My Muscovy ducks are dying with no apparent symptoms

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by hotcurltr, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. hotcurltr

    hotcurltr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had muscovy ducks for about a year now and my hens have hatched out over 100 eggs. All have been healthy. I joined NPIP last May and had by brood stock inspected. Everything has been going fine. I've sold or butchered most of the young. I have about twenty 3 month olds, which I'm trying to sell and butcher some.
    Anyway I haven't changed anything and the day after Thanksgiving I found my breeding drake dead. He seemed fine the day before. Healthy appetite and all. There wasn't a mark on him and hubby thought he had a heart attack. We checked all the other ducks, geese and chickens and they all seemed fine. Nothing acting funny or sick. Yesterday(Sunday) when I went out to do morning chores I found one of the young 3 month old drakes dead, the same no marks. Then as I was changing the water in one of the kiddie pools, another young drake went into a spasm and died right in front of me. I called the poultry inspector to come pick them up to be tested, he said he couldn't because everyone was out until Monday because of the holiday. Hubby bagged the one up for the inspector to pick up today. This morning another young drake was dead. They are eating, playing in the kiddie pools and running around. I followed a few of them around to see if they were breathing funny, but didn't hear anything. I only have three breeding hens and they seem fine too. I do have some young 3 month hens but none of them have died. Help I don't know when I'll get the results back on the one the inspector picked up today. He said he had to take it to Little Rock and from there it is expressed to Texas A and M. I thought maybe botulism, but they are all walking fine. I cleaned everything today, but am scared to death, it might be something my geese could get. They are my pets. I do have a muddy spot they all noodle around. It's been there for a year where I dump the big kiddie pool. I was going to try to dry it up but someone told me that the ducks and geese love to noodle around in those kind of spots so I've kept it there, and they seem to love it, but maybe there is something in it that is poisoning them. Although the geese noodle around there too and sometimes the chickens will drink from it, even though they have clean water twice a day. I was hoping I could have some suggestions before the results come back on the one. I'm dreading morning chores.Since 3 out of 4 days I've had dead ducks. There is not an avian vet any where around here, so taking blood and getting a quick look isn't an option. Since I'm so new at this, does anyone have any suggestions while I'm waiting who know how long for the results. Hopefully they will be pretty fast.
     
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Well firstly, i am terribly sorry to hear this. Multiple deaths always concern me, sadly a loss happens but if more than one does short of predators something has to be happening, now here lies in the trouble, what? From what i am gathering from you they are symptomless, do you have Storey's guide to ducks? he lists ailments in it, perhaps worth a skim.

    I personally, have no suggestions, have you brought any new birds in as of late? being you were just inspected i sincerely doubt it's your care. My ducks are always in the mud and we keep other livestock which they are around too.

    Sadly, your best bet is with this testing being done, i hope it provides you with some answers.
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Forgot do update when you get some answers, please. [​IMG]
     
  4. hotcurltr

    hotcurltr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for responding. No I haven't brought any new poultry of any kind on the place. Praise God, as of this morning so far they are all still alive and acting normally. What ever this is must have the symptoms quick and then instant death. I thought maybe pear seeds could be the culprit, since I have been feeding the geese whole pears from our trees. They don't get many and I don't even know if the ducks pick up any of them since they don't have the teeth to do so. Just in case, I will core my pears from now on. The ones that fall from the tree way up high , the goats, horses or donkey usually eat them. I knew about apple seeds and always core apples, but last night I did some research and it was really maybe yes and maybe no on the pear seeds, but I won't take any more chances. I really don't think it's that anyway, but I will let you know what the test results are. I am really sick at losing my breeding drake, he was such a pet and just the best daddy. H is sorely missed.
     
  5. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am so sorry to hear this! You have done the right thing though by sending a freshly dead body in for a necropsy. That's the best way to finding out what's going on. It is unusual for ducks, especially muscovy as they are so tough, to just drop dead like that.

    My first thoughts are to do as you said you will and core all apples and pears. It takes a lot of seeds and lots of time for them to harm a bird that ingests them, but they are toxic so not worth the risk. And they usually cause blindness and other illnesses rather than sudden death first.

    If the birds are all 100%, eating and drinking and foraging as normal, then my thoughts as to the deaths would be some sort of toxin/poison, or hardware. Though it probably isn't hardware since you have multiple birds dying unless they all got into something together.

    Have you checked your pens and property for toxic plants? Leaves and berries that they might have gotten into?

    It could also be a parasite of some sort too. Do you worm your birds?
    I typically don't worm or de-lice my ducks as they don't usually need it (unlike chickens). But if they are constantly in dirty water or have access to other animal's poo, or things of that sort, then it's not a bad idea. I know there are certain types of worms and parasites they can get (though rare) that can cause sudden deaths like that. I would have to look them up as I cannot remember what they are called. But if that's the issue, it should show in the necropsy.
     
  6. hotcurltr

    hotcurltr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's been a rotten day in more ways than one. My pet goose died this morning.[​IMG] Hubby had gone out and let all the poultry put and fed the other livestock, I went out to water and let the geese go graze(even though it was sleeting). I noticed Little Britches was laying down in front of the goose house with Alex standing over, thought that unusual since she always goes out with everyone and hates to be left behind. When I got up to her she looked at me and i reached down and petted her.m I knew she was sick. I just love her, she's always been my baby and if I ever had a goose living in the house it would of been her. I had raised her because she was hurt as a baby. I used to bath her and wrap her in a towel and feed her in the rocking chair. Anyway, I got hysterical and couldn't stop crying, why her. Hubby had left to take someone to town for groceries so I put clean hay down moved[​IMG] her in more and layed down with my arm around her and my coat to keep her warm, all the time just bawling. Alex was very agitated and tried to get her up. I pushed him away and he attacked me and drew blood. I just stayed there and kept bawling. He seemed perplexed and moved away and just watched. The gaggle of geese came running by talking. She lifted her weak little head , put it down and was gone. [​IMG] Some of you might think I'm crazy for loving her so much, but I couldn't help it. I had so many errands today and was just a zombie. I called the Ag dept, because I hadn't gotten any news back on the duck and I know they have to test them right away. They didn't have any news back, so she assumed it wasn't an infectious disease as they would have already been out here to cull everything. The vet was on a call but. she said she'd try and get a hold of him and have him call me back. He did in fact, call me a few hours later. He said the lab couldn't really find anything out of the usual. No parasites and nothing that seemed like and infectious disease.
    They are going to take more tissue samples and have different labs check them out too. He said it sounds like a toxin of some sort. I was thinking botulism, because of the mud hole but he didn't think that unless there was a dead animal somewhere and we had some water runoff. But he did agree to dry up that spot and see if anything changes. If anything else dies between Monday and Thursday, he said they'd pick them up and see if anything could be found different, I didn't ask him about pulling blood. Since Little Britches is the only one I found dying, I should have pulled some blood, but with her my head wasn't on straight. All I could feel is grief. Anyway, that's all the update I have.
    Little Britches you;ll always be in my heart and memories.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry for all your losses. I know how much losing a beloved pet hurts.
    Please let us know what you find out. [​IMG]
     
  8. laughingdog

    laughingdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry for your loss..
     
  9. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    so sorry [​IMG] most of us on here know what its like and agree when you say "it's not just a goose". I am pretty sure we all have that one (or many) bird in our life too [​IMG]

    I was just reading some posts on facebook and they mentioned Duck Viral Enteritis. I am not sure what it is (I now need to do some research) but I guess it can wipe out flocks of muscovies very quickly. A woman was talking about how the pond she visits that had over 200 wild muscovy living around it. The virus came in from a domestic duck that was dumped there and wiped out the ducks. In a matter of 3 months, they were down to 7 wild muscovy at the pond.
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I'm so sorry we are all heartbroken for you. [​IMG]
     

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