Help! Weak 3wk old duckling, issues with separation

Birdbert

In the Brooder
Jun 9, 2020
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6
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A brief history:
I am a first time duck owner and have a 3 week old welsh harlequin duckling, from a group of four mixed heritage breed ducklings, that is weak. She has been a little iffy since arriving in the mail ( elevated respiratory rate compared to her companions, and a little dull). She seems to be developing normally however she is a little smaller than her buddies. She is also a smaller breed , so not sure if that means much.

Her primary issue is as follows:
1 or so day ago she started demonstrating weakness in her legs. She is able to stand (with effort), walk and swim, but does so only for very brief periods of time. She eats less and is significantly less ‘bright’ and energetic than her pals.
I just lowered their protein from 22% to 18% and feed greens, grit etc in separate vessels. I will change from supplementing with brewers yeast in food to niacin capsules in water (when it arrives in the mail). Everything I’m reading says niacin deficiency and/or malnutrition is the likely culprit.
Here is my issue at the moment:
If I separate her from her buddies, she gets agitated and refuses to eat. If I don’t, she gets overwhelmed by them and also doesn’t eat. What do I do? So far I have only tried separating a for a few minutes, within earshot of each other. Maybe I haven’t given her enough time to calm down? Do I need to take her to a different room? It’s hard to watch her stress out… any advice is very welcome!
 

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Can you maybe put them next to each other with glass in between? Or maybe she needs to be put in a dark room with some food. You can try both and see what works best, maybe somebody else will have a better idea
 
Get some mesh like stuff and put the duck in one side and her buddies on the other! Make sure all of them have access to food and water! This way she won’t be agitated by them and has her own space! If she gets lonely you can put her with the other ducks and put her in there for longer periods of time if you want her to be alone or something like that!
 
A brief history:
I am a first time duck owner and have a 3 week old welsh harlequin duckling, from a group of four mixed heritage breed ducklings, that is weak. She has been a little iffy since arriving in the mail ( elevated respiratory rate compared to her companions, and a little dull). She seems to be developing normally however she is a little smaller than her buddies. She is also a smaller breed , so not sure if that means much.

Her primary issue is as follows:
1 or so day ago she started demonstrating weakness in her legs. She is able to stand (with effort), walk and swim, but does so only for very brief periods of time. She eats less and is significantly less ‘bright’ and energetic than her pals.
I just lowered their protein from 22% to 18% and feed greens, grit etc in separate vessels. I will change from supplementing with brewers yeast in food to niacin capsules in water (when it arrives in the mail). Everything I’m reading says niacin deficiency and/or malnutrition is the likely culprit.
Here is my issue at the moment:
If I separate her from her buddies, she gets agitated and refuses to eat. If I don’t, she gets overwhelmed by them and also doesn’t eat. What do I do? So far I have only tried separating a for a few minutes, within earshot of each other. Maybe I haven’t given her enough time to calm down? Do I need to take her to a different room? It’s hard to watch her stress out… any advice is very welcome!
You might need to take her outside if she is not living outside or being taken outside! You can also give her some of the probiotic or electrolyte packets that you can get from tractor supply or local feed stores!
 
You might need to take her outside if she is not living outside or being taken outside! You can also give her some of the probiotic or electrolyte packets that you can get from tractor supply or local feed stores!
They go on supervised field trips twice daily and are getting the electrolyte packs in their water. Keeping my fingers crossed
 
So unless you have a reason to seperate her I wouldn't. It does sound like the Welsh harlequins has a naicin deficiency. Giving the other extra vitamins will not hurt them. @HollowOfWisps has had a lot of luck with rooster boosters poultry cell. I will let her tell you how she uses it.

Vitamin b complex from TSC is what a lot of us use to treat naicin deficiency. It says injectable, but you just give it orally, 1ml a day. Some like to put it on a tasty treat, while I prefer to give it orally.

PXL_20210913_025713315.jpg


I also give my ducklings scrambled eggs if they are are struggling. Scrambled duck eggs is best but chicken eggs will work. They may not may not eat them.
 
I agree with everything that @Quatie has said above.

