HELP! What's twisting my ducklings into pretzels?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by gbipot, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. gbipot

    gbipot New Egg

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    Apr 25, 2008
    I received 6 day-old Indian Runner ducklings last week. Two of the 6 didn't seem to be growing as fast as the others. Aside form their smaller size all was going well but then one of them drew its leg up as if it were injured. I knew there was no way she could have been injured bc I don't allow anyone to handle them but me. The drawn up leg became more severe--like a muscle cramp--and the duckling degenerated to the point of being unable to stand. The next morning the poor little thing was dead. That was a couple of days ago NOW the other smaller one has the same cramping but in its neck! The poor thing's head is cranked to the side and flipped back as if it's constantly looking over its shoulder. This time I separated her from the other increasingly larger ducklings for her own protection bc she was being stepped on. She's in her own smaller brooding box right next to the larger one holding the others. She's still alive and she eats and drinks when I dip her beak into her food and water but she's not uncoiling from her cramped position. My friend who is a small animal vet but knows nothing about fowl said she thinks it's a growth defect. Possibly the ducklings are growing too fast and some of them can't handle the growth rate. Maybe their tendons and muscles can't keep up with the bone growth--I don't know, that's just a guess.

    Has anyone ever heard of this before? Is she doomed? Please help if you can. Thanks. gbipot
     
  2. ShadyGlade

    ShadyGlade Chillin' With My Peeps

    She needs b vitamins? Waterfowl are sensitive their the lack. What are you feeding them?
     
  3. gbipot

    gbipot New Egg

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    Apr 25, 2008
    The starter feed the feed store gave me when I picked up the ducklings.
     
  4. kycklingmamma

    kycklingmamma Chillin' With My Peeps

    They have what is called wry neck. My runner duckling developed that as well. I needed to give her some Vitamin E and b
    Vitamin E I gave her 1 capsule 4 times daily for a week and then taper to two times daily for second week and then take her off of it . It is faily easy to give it to them so long as you have a second set of hands. ie help. Pierce the top of the caspule with a needle or sharp knife, then squirt the content into the mouth, this is where the second set of hands come in, one of you hold teh duckling and the second one open the bill slightley and drip/squirt the sticky mess into her mouth.
    You also need to supplement niacin ie vitamin B, it is easy as well. I simply got nutritional yeast at the healthfood store,in flakeform and just sprinkle that on top of their feed a few times a week, that is enough. If you can't find nutritional yeast flakes, niacin pills are available at walmart, cvs wahlgreens etc. Just cruch a few tablets and sprinkle that on top of feed.
    My ducklings case was pretty bad, but within a day her head was alost straight again, and according to the vet the vitamin E does that.

    I had my girls on chickstarter at first but changed them onto duckstarter after all this happened. It is very pricey, so if you can find a starter feed with pretty high protein,about 17-20% it will do fine, so long as you supplement the niacin. I now have my girls on Purina flockrasier ( go on purina mills site and see if you can locate a feedstore that carries it in you area) and it seems to work great and it is more affordable. Either way, make sure you get -unmedicated feed-.
    The ducks can die from the medication in medicated feed. The consume too much and wil OD.

    Good Luck, and let me know if you need any help.
    edited to add that brewers yeast is agreat source for niacin.

    Kycklingmamma
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  5. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    chick starter doesn't have enough b vitamins for ducklings. You need to add some brewer's yeast to the feed. I crush up tablets I get at Walmart and mix it in with the feed.

    Poly Vi Sol is also high in niacin. You can get that by the bird supplies at Walmart.
     
  6. gbipot

    gbipot New Egg

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    Apr 25, 2008
    Shoot. That's exactly the feed the feed store gave me when I picked up my ducklings. Nature Wise Chick Starter. Now, why doesn't my feed store know not to sell chick feed to folks who are buying ducklings??? By the way, the guy in the storehouse who loads what you buy into you vehicle first tried to give me medicated chick starter but we knew enough not to take that.
     
  7. gbipot

    gbipot New Egg

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    Okay, thanks to everyone. I bought vitamin E capsules and niacin tablets. I squeezed one E capsule into the duckling's mouth and crushed 4 tiny niacin tablets and mixed that in her feed. The problem then was that her head is so severely twisted that I was afraid she wasn't eating or drinking so I kind of force-fed her a little just to make sure she got some of the niacin and, just as importantly, some water. For every little bit of feed I gave her I dipped her bill into the water to help her swallow and flush everything down her drain. I really hope she makes it especially since the other one didn't. I'll keep you all updated.

    Thanks again. gbipot
     
  8. LoveMyBirds

    LoveMyBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow... I didn't know this.. Last year I just gave my ducks crumble. and did ok,, But I did have 2 ducks that had a slight limp in their legs when they got bigger (the cayuga)

    Glad I ran across this post..

    Thank you and great message board (BYC)
     
  9. DuckyBoys

    DuckyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2008
    Colorado
    Just so you know - Vitamins A D E and K are fat soluble - so too much can be poisonous as they are stored in the body. I'd not squirt a whole tablet in her mouth - they need very small amounts.

    At any rate - it sorta sounds like botulism to me:

    http://www.wcsv.org/Education/Diseases/Duck_Botulism.htm
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  10. kycklingmamma

    kycklingmamma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Gbipot,

    I know it sounds like a lot of work but it reallly isn't. Once her neck gets better you don't need to do all the vitamin E. It is still a good idea to give them additional niacin, they really need alot more than they can get from the feed readily available. I also know that the first state vet online has water soluble vitamin E to mix into their water, I just opted not to do that, because I had some Vit E at home. but if the problem persist or come back that might be an option. Like I said I had one runner duckling do this out of three. Her neck I noticed looked a little crooked a few days ago again, so I medicated with Vit E and later in the evening her neck was already better. I even squirted some vit E on their kale that I had chopped up for them and once she at a serving of that she was fine again, so it seemed to come back about 3-4 weeks after the first onset. i believe it happens because they grow so extremely fast. Once they are fully grown I think th problem will go away...if I understand things right.
    Here is a pic of my girls from last week, they are all 6 weeks old here and as you can tell they gew fast only six weeks old and they already look like big girls.
    [​IMG]

    I hope things turn out well for you little guys and you as well. If you want to research, look up Wry Neck, it is not very common in ducks but fairly common in ilikie chickens and they are treated with vit E as well.

    Kycklingmamma
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009

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