My duckling stopped walking

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Trent Hardy, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy Out Of The Brooder

    81
    3
    33
    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca
    Hi all,

    I'm REALLY new to duck ownership and need some advice. This spring we were given 2 Muscovy hens and a drake to start our own flock. Last week our hen hatched out four perfectly healthy looking ducklings. One of them was a little smaller and lighter in color, but otherwise seemed fine.

    As of last night the little guy was walking around with the rest, as happy as could be, but this morning I stopped by our pen and noticed that while momma and the other three are out bouncing around as usual, the little guy was in the nest struggling to get up. I picked him up and took a look, and his legs were kinda funny. One he had tucked up next to his body, but the other was hanging kind of limp. I placed him on the ground to see if he would move after being handled by me (momma was not happy by the way), but no go. I then put him in the little pool of water we have for them to see if he'd swim. I noted that his legs were not kicking at all, but he did seem to have lots of energy, as he swam away from me using his wings.

    Initially I was thinking that maybe he had been stepped on by mom overnight, but I've also read that it might be niacin deficiency. We have these ducklings outside in a pen. They have lots of access to forage and we also feed them grain that the local Co-op has labeled as "Duckling food" (don't ask me exactly what it is though because I don't know :).

    I'm just wondering if anyone out there has run into this, and if so, any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated. I plan on getting some niacin supplements for his water this afternoon and then maybe isolating him from the rest of the flock as the other hen kind of picks on the ducklings when she gets the chance. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Trent
     
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    7,561
    373
    311
    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Welcome and congrats on the clutch. Hmm i have not seen this, i run a pretty decent sized Muscovy flock too. It's a shame there is no info on the feed.

    Usually if a feed is marked for ducks it contains enough for them. That said now & then one just isn't able to get by and does need a supplement.

    I will include this sticky link because it contains info on niacin...

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings#post_10611711

    was it fine at first? i am wondering if there has been an injury?? are they free ranged? normally babies get what they need because mamas show them...

    any pictures? it would help to be able to see. Are the legs themselves deformed?

    sorry many questions, i do hope a resolution can be found, generally speaking scovies are very hardy little buggers lol

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy Out Of The Brooder

    81
    3
    33
    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca
    Hi thanks for the reply,

    It was doing fine at first. As I said, it seemed to be the runt of the litter, but got around quite well. The legs didn't ever seem to be malformed. I took a look at them this morning, and nothing looked out of place - he just wasn't moving them. Maybe this is a back injury? I found him inside his nesting box, so maybe mom stepped on him or something? He seems to be otherwise fine though. Alert, and if you approach he starts flapping his wings to try and get away - just can't move his legs.

    They are free ranging in an ~30' x 30' pen along with mom, two other adults and three other ducklings. We have seen them picking around the pen, so I assume they are all getting at least some wild forage, but they are also eating a lot of the feed we put down for them. The local co-op has been around a long time and we've always heard good things about it, so I think the feed is probably fine.
     
  4. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy Out Of The Brooder

    81
    3
    33
    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca
    Hi all,
    So this is just an update on this thread. I'm going to try and make a bit of a record as things occur for anyone else who may encounter this problem in the future.

    Yesterday after getting feed-back, and doing a bit of research on my own, we did a few things to see if we could help this duckling recover:

    Action taken

    1) I called the local farmers Co-op to get a little more info on their feed - I had read that Anti-Cocci drugs which may be present in chicken feed may cause ducklings to go off their legs. The person I spoke to there took a bit of time to read the label, but didn't see anything indicating it was medicated. He also said that they'd been selling this particular feed for a long time and he'd never heard of this happening before. This co-op has a good name in our area, so I'm willing to take them at their word.

    2) We purchased some naicin capsules from our pharmacy (cost ~$10 for WAY more than we need). I mixed this in some water and sprinkled it over a bunch of food mash we'd prepared for the duckling. I actually added a lot more than was recommended in other posts I'd seen, but I'm figuring that if the bird is niacin deficient, get it in him fast.

    3) We isolated him from the rest of the flock. Basically we have a rabbit pen in our basement that we use for our rabbit in the winter, so it makes a pretty good little pen for this duckling. I figured that doing this would give me better control of the bird's environment, and would keep any of the other birds from messing with him. Overnight for heat, we got a couple of those use once hand warmer pads and wrapped them in a towel - they last for ~10 hours as opposed to a water bottle. Because he isn't able to get around, we placed the bowls of niacin dosed food and water right in front of him.

    Results so far:

    So this morning I went down to check on the duckling. For anyone keeping track, this is roughly 24 hours since we first noticed the problem. Results are somewhat positive.

    1) he ate a fair bit of the food and (I think) drank some of the water, so I know he's gotten at least some of the niacin into his system.

    2) I picked him up and placed him in a small pool of water. While picking him up, it seemed as if I could feel him trying to use his legs to get away from me, but the strength just wasn't there. While he was in the pool, he mostly just floated, but it did look as though a couple of times he might of kinda pushed a little with one of his legs. Also, both legs were hanging down and out (as opposed to yesterday when one was tightly tucked up to the body). Maybe starting to get some function back?

    3) I think it's also worth noting that he still seems to have a good bit of energy. Still very alert, and tries to get away from me whenever I pick him up.

    I will provide a further update tomorrow. Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    23,144
    2,281
    521
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Sounds like you are on the right track. I would get an unbreakable mirror to keep him company.
     
  6. Gatsbysmum

    Gatsbysmum Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    9
    58
    Jul 27, 2014
    Same thing happened to my fully feathered indian runner duckling. Niacin in his water, warms baths, lots of rest, and massaging his legs has allowed him to regain some functionality. Yours seems to progressing much faster though. [​IMG]
     
  7. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy Out Of The Brooder

    81
    3
    33
    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca
    That's a good idea - thanks. I was actually planning on returning him to the main pen over the weekend. Give him a chance to hang out with other ducks. I'll definitely get a mirror for the rest of the time though.
     
  8. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy Out Of The Brooder

    81
    3
    33
    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca
    Ok,
    So just a quick update on day #2. This is basically 48 hours since we first noticed this problem with the duckling. We haven't taken any different actions, just keeping his food and water fresh, and trying to get him in water for a little swim. He still can't walk, but when in the water his legs do seem to be kicking a little more. So, again, we're taking this as a positive. We'll be spending the weekend around the house, so I plan to return him to the main pen in the day time. Figure it'll be good to spend some time with other ducks. We can monitor him pretty closely and make sure he's not getting to warm etc.
     
  9. Trent Hardy

    Trent Hardy Out Of The Brooder

    81
    3
    33
    Jul 30, 2014
    Newfoundland, Ca
    Hi all,
    Just an update for anyone who may run into this problem. Well, we had some bad luck. The little duckling that went off his legs seemed to be really doing fine. We were seeing a steady improvement in leg strength, he was eating well, and seemed very alert. But then I went in to check on him the other day (about 5 days after it started), and he had died. Not sure what happened - any readers have any ideas?
     
  10. subhanalah

    subhanalah Overrun With Chickens

    Did you add niacin to their diet?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by