Muscovy - "FDS" - Floppy Duckling Syndrome

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by flyingtnh, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. flyingtnh

    flyingtnh Chirping

    Sep 1, 2011
    New Hampshire
    We've had Muscovy ducks for about 3 years now, and probably a couple hundred ducklings hatched. In fact, one of our hens got a bit off-cycle this year and hatched a clutch a couple weeks ago with snow on the ground.

    Every year, we'll have a few ducklings get what we call "Floppy Duckling Syndrome" at a couple weeks of age (we have one now). They'll lose control of their head, feet, and wings. They get limp and twitchy and can't stand or eat. We normally quarantine them, keep them warm, and offer food and water (though they can't eat or drink). Usually they die, though we have had one who had this at the one month timeframe survive.

    No luck finding much information on what it might be. Since it's a recurring theme, we're wondering if there's any ideas out there about what we might do to prevent it. Perhaps a vitamin/mineral deficiency or a parasite? At the age it happens, they're normally pretty isolated, and I don't think it's likely they're getting into something they shouldn't.

    Any ideas?

  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    I've never seen this before but I wonder if you contacted Metzers they maybe able to help. Or Holdrreads they both have websites. Sorry I can't be of more help. At that age though is when we can begin to see Vitamin B3 dif. so adding a good B complex vitamins to the ducklings water at an early age may help
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  3. learycow

    learycow Crowing

    Apr 1, 2011
    Southern Maine
    It sounds like some sort of vitamin deficiency. Depending on your feed situation, is it possible for one or two to maybe not get as much feed as the others? Maybe the other are bullies, there isn't enough space around the feeder for them to all eat at once, feed isn't available 24/7, etc?

    How many per clutch would you say get this?

    I ask because I too have had muscovy for YEARS, and hatch out 100-200 per year. I only see this once in a while, but did have it happen to my last clutch this year (they are now 9 weeks old). Around 4 weeks old (only 7 ducklings, in a coop with their mother, chick feeder full 24/7) I had 4 of the 7 develop the same symptoms. They lost control of their heads, flopped their wings all over, and were extremely off balance. After some close observation, I realized that there were 3 bully ducklings (these 3 were also noticably bigger than the other 4) that were in fact chasing the others away from the feeder. So the only feed they were getting was the scratch I have available for the mother duck. In short, they were not getting the necessary nutrients for proper growth.

    I put in a second feeder, much larger than the other, and noticed a difference after 2 days. They are now caught up in size and 100% :)
    1 person likes this.

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