How Lucy Got Her Groove Back

Captain Cluck

10 Years
Jun 19, 2009
Central Florida
On May 4, my flock was attacked overnight by (I am guessing) a raccoon or 2. One duck and one chicken were dead, my husband put down one duck that could not lift her head (he said he could see her vertebrae) and the third duck was missing - presumed dead.

I posted on the Emergencies forum half out of my mind looking for help. I guess I should have asked here, because no one ever responded to my requests for help.

Anyway, Here is how Lucy got her groove back:

May 5
I can't find this in the forum, so I am asking -

I have a 2 year old crested black Swedish duck hen that was attacked by a raccoon on Friday night. We had given her up for dead when she showed up Saturday evening crusted with dirt and muck and looking rather discombobulated. (We board our chickens and ducks at a farm in the woods because code enforcement caught up with my wild ways and outlaw poultry and made me move them.) She looked like she had been coated with saliva, dragged through dirt, leaves and mud, left out to dry and then staggered home like a drunken sailor (which may be what happened since she was not in the pen at all during the day after the attack).

I took her home, gave her a warm bath (no soap - just water in the tub and ran the shower over her on gentle spray) wrapped her in a towel and put her on a clean towel in a Rubbermaid tub in a dark quiet room with a cup of water and a bowl of warmed frozen peas.(I forgot to bring home feed for her)

I added Poly-visol (no iron), 1 heaped teaspoon of sugar, Bach's Rescue Remedy, and 2 tablets of Ledum Palustre (wild rosemary homeopathic for bites and wound healing) to the water. She dabbles her bill in the water, and I believe she is drinking, because the rescue remedy is working. She is much calmer than when I brought her home. She will eat peas (her favorite food) if I smash them and hold them close for her to grab. I will be giving her mash (wet food) as well as the peas from now on.
I don't have any antibiotic ointment of antibiotics of any sort. I am even out of vitamin c, but at least I am using the Ledum.

When I did a quick check of her, I found a gash across her face from between her eyes going down the right side of her face between her bill and right eye. It looks like it went down to the bone, and her right eye gets a little foam in the corner every so often. Her breathing is loud, too. I don't know if her sinus is open or exposed on that side, but I do want to take care of the wound properly. I haven't done a more thorough exam, because I am still getting the muck unglued from her feathers.I have been giving her a warm bath daily since I brought her home. She starts to preen, but it seems to hurt to use her neck so she stops and she is favoring her right leg.

She seems to be picking up - she is wagging her tail, and quacks a little at me, and is eating and drinking a little, but mostly sleeping.

How do I treat her head wound? Do I treat it? What do I use? I don't want to drown her or cause infection, but she needs to be cleaned up better.

Treating her head wound is my main concern. I can follow directions from this board for the rest.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

May 6

UPDATE: Lucy the lucky duck is much improved. Her wound is still open, but she is eating and drinking. When I put her in a lukewarm bath today, she tried to swim but is still favoring her right leg. She also is attempting to preen and tried to wash her face.

I have been lifting her head gently and stretching her neck straight up 2x daily trying to get the vertebra back into place (I am not a chiropractor, but would gladly accept the name of a good one for birds). She seems to feel better for a short while after I stretch her neck.

Her poops have been black, grainy and more like mud than poop. Today they had bright mint green color in the black, so she is digesting the garden peas. She is refusing everything else, so garden peas for dinner it is.

I still need advice as to what to do for her head wound. so far, I have left it alone except to splash bath water over her head and face to keep her nares/nostrils clean.
She is still getting a slimy foam from the corner of her right eye, and now her neck feels hot where she holds it against her back in the resting position.
What do I do?

May 11

*crickets chirping*

Is no one responding because they think she's a goner? Or is it because no one knows what to do?
It's OK if you think she's a goner. I can take it. Our silkie hen, Hope, was a 'goner', too, after a dog attack. But she's happily enthroned in the dining room, ruling the house from her crate. She is crippled because I didn't know anything about muscle therapy to keep her leg from atrophying. I want to try to keep that from happening to Lucy.

Does anyone know about neck and leg injuries? How to keep them from atrophying and crippling my duck?

I could really use some advice, please.

I guess I'll keep doing what I'm doing.


Lucy is still eating and drinking and active, but her right leg is slightly swollen and warm. The foamy discharge from her eyes is smelling funky, so I am taking the advice of a friend who studied veterinary medicine before switching to human medicine, and has been through similar incidents and I am putting Lucy on oral Duramycin 800mg/gal water. I will withdraw the other treatments since they take a while to work and the infection is beginning to ramp up.

I may have to trim a lot of feathers to find any other wounds, but I have bought her some baby t-shirts to wear until her molt if I need to remove too many.


