounds like he might be getting better.

    Try to encourage people to feed peas and/or duck food, if possible. I've also seen wild ducks eat regular seed and they love cracked corn (even though it makes them gain weight).

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