Muscovy ducks dying suddenly!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by awarmrainyday, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This will be long and detailed so I apologize in advance... All of my ducks are rescues and came to me in not so great condition. I've had most of them for a year now and they have all appeared healthy and happy. We took in a few chickens the neighbor girl had rescued that she could no longer keep about two weeks ago and I had put some Oxine AH in all the waterers for a few days, which I've done before with no ill effects. I then switched to organic ACV for about a week. About a week ago one of my young drakes appeared ill for a few days (sleeping a lot, just generally not interacting and chasing bugs like usual). I gave him some supportive care (acv water and chick starter mash) and within two days he perked up and was back to his usual self. Then my drake Blue, who was an adult when I got him and therefore I don't know his age, began acting the same way. At this point I was watching my whole flock very closely for any small signs of illness. I gave Blue the same supportive care but overnight he became very ill and disoriented, wanting to throw his head back, and he passed away Monday afternoon. The shocking thing was I found my Momma duck, who was 10 days into sitting on a nest of chicken eggs, laying on her back about a foot away from her nest having passed away that same afternoon. I had peeked in on her that morning and she was acting normal, even hissing at me for getting too close to her nest. I also saw her come out to eat and drink like usual and then race back to her nest. There were no obvious signs as to why she would have died. So that afternoon I disposed of both bodies and proceeded to clean, scrub, and disinfect all the waterers and dishes, the coop, and everything they come in contact with regularly with diluted Oxine AH. Two days ago my white drake had pus coming out of his eye but otherwise appeared fine. I rinsed it out with a Tylan/saline wash and put terramycin in it. They eye appears much better but he is still sitting around and not interacting a lot. I've been spending about three hours a day with everyone and observing behavior and other than Ghost everything has been normal. Well this morning I open up the coop to find one of my white female scovies had passed away just inside the coop door. It looks like she entered the coop, laid down and died. She was running around eating and chasing bugs just last evening! I just don't know what to do. Ghost is still sitting around but his eye looks good, should I separate him from the flock?

    The only change is that everyone has just started their fall molt. I was thinking of disinfecting everything again and treating them with oxytetracycline in their waterers. I spot clean the coop daily and spray oxine AH about twice a week but I will be doing a full cleanout and disinfection tonight. The chickens have all been fine so I don't think it has anything to do with the adopted chickens. My chickens all have MG anyway and so did the neighbors because they were rescued from the same place (also where the ducks came from) so none of that is new to any of them.

    The ducks eat chicken feed, dry cat food about twice a week, cracked corn, scratch grains, fresh lettuce and vegetables, and occasional treats include bird seed and wet cat food. They also get weeds from the garden and grass clippings which are mulched. They've also been eating a lot of leaves from the trees since they just started falling.

    The only other thing I can think of would be possible poisoning? The previous landowners used the whole place as a burn pit and I spent years cleaning up and sifting through the dirt collecting parts of toys, bullet casings, batteries, pieces of glass etc. I *thought* I had sifted through everything and got it all where the run is but the chickens scratch up new things occasionally that shouldn't be in the ground. I walked around daily and pick up any little thing that I see. Unfortunately I have found a screw driver bit in a waterer and also a piece of glass about two inches by one inch long in the past three weeks. Maybe the ducks are finding and eating something they shouldn't be? I can't really move the run, we just spent a lot of money putting it all up!

    Does this sound like an illness (like duck viral enteritis- which I am hoping and praying it is not) them eating something they shouldn't? Time to invest in a metal detector? Any advice would be greatly appreciated because I am at a loss and I don't want to lose any more ducks. Thank you for reading this!
     
  2. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would consider takeing one of your ducks to the vet, one that you think might be sick and they can help more. Have they been wormed?( If that's what that oxine stuff is I have never used it so sorry if that question was already answered)

    Yes I would disinfect everything But I do highly recommend a vet if your not noticing any major signes of illness and they are just randomly dieing.
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    How has the weather been? Very hot? Dry? Might it be botulism?
     