Just in case anyone is following Lucy's progress, she is now eating layer pellets without complaint and drinking the Duramycin water. She will probably be on the Duramycin for another week.

She bathes once a day (actually dunking her head and preening as much as she can reach) and allows me to dry her feathers with a hair dryer. Her right leg is still warm to the touch, but cooler than it was. She still favors it, as well as her neck, but she is more willing to stretch her neck for things she wants. I found a bump that looks like a scab on her leg and tried to remove it, but it didn't come off. Either it's not a scab, or I wasn't aggressive enough.

She has had a few streaks of bloody mucous in her droppings, but I didn't feel anything like an egg or lump in her abdomen when I felt around (yes, I reached under the feathers and gently squeezed her belly and pressed on it)
Her eyes are still foamy and weepy, but the odor has gone away - she almost smelled a little like betadine solution. That may have been because I put straight betadine on her head wound, and Then I found out it should have been diluted or I should have used saline. *sigh*

She seems happy and except for the lameness, is almost back to her old self. I know I could still lose her, but every little improvement is a big plus for me.

June 2

The Saga of Lucy continues:

I have been treating her for nearly a month now. She has perked up considerably. She is molting (most likely from living in a dim room with winter light levels for the past 4 weeks) but has not laid any eggs in the time she has been home. I am increasing her light to summer levels, and will offer her some crushed pepper soon.

Most of her wounds have healed. Her face still has a gash running down it. I have trimmed away as many feathers as I can, and trimmed away dead skin and I repack it with antibiotic ointment about 3 X week to keep it from infection. She was on Duramycin for 2 weeks, and antibiotic ointment on her head woulds, Ichthammol on her leg wound, and Betadine in her bath water. I did start with Bite homeopathic, Rescue Remedy, Poly-visol without iron, and Vet Rx, but discontinued that when I put her on the Duramycin.

She gets baths nearly every day, unless I need to be gone from the house. She now splashes and uses her injured leg to swim. I fill a Rubbermaid tub about 2/3 full of lukewarm water and let her splash around in that in the bathtub. I add Betadine to the water to help keep the nasties at bay. I wash out both tubs with bleach after her bath just in case her leg wound has MRSA (it is a white lump that looks like pus, and I don't know what to expect and do not want to spread staph infections around).

I have been putting Ichthammol on her leg wound and wrapping it with bath tissue and painter's tape. She doesn't pick at it, and the wound is now a little white lump with a little scab in the center. I am waiting for it to burst or fall off. I don't know what to expect, so I keep re-applying the ointment and wrapping with fresh bandage.

Lucy is eating, drinking, pooping, preening and playing in her water mug with great abandon. Today, she decided to play with anything that she came across. She hasn't done that since the attack a month ago. She hisses at the dog when it gets too close, and ignores the cats. She loves to be held with her feet in my hands or wrapped in a towel, does not like having her legs and head examined, cleaned or treated, but will be still and tolerate it while she complains. She now believes that she should be walking into her day crate rather than being carried to it after her bath, but with 2 dogs and 4 cats lurking about, I feel better about carrying her. I think it is time to transition her to a permanent crate in the living room next to Hope, our crippled silkie hen.
I am also looking for a diaper harness for her so I can walk her outdoors, or let her loose in the house when the predators are locked in another room. I noticed that Indoor Ducks dot com is not in business any longer. Where else can I get a duck diaper harness?

I am not supposed to have poultry here unless their 'enclosure' is 100 feet from the nearest neighbor's home, but the nearest neighbors do not care. The ones just within that distance are the complainers, so if she is a leashed pet living in a cage indoors, I think I can squeak by, since her enclosure is in the house, and she only goes outdoors confined to a leash or a carrier. (It's sad that a dog has more freedom than a duck).

I don't know if I have done the correct things in caring for Lucy, but I did get some good advice from my local friends. No one ever responded to this thread. I'm not sure why, but whatever. We have survived, and healed, and I still think BYC is a great place to go for poultry advice, and the people here are great.

Thanks for reading.

I guess no one responded because i was asking for duck help and not chicken help?

Any way, Lucy is doing great, I am (mostly) back in my right mind, and the only question I have now is, Can a duck and a hen be 'friends' i.e. companions? Or should I try to sneak in one more duck?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 1, 2012
wow what a story you've done an amazing job with your duck, maybe nobody responded because you were doing everything you possibly could! maybe your silkie could buddy up with duck, do you think she's crippled permanently?


Family owned, family run
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
Florida - Space Coast
What a fantastic story. So sorry for those you lost. Even more sorry the chicken people ignored your request for help.

