Muscovy duckling suddenly can't walk

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by FL Zoo Mom, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. FL Zoo Mom

    FL Zoo Mom Just Hatched

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Hi all, I read this page a lot but up until now I've never needed to ask a question because I've always been able to find the answer.

    First off, I'm very much a novice when it comes to ducks and the ducks that I do kind of take care of are feral/neighborhood muscovy ducks. Momma brought her ducklings around several weeks ago and at that time they were probably only a couple days old. I live on a canal with a seawall so if the ducklings fall in they can't get back out and I've rescued the ducklings from the canal twice.

    Anyway, I've had Momma and her four ducklings around for a while and today when I went outside to let my cat in for the night and let my dog out for the last time I could hear one of her ducklings crying so I grabbed a flashlight and went to investigate. One of the ducklings can't walk now and I have no idea why. I picked him up and Momma got upset with me and hit me a few times so I set him down in the grass and tried to check to see if he was obviously injured. Momma settled next to me and let me look him over. He doesn't appear to be injured and earlier today he was walking around just fine. This probably sounds silly but I talked to Momma and told her that her baby can't walk and I want to see if I can help him. After I talked to her for a minute or two she let me pick him up to take him in the house while she went to rejoin her other babies (note: I have no idea if this is a male or female). Her other three ducklings appear just fine.

    I was reading some of the other threads where people have stated that it could be a niacin or other vitamin deficiency. I'm on a fixed income and can't afford to take him to a vet right now if there were even a vet in my area that would see us. Muscovy ducks are considered an invasive species (yet protected) so I can't get help from the wildlife rehab places, either. At any rate, he's currently wrapped in a towel in my bathtub (he quieted right down when I wrapped him up). I'd like to head out tomorrow to get the things he might need but I'm unsure of what all I should get. I can't get him a pool until next week but I can figure out another way for him to swim to see if that helps.

    Here's a picture of Momma and her babies that I took just a couple days ago to give you an idea of age. I put a little bit of food out for them every morning, but not so much that they don't have to go forage, too. Besides, the drake (who I call Mister) chases everyone away when there's food around so he can eat it. I feed everyone Purina Flock Raiser Crumbles if that matters.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. FL Zoo Mom

    FL Zoo Mom Just Hatched

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    Sep 22, 2016
    My daughter is going by Tractor Supply on the way home from work today to pick up some electrolytes and vitamins. I told her to get Sav-A-Chick Electrolyte & Vitamin Supplement. Is this OK or should I have her get something else? I'm also on my way to Winn Dixie to look for brewer's yeast.
     
  3. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For niacin I've always given Brewer's Yeast. It's a powder you sprinkle on their food.
     
  4. FL Zoo Mom

    FL Zoo Mom Just Hatched

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Do you think it would hurt to give both? I mean, I'm not sure if it's a niacin issue, I'm just going by the symptoms and what I've read here.
     
  5. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    You might find this thread about duckling niacin dosage and possible overdose helpful: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/702266/can-you-overdose-ducklings-on-niacin.

    Sav-A-Chick lists niacin (vitamin B3) as an ingredient, but doesn't indicate how much is in the packet. I mix brewer's yeast in with my ducklings' feed. Sav-A-Chick would probably be helpful, especially if it's something other than niacin deficiency. Hope your duckling is doing better soon!
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks recommends 100 to 150 mg niacin (plain) per gallon of drinking water for several weeks for ducklings showing signs of possible niacin deficiency.

    In my reading on the forum and elsewhere over the years, I suspect that thiamine, another B vitamin may also be involved. While one can overdose B vitamins, I think you'd need to really go overboard.

    So - I sent an email to Milk Products asking them specifically how much niacin is in the product, since the label does not indicate that information.

    Meanwhile, I would give the sav-a-chick until you get your hands on either plain niacin, B complex vitamins, or brewer's yeast. Here is a writeup I did compiling what I have learned and how I feel about supplementing.


    I would go with brewer's yeast. Forgive me for using capital letters, but for anyone else who may casually look over this thread, NOT baking yeast, NOT winemaking yeast. Brewer's yeast is a nutritional supplement and it provides niacin and a few other vitamins.

    Generally, folks who supplement with brewer’s yeast use a tablespoon per cup of food.

    Ducklings need about three times the niacin chicks do. And some ducklings get leg problems or seizures if they don't have enough niacin.

    If you cannot find the brewer's yeast, or if you happen to have (here come the capital letters again, please forgive me) PLAIN niacin - NOT no-flush, NOT timed release, then dissolve 150 mg niacin per gallon of water for the duckling’s drinking water.

    Another approach is to use B Complex capsules, and use the B3 - niacin - levels as a guide. Again, 150 mg B3 per gallon of drinking water.


    Keep the little one on the supplements for about 8 weeks.

    Sometimes it only takes a few days to see improvement.

    You can also see how it went for Qwackers and Bentley from these threads.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/857143/treating-wry-neck-in-crested-duckling-edited-title

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/761308/peking-duckling-with-crooked-neck-help
     
  7. FL Zoo Mom

    FL Zoo Mom Just Hatched

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Thank you all for the help so far. The little guy is eating, drinking, and pooing just fine (so much poo). Today he went for a swim in a plastic container that I have and really seemed to perk up when I put him in the water. Dunking his head and making happy little duckling noises. His legs move great in the water and it was deep enough that he could touch the bottom but not have to stand and put pressure on his legs. He's definitely not waterproof yet, though. :)

    I haven't been able to lay my hands on brewer's yeast yet, but I'll be heading out when my daughter gets home from work to a different grocery store. Worst case, would nutritional yeast be OK? I also want to add it to the feed I give the ducklings outside, too, just to make sure they don't have any problems going forward. So far they're all OK, running around, following Momma, making happy noises, learning how to be ducks.

    How often should I have him swim?

    I'm sorry I didn't reply earlier. I didn't get notification of the last two messages and only saw them when I came here to do an update on the baby.
     
  8. FL Zoo Mom

    FL Zoo Mom Just Hatched

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Also, I did pick up some frozen peas last night since I couldn't find brewer's yeast but I can't get him to eat them yet. I put some in his water and in his food and he didn't touch them. [​IMG]
     
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I believe nutritional yeast should be fine, from what I have read on the Duck Forum. Once a day swim will be good, if he's energetic, maybe twice, but I recall my Runner babies pooping out after ten minutes - and it was a bit of a task getting fifteen babies into the tub and back out, so once a day was all I could handle!
     
  10. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nutritional yeast is fine, too - I've supplemented ducklings' feed with it before (I use brewer's yeast now because it's easier to find). A BYCer in this thread says it contains more niacin than brewer's yeast: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/869091/brewers-yeast-or-niacin-for-duckling.

    When my ducklings were that age, I'd let them swim in shallow pans of water (starting with a paint roller tray) for about 15 minutes once a day, less if they started to look bored, tired, or chilled. Like you said, their feathers aren't waterproof at that age, so you'll want to keep a close eye on him during the swim sessions, and he should always be able to touch bottom and/or climb out of the water. The swimming might even be like water therapy for him..? To me, there's nothing quite like the sheer joy of a duckling splashing in a little pan of water!
     

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