Injured 6 week old duckling- bad legs (Pic included)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ladyfeather, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. ladyfeather

    ladyfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2012
    Southeast Michigan
    Hello:

    A cousin couldn't keep her Ancona hen or Peking drake and their 8 ducklings. We had them for about a week- the ducklings are about 6 weeks old and are well taken care of by a skittish mom. Unfortunately one of the males on the farm attacked the runt of the litter and he's now badly beaten up.

    Aside from scrapes and some bruises the worst injury is to his ankle/feet. We're uncertain of how or if we should splint them or allow him to recover on his own.

    It has been injured for 24 hours- it eats, drinks. It is isolated in our home from the rest of the flock in a small rabbit cage and then it was moved to our bathtub with a towel. We are trying a warm water soak to both clean it (spilled water and food all over it) and try to bring down any soreness/swelling.

    An emergency vet trip will cost us around $150 just to start and any excess males from our flock were going to freezer camp once they were large enough.

    We are willing to put some care and love into this little baby but these are our first brooded and parent raised birds.

    Baby duck condition at the moment:
    Drinking, rinsing face
    Attempting to move and waddle around in the water, chewing on random bits of grass or dirt in the bath water
    Standing as best as possible
    "Flapping" wings
    Peeping
    It stands on the knee portion of its legs, one foot splayed properly but falls to the other side.
    Bruises/scrapes seem to be healing.
    Feet are not hot to the touch, only slightly red where they rub on the harder surfaces (Removing all of the water now to dry duckling and add padding for the night)

    It sounds quite active in moving, splashing, drinking right now but you can hear it bang the legs instead of walking well.

    I hope that is enough info. I am posting a picture of standing and we are hoping the quality of life isn't terrible. We're trying to keep him warm, fed, calm, quiet, and clean.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Earth
    Quote: Can you observe more to see if the bone might be broken? If it is unable to move it's foot/toes/etc, it is probably broken. If it is broken, you should try to spot the exact location of the bone break. If it is moving the foot, it might not be broken.. just sprained, bruised, or pulled. First need to figure out the exact problem.

    In the photo you posted, it looks like the leg is twisted/upside down under the bird -- looks broken. Can't tell much though.

    Here is a natural remedy for a broken leg in poultry:
    • Make splints, preferably out of elder wood. Bandage firmly. Stand the leg in a cold brew of comfrey leaves and mallow leaves three times daily. The water should come well above the place of breakage. Also give one teaspoonful of the comfrey brew internally morning and night.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  3. thechooks22

    thechooks22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I made a splint for my quail when she broke her leg ...you get a cloth or thin material and dip it in egg whites and rap it around and it sets hard
     
  4. ladyfeather

    ladyfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2012
    Southeast Michigan
    We can't spot the break. We spread the feet gently and checked the long bones of the legs. It seems to bend at each of the joints easily with no sign of obvious pain from the duckling. I understand that they may not show a great deal of distress so that isn't the best indicator.

    The toes of the one foot are curled in, to the inner side, and limp. We think the toes are the issue and the ankles so I want to get something done tonight at the latest so we can get optimal healing. We thought it might just be shock and bruising/tenderness yesterday.

    I found some ways to splint it but I'm not sure the best way- in a natural sitting position? Standing? We have some stiff cardboard (no elder wood here), a few thin tongue depressors/craft sticks, gauze, and tape. I was going to trace the foot, cut the cardboard and tape together to form a splint for the foot, a depressor on either side. Then I was going to try setting it in a sitting position with the splint on either side of the bone above the ankle and extending a bit passed the knee.

    I'm at a loss right now on the best way to get this splint going and this is the best I can find: http://www.duckrescuenetwork.org/DRNBoard/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=810

    We can't find these supplies locally so we have to improvise.

    I'm going to get my husband to hold the baby while I check the feet again after the soak and rest. If I post more pictures could someone help us pinpoint any issue?
     