WONDERFUL job you have done, be proud of the efforts you put forth.

They are always happier with one of their own, but yes the hen and duck can be friends too. Especially if they both are special needs, they will enjoy the indoor company.

Captain Cluck

10 Years
Jun 19, 2009
Central Florida
Hi, Thank you. I am thinking that might be why, too. Although at the time, one "I understand" would have helped immensely.

Yes, I believe Hope is permanently crippled. Her claw is curled up tight into a 'fist' like polio victims' limbs used to do.
I have tried stretching her toes gently, but she struggles as though it hurts. Makes it hard to clip her toenails so she doesn't gouge herself. She hobbles along as thought she was walking on her elbow. Other than that, she is a happy little chicken. Doesn't even realize he's limited in any way.

I am hoping that Hope and Lucy can be friends. If not, I will have to find Them each another friend (although Hope seems content to live right beside my computer desk - we talk back and forth while I work - LOL)


8 Years
Dec 18, 2011
North-Central Pennsylvania
Excellent work on your part!

I know, as a duck person, I only ever check the duck side. I come right here to our forum, and only venture out into the wider BYC world when I'm looking for something specific. It is unfortunate that no one offered any encouragement or suggested you post your question here :(

Any way...Welcome to the Duck Side!

Captain Cluck

10 Years
Jun 19, 2009
Central Florida
Thank you! Lucy is my special girl. I had a dozen hens and only 5 ducks (3 girls, 2 boys) and that is why I went to the emergencies forum. I thought it was for 'all' emergencies. this is stilll a great place to learn, though.

I have lost way too many birds this spring. I was ordered by animal control to remove both flocks in November last year because my coop could not be placed 100 feet from the neighbors' homes. So off to a friend's farm they went.

For 5 months, everything went fine. Then in March I lost 2 drakes and 2 hens. We were in the process of predator proofing the coop when The remaining hen ducks were attacked and my Cochin x Austrolorp was killed also. We had about a 2 week respite and then last week, "it" struck again and this time, killed 6 chicks and their mamma and her sister (Cochin x RIR I had a lot of mutts, LOL).

Well, now I am down to 6 hens at the farm and they are all living in the garage with my friend's flock.

If anything gets any more of my birds out there, I am bringing the survivors home and figuring something out.

I guess I can be a "Bird walker" like a dog walker. LOL.

Well, off to lock up the birds for the night.

Captain Cluck

10 Years
Jun 19, 2009
Central Florida
Lucy Update (minor gross alert):

We went without internet for most of the weekend. It went out before 6 AM on Thursday and came back on sometime Sunday.

Lucy is doing very well. She is making as big a mess as she can in her crate Every. Single. Day. Sometimes twice a day - LOL. She eats, drinks and poops like there is no tomorrow.

Once her wounds heal, I may take her outside again. I haven't allowed full tub baths since last Monday because she has some re-opened wounds. Only the coffee mug for face washing, but it seems she can get a whole body bath from that... still trying to figure out how.

I post my Lucy Updates on my Facebook wall for my friends who have been helping me as they could with advice and suggestions.

It was brought up that sepsis could become a problem with the leg wound (thanks for the heads-up, Facebook friend, Janice), even though I was using the black ointment (Ichthammol)to draw out any infection, so...

My husband and I set up the 'surgery', put on plastic gloves and went to work on the leg. He held Lucy still under a towel while I was the big, bad meany.

I picked off the scab which had gone down to a smaller, kind of dry white spot and a dark brown/black center. A longish stringy thing came out with it. I cleaned out the wound as well as I could, poured straight H2O2 over it and waited about a minute for it to work (thinking back, maybe I should have either diluted it, or used dilute Betadyne. Lucy was NOT impressed with my choice of wound wash).

I let Lucy "bite" me several times during the treatment so that she felt like she was having her say, then I packed her leg wound with antibiotic ointment and wrapped it up. I trimmed feathers off her face wound and repacked that one, and discovered a largish wet patch of scabby skin (about 1"x1" - that's pretty big for a medium sized duck's head) peeling away from the top of her head up in front of her crest, so I removed that, trimmed the head feathers there, cleaned the wound (with H2O2 this time on a q-tip - again, I probably should have used dilute Betadyne) and then packed the new patch with antibiotic ointment.

I am thinking she is healing well, since every few days to a week, after she has had some sort of bath, a new patch of scabby skin peels off. I clean it and pack it with antibiotic ointment to protect it until it either scabs over again, or new skin grows over it. The new patches are always at the lymph fluid leaking level with minor bleeding (just a bit from the surface capillaries). While the wounds are open looking, I limit bathing to face washing in her coffee mug (mainly because she poops in her bath the instant she gets into the water - eeewwww!!!!! and I run out of betadyne to put in the bath rather quickly)

I let her have Betadyne baths in a Rubbermaid tub, since it is deep enough to bathe in, but not as large as the bath tub to fill. I can give her 2-4 Betadyne baths that way, adding it to the water in the tub.

