I need help with a duckling's leg injury!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Quail27, May 11, 2010.

  1. Quail27

    Quail27 Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    I went on a 3 day vacation and hired a petsitter. The petsitter did a wonderful job, so I have no doubt that the injury is not due to her or her care.

    Anyway, I came back to find one of my indian runner ducklings can not stand. Everybody else is fine. I can't find any visible injury at all, not even swelling.

    This same duckling did something quite weird a few weeks ago, I'm not sure if it's related: all the ducks were scurrying out of my way, and he sort of froze up and fell onto his back and acted almost like his back was broken. I walked right up to him and picked him up and he did not fight it. I set him in the duck house and a few minutes later he was fine.

    The only thing I can think that has changed from before I left on vacation and now is that I introduced scratch grains into the diet and enlarged their area.

    Other than that... they eat a mixed feed that is comprised primarily of chick starter (non medicated), and then it's also got some higher protein show bird feed mixed in, and I also add in the dust and flakes of alfalfa that is in the bag once the alfalfa cubes for the rabbits are used. It's got just a small amount of rabbit feed pellets, oyster shell, and grit mixed in too. They also get a few handfuls of fresh picked vegetation from the yard (no pesticides or herbicides or fertilizers used).
    They are on the ground with plenty of water and their bedding is either cedar or aspen shavings. They have a shelter.

    I added some vitamins to today's ration of feed just in case it's something like niacin or other vitamin/mineral deficiency, but I am hoping someone can give me an idea that perhaps I haven't thought of.
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners 8 Years

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    My first thoughts as possibilities are niacin deficiency, seizures (can be caused by physical or biochemical problems), allergic reaction to cedar.

    Vitamins are a good idea. Let's see what others think.
  3. Happycheese

    Happycheese In the Brooder

    Apr 8, 2010
    Carlisle, PA
    I don't know about ducks, but cedar or pine is extremely dangerous for most animals. I would check the packaging, if you don't have it just replace it with aspen or even a towel for now.
  4. dieselgrl48

    dieselgrl48 Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duck's can get leg sprain's very easily.Young duck's can also get spinal injurie's easily too.We have had to put down a couple here due to back injurie's.I would get the duck confined right away.Introducing scratch grain's really shouldn't affect them.I have 19 young mallards and have been mixing in cracked corn with finisher for a few weeks now and they are doing great .I have been raising duck's for almost 6 year's.It could be the Alphafa.I have read some online that you shouldnt even put hay in for bedding.Has something to do with the dust from it and can cause lung problem's.I have alway's put some hay however in for mine winter months in their sleep area with no problem.I would try taking away the Aplf.and try keep it confined for a week or 2.Basic leg sprains will usualy heal fast if they are confined.Cedar could be culprit if used in a confined brooder for Any bird.The oil's can be toxic from the chip's.I never put cedar in brooders but do keep alittle on the horsestall floor where my duck's have always been raised with no problem's.
  5. Quail27

    Quail27 Songster

    Apr 15, 2009

    I added the vitamins. I replaced the cedar that was currently in the pen with aspen.
    I went out to feed and water this morning and the duckling was looking even worse... I moved him next to the waterer and he drank considerably. I suppose he might have lost the ability to scoot and might have been without water for up to 15 hours (since that was when I was last out there with them).
    I took him out of the main pen and set him by himself with a pile of feed and a waterer. He drank some more. Refused to eat, even when I added some of the feed to the water (you know how most ducks can't resist tiny bits of food floating in water!). He ate yesterday when I put him next to the feeder, so this was a worsening of symptoms.
    I went about the rest of my chores (feeding and watering everybody else). I walked back into the pen to give my rabbits some clover and he peeped a few times as if he were scared of me and wanting to get away, which was normal, so I thought nothing of it. I looked back at him about 10 seconds later and he had passed on.

    After he died I looked him over completely. I felt all the bones. I moved the joints. I still can not find any sort of injury. All the bones felt in place and the joints did not feel abnormal.
    The only thing even odd was a slightly pasty butt, but that's easily explained by his inability to stand. When he was alive, he could move his legs and feet just fine, just would not stand on them, so I am in doubt that it was an actual leg injury.

    None of the other ducks are displaying anything but perfect health. Due to this, the lack of visible injury, and his previous weird behavior, I am going to conclude that he most likely suffered from a heart defect or perhaps some sort of seizure disorder. Of course, these are only guesses.

    Thank you everybody for the ideas.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: