My ducks arnt quite... "waterproof"

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Tlammy, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Tlammy

    Tlammy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They arnt waterproof at all... :( when they get into the duck pool.. they get soaked... Whats going on..? (new duck owner here)
     
  2. DUCKGIRL89

    DUCKGIRL89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Their molting. When they take baths during a molt they get soaked. My Rouen drake is in the middle of a molt...
     
  3. Tlammy

    Tlammy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2011
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  4. DUCKGIRL89

    DUCKGIRL89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Then no need to worry.
    your hen is more then likely molting as well.
     
  5. duckdad

    duckdad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks are not water-proof at all.

    They spread a dry-oil around their feathers so that water is repelled and cannot penetrate their multi-layered feathers. Alot like the shingles on the roof keep water out, except the duck has an oil film to help.

    Ducklings that are not fully feathered in that have "down" are going to get soaked thru. Down does not hold the oil or layer against water getting past. Duck down is more like hair and will soak down and weight the bird down to the point that it cannot swim and stay afloat.

    Ducks loose some of the water-proofing during a "molt" where old feathers get replaced by new. This is when they get their "upgrades" in plumage and coloring. They always have some down underneath the feathers and that can hold water when they are molting. Ducklings are not strong enough swimmers to manage when they become soaked, so some do drown when they are young.
    If your adult duck thats fully feathered gets soaked easily and does not shed the water quickly then he/she might have a gland problem. The "preen-gland" is located at the base of the spine right in front of the tail. You will see the duck pick at that area to wet his beak with oil then spread it around. If that gland is plugged up you may have to clean it by spraying warm water from a shower massage or applying a warm wet rag to the area then wash. The oil can collect dander and dirt and plug up the skin where it cannot pass the oil thru to the skins surface.

    A warm bath....is basically all it takes to fix a plugged gland. You can feel the bump under the skin right before the tail.

    If you ever "pet" your ducks or hold them, you'll notice that your hands feel chalky or dry after petting or stroking their feathers...thats the oil getting on your skin. Its so thin that you do not feel any wettness. Its dry oil like "Neats-Foot" oil for water proofing leather boots and shoes. I have no idea what a "neat" is or how they get oil from their feet. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  6. Tlammy

    Tlammy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay.. ive heard of this.. water does roll off when they splash around..so it just might be molting.. ^^
     
  7. Speceider

    Speceider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not the oil that causes the feathers to be water repellent. The barbules on the feathers create a contact angle with the water surface similar to the way Gortex does. The oil helps the feathers remain pliable. When feathers become dry and brittle, the feathers loses water repellency.

    Clint
     
  8. destinduck

    destinduck obsessed with "ducks"

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    Irregardless, your ducks can drown as adults during molt if they cant get in and out easily. I unfortunately have had it happen a few times over the years from not having the pools topped off. Or you can set a block in the pool so they could stand on or get out easier. Duckdads advice is to be heeded.
     
  9. duckdad

    duckdad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the 'down' feathers or hair is like a sponge...Down soaks up water very well...as the duck becomes totally water logged it gets harder to stay afloat and it will eventually go under if the birb cannot find a place to stand or rest its legs...
    I've seen one of mine struggling to paddle and stay afloat when it was looking like a wet cat.

    When the vacuum cleaner starts filling with tiny feathers (almost like lint or dust) is when you need to watch their swim time carefully...
    I'm sure they'll be ok after a week or two.


    Now that Speceider reminds me, that is true...its the actual design of the feather that blocks out water, The Oil from the 'preen' gland helps repell water and maintain the feather. Its a 2 pt system that works very well. Besides being water resistant this feather design also helps block out cold temp with the multi-layered insulation. The duck never knows its 30 degrees outside under all that insulation.
    Ever hear of a "down-filled" vest or jacket" ? Those are great for human winter wear. Same principles apply when a human wears that coat of duck down/feathers.
    Desparate ducks that are falling behind on the mortgage will sell their "down" for use in human winter garments. Everytime you see someone wearing a down-filled vest there is some poor naked duck sitting around somewhere shivering....with a life jacket on 'till next season when his/her plumage grows back in.....
     
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