When she got into her freshly cleaned cage, she immediately tried to wash off the antibiotic ointment in her coffee mug, then tried to wipe it off by rubbing the back of her head on her back. *sigh* At least the parts with the ointment don't come in contact with much. I am still bedding her on plain white bath towels, because wood shavings would cause no end of trouble with her open wounds, And I don't have a deep enough tray to contain the shavings anyway. She hates newspaper because she slips on it, and shredded newspaper gets wetter and dirtier faster than the towels so it is 3-4 loads weekly on the sanitary cycle. I use about 2-4 towels per day depending on how nasty she makes her crate.

I am wondering if and how I should clean off antibiotic ointment from her head wounds. I hate to wipe it off since there is no infection, and have been just waiting a few days for it to melt into her skin, or otherwise get wiped off before repacking. I keep trimming more feathers away from the wounds each time I repack them, because I find feathers stuck in the remainder of the ointment.

I was also debating de-feathering her at that point (just cutting back the body feathers and avoiding the blood feathers) to see what other wounds I may have missed, but decided not to just yet. I figure any wounds I missed have not become infected, and I will find them as the scabs and dead skin slough off, so de-feathering may not be necessary. It is warm enough here (high 80s) that the t-shirts I bought for her would be enough to keep her warm until her feathers grow back, but she Is molting right now anyway, so maybe I should just help things along and shave her? I dunno. I get a rabbit of feathers daily and vacuuming doesn't phase her (though it sends the Chi into orbit) so maybe don't bother?.

Another thing I discovered is, Lucy has a round hole in the edge of her bill and the skin on her bill is peeling. Will the hole (where she was bitten by the Big Bad Scary Thing) ever grow in? What should I do about the bill skin peeling? So far I have left it alone.

Any suggestions from the medically minded? Am I on track, or should I be doing something different?

I have never cared for an animal this badly wounded before, and I appreciate all suggestions and pointing in the direction of information. Thank you for all your help. Even the pats on the shoulder with the "Wish I could help, but I don;t know anything. I hope you have good results." sort of help. Good wishes are always appreciated.

Captain Cluck

10 Years
Jun 19, 2009
Central Florida

June 12

I didn't have time to change Lucy's bandage Monday, so I left it on. (Bad Mamma! Shame on you!) I changed it Tuesday, the wound was a little puffy (like a mosquito bite) and had a scab, so (wearing plastic gloves) I picked off the scab, squeezed it gently to make it weep and washed it with peroxide. I left off the bandage. Thinking about it, maybe I shouldn't squeeze it.

I remember when Owen, our cat, had a bite on his foot, I had to scrub it vigorously with peroxide daily to keep it open so it would drain and heal. Thought of doing that to Lucy's leg, but the wound seems to be healing nicely, so I will watch it and see.

A friend raised the points of sepsis if a wound stays infected and also, antibiotic resistant bacteria if the andtibiotic ointment is used for too long. *sigh* Now I am second guessing myself all over again.

Lucy's head wounds seem to be doing fine, so I left them alone. I am allowing the ointment to sink into the skin or melt off her head - I'm not so sure either of us want her head shampooed. Her feathers are all gunked up with the ointment and look like she has been wearing a gallon of petroleum jelly on her head.

I will be making her a feeding station to try to contain her mess. She takes great delight in flinging food muck all around the living room (fortunately, it rarely gets farther than 12 inches from the crate) I hung a towel on the side of the crate she flings her muck from, and she complained that she couldn't see out.

Since it is Tuesday (crate cleaning day) I changed the litter in Hope's crate (the crippled silkie hen - destined to be Lucy's new best friend). I use a children's snow shovel to scoop out the old litter. It's the easiest way I have to clean out this particular crate.
Hope followed the shovel around and as soon as I got half of the litter out, she hopped onto the blade of the shovel, demanding a ride. Nutty bird! She loves riding on the shovel, so back and forth a few times, then I dumped her off to finish cleaning up.

She also loves to spread out her own shavings, so I try not to break up the clumps when I put them in. She gets busy moving things around, making everything just so.

Now if I could keep her from jumping in her water bowl when I bring her treats, we'd have it made! (When she sees treats - especially tomatoes- she hops into her water bowl and waits for me to serve her, purring the whole time. Then I have to change her water, because now she has dragged shavings into the bowl. *sigh*

I do have crazy animals.

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