Is my new duckling healthy?

Prinette

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
144
7
61
We recently purchased a new duckling (I believe he is about four weeks) and I'm concerned about his constant preening, a slight whistle when he breathes, and his food intake.
He currently seems to be doing okay, he is growing in new feathers like any duckling should be but he is constantly preening! He doesn't have any bald spots but I fear he may if he continues what he's doing. At times when he is breathing there is a bit of a whistle and I am not sure what causes it or if there is a problem with his health. Lastly, I am scared he may not be getting enough food, I attempted to give him food whenever he would like but he continues to knock over even weighted food bowls, pouring out most of his food before he gets to eat it. When he does get it in his mouth he manages to drop it all over the floor and I'm scared he's not actually taking in actually getting anything to eat. I'm still new to this, we have two younger mallards but none that around this age and I'm always a bit worried that something is going on. I appreciate any help you guys can give me!
 

Realtree4

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 18, 2014
236
23
83
Ohio
Ducks need water that they can put their entire head into because that's how they clean their sinuses out. Try putting water in the sink or a large bowl and let him have at it! Also, makes sure it has water at all times because that's how they wash down their food.
 
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Prinette

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
144
7
61
I went back and added extra water, I hadn't realized he'd slung it all out! And is it normal for him to sound like hes got a bit of water stuck in his bill or something ? That may sound stupid but every time he shakes his head water sloshes out and you can hear more trapped inside.
 

TLWR

Crowing
9 Years
Jul 10, 2010
2,879
254
254
southern AL
I'd get him into a tub/bucket/pool/etc to let him have a good soak and get himself well cleaned out. Then make sure he's go water deep enough to dunk.
I use just the gallon gravity waterers for my ducklings, but they get several swim times a day and they are able to get their bill entirely in the waterer.

Maybe try hanging a feeder for him. They are going to make a mess with food, no way around that. You can try to contain it by putting his feeder inside another larger container and recycle the food... as long as it isn't getting wet/nasty/pooped on/etc.
 

Prinette

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
144
7
61
Alright, thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to try and do the double containers like you said. Do you know anything about the constant preening, though? I came home to him with a duck with a bald spot today.
 

Realtree4

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 18, 2014
236
23
83
Ohio
Is he the only one that you have? I'm new to ducks too, but everyone has told me to have more than one because they get lonely. I do know that ours preen constantly!!! But no bald spots....maybe it's where the down is going away to make room for feathers. I have a chick that went almost bald in spots but it was just how it feathered in.
 

HollyDuckFarmer

Songster
7 Years
Jun 30, 2012
2,683
165
208
LP Michigan
I agree, when I had ducklings, especially the yellow Pekin & Runner ducklings, the fuzz came off leaving some balding areas. I'd offer the duckling a mirror & a cuddle buddy, in case it might be from loneliness. You can switch to a higher protein feed, for a very, very, very short time, like one week or perhaps two, but no longer, or else you risk angel wing deformity or organ stress. But increased protein will support feather growth. Personally I would not go over 20%.

And then I'd go to either a "bell waterer" (gravity fed, as described above) or one of those creative plastic cottage cheese containers with the spot cut into the lid. Do a search for "non spill waterers" It's here, I promise. Good luck.
 

Prinette

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
144
7
61
We have some other ducklings but they are much younger than him and hes not being the nicest to them so I have a mirror in his cage. What is a good toy for him to snuggle with I don't want to give him anything he may accidentally eat?
 

Realtree4

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 18, 2014
236
23
83
Ohio
We have some other ducklings but they are much younger than him and hes not being the nicest to them so I have a mirror in his cage. What is a good toy for him to snuggle with I don't want to give him anything he may accidentally eat? 

I believe that I've read to put something that they can snuggle with....all of my ducklings love to snuggle together :love
 

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