Lost 4 week old duckling, please advise!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by duckmama, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. duckmama

    duckmama New Egg

    Jul 20, 2011
    Hello, This is my first post. I apologize in advance for the length of this, but I am a complete novice and I hope that I might learn a thing or three from any feedback I get about my feeding and management, etc.

    I just lost one of my khaki-campbells, "Lady Pompadour". The ducklings are 4 weeks old today, and she was one of the biggest of the flock. Most appear to be straight khaki-campbell, but she and one other have some tufts on their heads, so I assume mixed with crested. When I went out to feed the ducks this a.m., the other 11 ducklings were to the far right of the pen and rather noisy as they watched her. She was on the left side of the pen belly up with feet flapping a bit. When I found her she was not moving much, but as I reached over to pick her up her legs started going strong. When placed on ground with her legs under her she was unable to retain her balance, and flopped over again. She was holding her neck in a weird sort of bent back position. She had a little clear tear in her eye, her poop was white and clear. I didn't see any signs of trauma. I offered water, and maybe that's what killed her, as she died with her bill in water. But I suspect she was pretty damaged already. I noticed yesterday that she was itching at herself a few times but she appeared otherwise well. The rest of the ducklings appear well. Last night was the first night without a warming light on as the low temps are in the mid to upper 70's here, and I figured that was okay for them.

    I'm concerned that what I've been feeding has not been adequate, so I'd love some education on that. I have been offering greens, scrambled eggs and uncooked oatmeal. I have added small drizzle of cod liver oil weekly and a bit of niacin in the water, but not recently. I chop up spinach or lettuce most days, or give them greens picked from the yard. I did soak and grind up some wheat and then some rye in the past few weeks. (just soaked to make soft, ground up and covered with water). I clean out the water dish once a day. I use rainwater from our rain barrel. Other things I've offered include a dish of Diotomaceous Earth, and a dish of grit when I gave them wheat and rye. Later I read that Rye could be bad for them. One of my 'runt' ducklings seems to have difficulty learning what is food and what isn't, but not this one.

    They have a dirt floor duck house, 4 x 8 which they are only shut in at night. It would be difficult for a critter to break into this house. It has good ventilation and the doors are secured by hooks and eyes. There is maybe a 1/2 inch maximum gaps, or something could dig under, but it's close to the house and surrounded by chicken wire fence. I have large flat pans which I filled with sawdust and covered with burlap that were under the heat lamp for the first 3 weeks. I rinsed the burlap every 1 - 2 days and dried in sun. I removed these sawdust pans a couple of days ago and just raked out the soil under the pans and spread some sawdust there. I rake it briefly every several days. They have a yard area which is fenced in, and they love being out there foraging during the day. 3 days ago I put a layer of composted leaves around the yard area. I'd been seeing a lot more flies, but after covering yard with leaves and getting rid of the sawdust pans, their numbers have decreased. Some of the ducklings are trying to catch and eat flies, chasing after them and and jumping off the ground to catch them (highly amusing). Did she jump up and hurt herself?

    My goal is to learn whether there is something I'm doing or failing to do that is contributing to low immunity for my ducks and if there are any preventative steps I should be taking to protect the flock. We are not people who use the Dr. or Vet, but believe that once we learn the species appropriate diet, our bodies will heal themselves. We don't use antibiotics and hope to be able to raise healthy ducklings without them. I want to stay away from soy feed, and due to the possibilty of fishy tasting eggs I want to avoid fish meal. I've read so much conflicting information about feeding ducklings that I wouldn't be surprised if I need to change something about that.

    I think this might be Pasteurella anatipestifer infection, based on her position when I foudn her, but I appreciate any input. Thank you so much! This is my first experience as duck mom and I would like to get proficient at it as soon as possible!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  2. featherfinder

    featherfinder Runner Lover

    Do you have any sort of feed store near you that you could go get them waterfowl food? Like flock raiser or an all fowl? Those types of foods would have the nessicary protiens and calcium in them for a balanced diet along with supplemwnting the greens like you have as treats not a main diet. Aslo spinach is not good for ducks. It does not allow them to absorb calcium like they should. Also feed stores sell a vitamin pack that has a bunch of things in it including niacin that can be added into their drinking water to help them.

    Sorry about Lady Pompadour [​IMG]
  3. DuckLover2399

    DuckLover2399 Avian American

    Jun 7, 2011
    Weary neck?
  4. tbitt

    tbitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011
  5. jsnarredondo

    jsnarredondo New Egg

    Jul 12, 2011
    I had a male pekin that did this and I believe it was from the heat. He was doing exactly what you described. I was able to save him by taking him inside and running himunder some water to cool him down. I live in Texas and it was pretty hot. What was the temperature like? Where they in their house? Is the ventilation good? Could they have run out of water? I'm sorry for your loss. It sucks
  6. kikidee

    kikidee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2011
    San Clemente
    I just give mine which are 2 days old (lol) the starter mash and then I will give them the need step in chick/duck feed there is. Most feed places will tell you what to give them. As side foods and treats today I gave them bits of mashed apples and torn up baby pieces of lettuce. For nician and grit I think both are in the feed, but to provide more nician I am going to give them chopped broccoli which contains high levels of it from time to time.
  7. ~SunSetsWest~

    ~SunSetsWest~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    Central, Fl.
    I start all my birds on a 20% non medicated crumble along with greens, fruits and grit, they also have free range to pasture and a pool and heat as long as they want it and have never had any problems, this includes ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens. I do think they need a good quality crumble! Good Luck! ;-)

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