Missing feathers and injured leg

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by apan, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. apan

    apan Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2016
    We have 5 female ducks (4 runners, one Pekin) and one Pekin drake. We free range them and fill a kiddie pool up for them each day. In addition to thier foraging, we give them layer feed with added Brewers yeast.

    I left 6 healthy, happy ducks in the morning. I came home to one duck hobbling around on one foot. On closer inspection, she was missing almost all her tail feathers. I found them in a clump a few dozen yards from where I found her. The other five ducks were happily going on with life.

    I thought it must have been some daytime predator attack but there were no bite marks or wounds. Just a bloody rump with very few feathers. I put all the ducks in thier covered run and left them there for the next day.

    When I came home the second day, she had even fewer feathers than before. Her rump is plucked clean and she is still favoring the one leg. Since they were protected all day, I'm thinking that it must be one or more of the other ducks picking on her. I didn't think ducks had pecking orders like chickens, though!

    We created a separate enclosure for her in the garage to give her a chance to recover alone. She is listless and uncharacteristically quiet.

    Any ideas what might be going on? Would the other ducks really rip out CLUMPS of feathers like this? If so, why is it happening and what to do about it?

    Thanks in advance. This forum is a lifesaver.
     
  2. apan

    apan Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2016
    New information for this mystery:

    The duck has been kept in solitude for 3 days now. She has drank very little and eaten even less. She hasn't laid any eggs. However, she hasn't lost any more feathers and she seems the slightest bit stronger.

    Her feces have been either bright mint green or white and stringy. It's also worth nothing (maybe) that her bill is dark greenish black while my other runners have orange bills with only a few green specks. I read elsewhere that it's normal for runners to have green bills, but just in case it matters, I wanted to point that out.

    Twice a day I pen up the other ducks and give her some private pool time. She does still preen a little bit, drinks the water, and paddles around gently with her one strong legs. However, if I let the other ducks come visit her they immediately start pecking her head and back and biting her feathers. It was very aggressive- this little gang of ducks a few yards away just watching and waiting for a moment they can rush in and strike again. But WHY?

    Based on all these observations, it seems likely that it was the other ducks that attacked her suddenly last Thursday and ripped out her tail in one big clump. But now I need to understand WHY and WHAT can I do about it?
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    @apan Welcome to BYC

    I don't even venture to say I know the minds of a flock of ducks but I do know when one is sick in nature the flock will sometimes attack and drive it away even kill them it's too protect the rest from predator attack. Not sure but it sounds like your lil one was not feeling well and they picked up on it and attacked maybe trying to drive her off. I'd keep her separated but where they can all still see each other. She may have some kind of internal infection so if you can afford one a vet maybe the way to go or if you have a reg vet maybe they would advise on what antibiotic would help if it's an infection. Mint green poop usually means no food coming out since none is going in. She needs to stay hydrated and you may want to research tube feeding also if she goes too long with out either she won't make it. There is a link here on BYC I'll get it for you.Please keep us updated on how she is doing.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...ergency-and-supportive-care-updated-9-14-2016

    FYI never force water or food down the throat it can get into the air sacs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
  4. apan

    apan Out Of The Brooder

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    It makes sense that she is sick and that's why the others are picking on her. The list of "problem signs" in the post you linked contains several of her symptoms. I hadn't yet mentioned "vocal changes." Last time we had to isolate her, she quacked loudly because she resented the separation from the flock. This time, she is stone silent. She opens her beak as if you quack, but no sound comes out. Does this mean anything that would help me identify her illness?

    I've been hand-feeding her fresh peas and corn. She shows interest and immediately snatches them out of my hand, but then they just fall right out of her mouth. She won't drink unless she's swimming.

    I'm having trouble getting any specifics on what might be going on. The sooner I fix her up, the sooner she can be reintroduced to the flock (and hopefully they will get along great.)
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Listen to her chest for rattling does she have any discharge at all from vent or from eyes or nares or bill? Feel very gently around her lower belly for a stuck egg.
    Alot of poultry owners use Baytril for infections and also OxyTetracycline It's just hard to say what it could be but I'd say she is sick.
     

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