  4. DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did you quarentine the new chickens? Any new flock additions should be quarentined for two weeks to a month. If you did not quarentine, the new birds could be cause of the problem. The chickens could be carrying a disease thay does not affect them, but if fatal to ducks.
     
  5. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your responses! The ducks have not been wormed, I honestly don't know what to use on them and I've never seen any signs of worms in their droppings. All the chickens have been treated with ivermectin though.

    There isn't a vet around here that will see a chicken or duck. I had a hard enough time finding one who would see a rabbit. My vet is a farm doctor but he does not treat chickens and ducks only the standard dog/cat/rabbit and large farm animals.

    We've had crazy weather here. It was extremely hot with heat index upwards of 105 degrees and then we had a cold spell, a good bit of rain, and another hot spell. Now today it has cooled down significantly again. I know this sort of weather affects my chickens but I've never had it affect my ducks.

    Unfortunately, no, I was unable to quarantine the newbies as I told her parents I would accept them and she sort of just came over and stuck them in my run [​IMG]. My chickens had just been treated with ivermectin about two days prior so I went around and treated all of the new ones with ivermectin and generally checked them over. A few had some mild classic MG symptoms that I deal with off and on but otherwise weren't in terrible condition. I didn't worry about the quarantine too much because the place where all of my chickens and ducks migrated from is a livestock dealer who throws the sick or undesirables out to fend for themselves. That is where the neighbors' came from and that is where mine came from. Up until about a month and a half ago ours all free-ranged (I didn't choose chicken/duck keeping, they just sort of chose me and stayed so we set up a permanent setting for them when I fell in love and my flock kept growing). So up until a month ago all of mine were coming in contact with hers and all the very sick ones that would show up from down the road. We've never had anything like this happen as they've pretty much been exposed to everything he has down there already and recovered. I know this is sort of an odd situation for chicken/duck keeping but I've always taken in his discards and done the best I can. In the past year I've handled around 125 of his birds,we've lost about 25- all but two were ducks- and successfully rehabilitated and rehomed around 50 to people who were aware of the situation they came from, the condition they were in and the treatment they received, and were prepared to take on any possible health problems that might arise. I definitely plan on quarantining in the future now that I have a permanent set up established and would love to establish a sick-bay setup in my garage for future arrivals. It's just not in the budget at the moment but hopefully a winter project.

    *Knock on wood* the ducks have been looking good. This will be the third day with everyone being treated with oxytetracycline in the waterers. Ghost, the sick white duck, ate a little bit yesterday and moved around a little more, and this morning he was out walking around even more so I'm cautiously optimistic that he is recovering. I really hope we are on the upswing here because it has been a long and crappy month.
     
  6. DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its good that she is eating!!! But in the future, you may want to quarentine. Chickens are resistent to some diseases that ducks are not. The chickens could seem perfectly healthy, but be carrying a disease that is fatal to ducks.
     
  7. purslanegarden

    purslanegarden Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The other thing that changed is the introduction of the chickens, even if they may have interacted before in short bursts or came from the general same place over a year ago. Who knows what is happening now at the same place.
     
  8. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I definitely plan on quarantining from now on! In general the ducks have always been my hardest rescues with the highest rate of losses. Fortunately I've never had to medicate the ducks prior to now as supportive care and nutrition has always helped them, and the ones that we lost were very far gone by the time I got them. I shudder to think was is happening there now (I can't see much but I do try). I've had a few that looked decent but the last one has a mangled foot, was so infested with lice and mites I couldn't touch her without getting them on me, and she was bald and so thin and malnourished she could hardly walk. She's up and about more now but she still doesn't have the strength to even jump/fly more than two inches off the ground. We named her Hope and she has a permanent home with me now.

    Thanks for your responses. I am torn between it being a virus/disease or from the random things that work themselves up out of the ground here. I'd hope they would know what is edible but you never know. Rain always brings things to the surface and we did have a several days of heavy rain prior to all of this. Who knows, I just hope it's behind us now!
     

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