You also may need to set up separate feed dishes. Even as ducklings they start to establish pecking orders and it's not uncommon for ducks at the top of the pecking order to control when everyone else gets access to the food. I bought a multi pack of heavy small bowls off of Amazon that I set up when I have multiple ducklings because I found that multiple poultry feeders took up quite a bit of space.

As far as poultry cell goes it's great for weak ducklings for four reasons:

1. It is a comprehensive supplement that has great levels of multiple vitamins and minerals which helps tackle malnutrition and deficiencies from many different angles instead of having to individually dose multiple supplements.

2. It contains niacin and not just minimal amounts.

3. It is a liquid which makes it easy for oral syringe dosing or diluting in water (I've also found that with diluted granular supplements just never seem to completely dissolve).

4. If you're in the US it's easily accessible and carried at most farm stores.

I've had ducklings go from flopping like a fish to running with the rest using Poultry Cell.
 
So unless you have a reason to seperate her I wouldn't. It does sound like the Welsh harlequins has a naicin deficiency. Giving the other extra vitamins will not hurt them. @HollowOfWisps has had a lot of luck with rooster boosters poultry cell. I will let her tell you how she uses it.

Vitamin b complex from TSC is what a lot of us use to treat naicin deficiency. It says injectable, but you just give it orally, 1ml a day. Some like to put it on a tasty treat, while I prefer to give it orally.

View attachment 3176610

I also give my ducklings scrambled eggs if they are are struggling. Scrambled duck eggs is best but chicken eggs will work. They may not may not eat them.
Purchased this am! I am slightly concerned about overdosing- esp given that the concentration is pretty high (100mg/ml) and dosing recommendations for cattle are around 1ml for 100lbs of weight. I understand that this is an injectable formula and is likely absorbed less effectively (or differently) when given by mouth. However I was surprised by the dosing recommendation, even making allowances for the differences in how vitamins are likely metabolized by birds vs mammals.
1) Have you had any issues with niacin toxicity?
2) how long do you give it (ie for 3-7 days or just until resolution of symptoms?)
 
I agree with everything that @Quatie has said above.

You also may need to set up separate feed dishes. Even as ducklings they start to establish pecking orders and it's not uncommon for ducks at the top of the pecking order to control when everyone else gets access to the food. I bought a multi pack of heavy small bowls off of Amazon that I set up when I have multiple ducklings because I found that multiple poultry feeders took up quite a bit of space.

As far as poultry cell goes it's great for weak ducklings for four reasons:

1. It is a comprehensive supplement that has great levels of multiple vitamins and minerals which helps tackle malnutrition and deficiencies from many different angles instead of having to individually dose multiple supplements.

2. It contains niacin and not just minimal amounts.

3. It is a liquid which makes it easy for oral syringe dosing or diluting in water (I've also found that with diluted granular supplements just never seem to completely dissolve).

4. If you're in the US it's easily accessible and carried at most farm stores.

I've had ducklings go from flopping like a fish to running with the rest using Poultry Cell.
Great information! Thank you! Ive purchased some poultry cell and will give it a go if the ‘injectable’ B3 doesn’t work in the next 3 days or so. I’ve attached a photo of my brooder setup. I have multiple bowls available ( chickens taught me well 😉). One of which is low to encourage the weak one (her name is Gus) to eat more. While we are on the subject of diet- do I need to provide higher protein feed to little Gus, to help her catch up nutritionally? I am concerned about giving the other girls too much protein. Thanks again, your thoughtful and comprehensive response is enormously helpful
6E974C97-F6FC-48B4-9DB8-F979501B6150.jpeg
 
100 mg a day is the recommended dosage for naicin deficiency at that age and older. So 1ml a day. Here you can read more about.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/niacin-deficiency-in-waterfowl.1367557/

It is one of the most effective things at treating naicin deficiency. I have never seen naicin over dosing. The risk is very low to overdosing. Here is some info on this topic.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/niacin-overdose.1395591/#post-22902956

You administer it until you no longer see any symptoms. Depending on how long the issue has been going on and how severe the case is, will effect how long you need to administer it. It can take up to a week to see improvements.

I will also say you cant really compare dosages from one animal to another. A drug I used to anesthetize rats, would be an amount that could kill a cow. It is sometimes shocking the differences from one animal to another.
 

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