Mystery of 2 drakes missing tail feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by duckitup, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2015
    [​IMG]This is "Drake" ( I know, how original)

    [​IMG]This is Mr. Fiona (named before we knew he was a boy)

    [​IMG]"Drake again

    I posted a week or so ago in a general duck forum since I didn't really think this was an emergency but didn't get much of a response so I'm posting it here too.

    I have 9 ducks. Only ducks. No chickens. 7 are female and 2 are male. I am relatively new to ducks (just under a yr). I have never seen an obvious molt on any of them. I do see feathers on the ground sometimes but no bald spots on any ducks like some of the molting pictures I've seen on this site.

    I noticed that my boys (both of them) lost all of their long tail feathers about a month ago (it could have been a bit longer than that, wish I had written down the date when I first noticed). They still have all of the fluff underneath, no bald spots, just missing the long tail feathers. They just have cute little round butts where the feathers used to be. One of them still has his curly drake feather, the other doesn't. Also the tips of their wings are looking ragged too. I'm sorry I don't know the names of the feathers but they are the ones that, when a duck is standing normally with wings folded, are right at the middle lower part of back. I'm guessing that these are the "wing tips"?

    They are fed duck grower pellets, plus free range what ever they can daily, I give them night time snacks of kitchen scraps almost daily consisting of greens, peas, squash, corn, herbs, broccoli, cucumbers, watermelon etc.

    They stay up by the house in their duck house and large duck run area with pools for the winter. In the summer we plan to release them on to the pond out back where they lived all last summer, with access to their duck house etc. They aren't cramped by any means in either situation. Everyone seems to get a long great. I haven't witnessed any picking on any of them. (besides the harsh looking mating... eh hem.....) I watch them a lot so I think I would know. During this winter they have been enclosed at night for predators and they have a 15X8 "dog kennel" attached to their 8X10 house and can move freely in and out all night. In the morning they are let out into their fenced yard which is probably 60X80ish.

    I want to release them on to the pond soon. Our weather is supposed to be so nice this weekend I'd like to do it then but I don't want to release them with out knowing what is going on with the boys. (They are skittish Runner Ducks and don't let me get too near easily) All the girls are fine, have tails :) and are laying eggs. After they are released onto the pond I won't have actual contact with them until the pond freezes over in the winter. Unless of course it is absolutely needed and their well being is compromised to a point where my catching them causing stress would benefit them more than hurt them.

    So I guess my question is.....Is this a possible really slow molt? (I haven't seen a molt as of yet for any of them, only feathers on the ground). And if it is, is it safe to release them to the pond while they are molting like that? Or maybe there is something else going on? Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry so long. I tend to be long winded. Just want all the facts out there! And sorry the pics are kind of fuzzy. My phone is not the best and they don't like to hold still for pictures! Thanks!

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