Is my duckling sick or is it as a result of being on the wrong diet?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by becca81, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. becca81

    becca81 Hatching

    Jul 1, 2010
    I have just took on a ducking from a friend who I didn't think could look after it properly. I believe the duckling is about a month to a month and a half old.
    It's losing its feathers around its eyes and on its back, at the base of its neck. It has left small bald spots.
    When I try to introduce it to water for swimming, it will swim and wade for about 5 mins then it seems like it can no longer swim and begins sinking.
    I quickly remove it from the water and put it in a towel to dry it and warm it but its legs and feet are really frail and it cannot stand or walk. It seems like its completely lost the use of its legs. This will last for around 10-20 mins til its completely dry and warm.
    Also, where the feathers are missing at the base of the neck, on its back the remaining feather/fluff looks like the ducklings skin has been weeping onto it and the fur is sticky. There are no wounds on the area.
    I have no idea what is wrong.
    Could it be that its because my friend was giving the duckling the wrong diet and once the duckling has been eating properly for a while then it might heal? Or should I be taking it to the vets?

    Apart from the feather loss and the temporary loss of use to its legs the ducklings behaviour is fine. Its eating and drinking fine. I'm not entirely sure what a ducklings poop should look like but its quite runny, mostly white with a small bit of brown.

    I have it at the moment in a plastic tub and I cover the bottom in bath towels and lay paper towels ontop. I change it all the time and it constantly has water and food available to it.

    I was told that it was most likely to be that its just because my friend was giving it the wrong diet and now that I am giving it the correct diet and looking after it properly then it should get better soon but I'd just like a second opinion incase there is something wrong with it.

  2. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    If you don't see improvement in the next couple of days (or if it gets worse) you might want to consider a vet visit.

    Are you giving it extra niacin or did you actually manage to find waterfowl feed?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  3. crystalchik

    crystalchik Songster

    Jan 15, 2008
    Central Florida
    Wow, thats odd. Im sorry, I dont know much about waterfowl, but what caught my attention was the sticky down and the possibility that he may have an eye issue (due to the loss of feathers). Since the sticky down is on its back, it almost sounds like he may be rubbing his eye. Have you seen him turn his head and rub his face on his back? Is there a possible eye irritation or does it look like he may have an eye infection? If he has an infection, it may have something to do with his behavior, but other than that, Im not sure. I wish you the best of luck!
  4. becca81

    becca81 Hatching

    Jul 1, 2010
    Yes it has been rubbing its eyes on its back. I did wonder about that because there is no weeping of the skin, I thought it may be getting wet on its back becasue of this. Is there anything I can do instead of taking him to the vet. I'm pretty skint and vets bills are huge! Sounds like it has an eye infection then? Maybe I should be taking it to the vet.

    I found some waterfowl feed. It is called wildthings duck and swan feed. It doesn't actually say whether it has protein in it. It only says it has all the right nutrients. I am also feeding it flakes of fish, boiled eggs cut up, under water and tiny pieces of veg.
    I dont know what niacin is. I am a first time duckling mother! I took it on because my friend didn't know how to look after it properly. I might not know alot more but I'm definitely willing to put the time and effort in to research ducklings and how to look after them.

    I have only had it a couple of days now but I have noticed that its skin where it has the bald patches is looking a much healthier pale pink rather than the slightly reddy colour it was when I first got it. Also, I can't be sure but It looks like there may be extra pin feathers beginning to come out around the eyes. Either that or just wishful thinking.
    How long would it take for its feathers to grow back after losing them due to being on the wrong diet?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010

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