  5. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2013
    Earth
    What you need to do now are:
    • set the break for healing
    • help it's health/immune system to stimulate healing

    Did you see what I posted about comfrey? You can soak the broken leg in a cold comfrey tea, AND/OR give it internally morning and night. That is specifically for broken bone. Comfrey should be available at any health food store, maybe even grocery stores...

    For overall health, I use garlic, acidophilus, and organic apple cider vinegar for my chickens. I'm not sure whether it's appropriate for ducks though.



    If it's condition does not improve through all your efforts, remember that culling may actually be the more humane option (depending on it's pain/suffering). I hope that's not the case though :)
     
  6. ladyfeather

    ladyfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2012
    Southeast Michigan
    We checked the foot and legs again very carefully, feeling alone and trying to flex each bone. Everything was solid except near the feet and ankle where it felt a bit soft. We spread the foot out and prodded the joints. It doesn't look swollen except on the knee of the limping side.

    I saw the comfrey information and wrote it on our list of supplies to pick up this evening (My duckling isnt the only person here who needs help; my husband needs more gauze for his own injury). With all of the stores in my area I can find comfrey or harvest it from a friend's garden.

    We're headed off to the store to get our splinting supplies and hopefully get this little one on the mend. I'm posting some better pictures.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2013
    Earth
    It sounds like you're doing everything you can to help your little duckling. Thanks for the photos! I'm noticing definite red areas on the leg joint and some of the toes. I am wondering if perhaps the leg injury could have been separate from the attack? They could be related, but maybe not. Have you looked into bumblefoot?

    I have been doing some reading, and I found some more information that hopefully helps you:
    Quote: source: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Herbal-Handbook-Farm-Stable/dp/0571161162/

    if you can get fresh comfrey and/or other herbs from a friend's garden, that is excellent!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  8. ladyfeather

    ladyfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2012
    Southeast Michigan
    We took some cardboard and nexcare gentle and waterproof tape and made some duck splints for the time being. We traced the approximate shape of the normal foot, cut it out, made a spot for the back claw, then bent it to support/stiffen the upper leg to the hip. We gently wrapped the tape around the toes to keep the webbing/toes properly shaped (toenails over the edge of the board to help it lay flat). So far the webbing and skin is a healthy color and temperature, no marks we can see or swelling.

    After we placed the splints (both feet seemed weak and crumpling) he seemed to stand up straight, knees off the floor for a moment before trying to walk. He stumbled a lot but seemed to be steadier on the worse leg.

    Unfortunately I think we have overstressed and increased the pain of his injuries. He's snapping at us a bit, his head is twisting hard to the bad side (where the leg is weaker), and is keeping his head close to his body. I feel terrible but wasn't willing to give up without trying.

    The plan is to leave the current splinting on until it gets too dirty and prepare new ones to place, hopefully in the next 10 days. The splints and isolation should happen for 3 weeks I believe(?)

    I'm not sure what I can do for the pain and we are going to give the comfrey tea a go for the week. A friend is going to give me what fresh greens she has in her garden and now the baby has some soft, dry towels instead of a hard floor (a poor choice we made in haste).

    I still welcome any advice and I will be posting some pictures of the baby after he rests some.
     
  9. ladyfeather

    ladyfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2012
    Southeast Michigan
    Sad update :(

    We checked on it several times over the night and all seemed well- near the water and able to drink well. We checked on it around 9am and all seemed well. At 930 it was flailing, neck arched back hard against his spine. He barely made a sound, wings flapping and body tense and shaking. We tried to calm him and set him right but he was in a lot of obvious pain and stress.

    Our opinion was he was in too much pain to be humane and we couldn't justify leaving him suffering that way. We had to cull him and it was as quick as you could ask for.

    We've learned our lesson on drakes, babies, and their interaction for the future as well as what we need to keep around in our animal first aid kit.

    Thank you all for your help! I hope that this thread helps others in their journey of keeping ducks.
     
  10. thechooks22

    thechooks22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 1, 2013
    Queensland, Australia
    Oh thats horrible .so sorry about your duckling :'(
     

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