Neighbor's ducks are dying! Looking for help

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Arkonbey, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Arkonbey

    Arkonbey New Egg

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    Here's what showed up on my town forum email today, and I have looked through the threads here but not had much luck. Sharing for my neighbor's sake, (I don't think he's joined up yet) and I'll send him the link to this thread.


    "My family decided to expand our poultry raising from chickens to ducks, geese and turkeys this spring. The geese are great, but the ducks, not so much. They seemed very healthy for several weeks, but now at about 5 or 6 weeks of age, they are dying.

    One after another, they go from looking healthy, to separating themselves from the group and being listless and then dead the next day. We have lost 3 in the past 3 days and another is looking sick. Other than being listless and not associating with the others, the only symptom I see (based on the currently sick duck) is a rapid respiratory rate (faster than the other ducks).

    The ducks are housed with the geese next to our chicken coop at night. There is ventilation between the 2 but no direct contact. They were kept in our home over nights until earlier this week when we moved them outside to their outdoor coop.

    The first one that died started looking sick just as we were moving them to the outdoor coop at night (so I don't think the issue is the coop), although we had the ducks outside in a fenced area during the daytimes for several days prior. When I look at the dead ducks afterwards, there is nothing remarkable. No cloudy eyes, discoloration or anything obvious, but I am a perinatologist not a vet, so I can't say I know what I am looking for!

    ACTUALLY, now my family says they started getting sick immediately after they started over-nighting in the coop next too the chicken coop, so I can't rule out the coop and proximity to the chickens as part of the problem. The geese are in the same space though, and they still look great.
    If anyone has any experience with ducks, please let me know!
    Thanks."

    and thanks from me, too! I did send this neighbor a few links to other threads here that might line up, but any suggestions are welcome.

    I also mentioned checking feed & water for spoilage, trying to isolate the ducklings, and maybe bringing them back inside at night (it's been rather cool here last few nights.)
     
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like you gave them some good advice so far. Checking feed and water sources is good. Also check the bedding in the coop and insure that there is adequate ventilation.

    I flipped through my Storey's Guide and possible diseases could be: Duck Plague (aka Duck Virus Enteritis), Duck Virus Hepatitis (DVH), Erysipelas, Fowl Cholera but these are relatively uncommon and most require a lab diagnosis. Things listed under Sudden Death include: heart attack, choking, hemorrhaging, blood clots, suffocation, exposure to toxic gases, consumption of toxic substances, heat stroke, seizure,

    How cold is it getting? They should be okay with temps unless you are still getting winter time temps there.

    Nice of you to try to help.
     
  3. davidcjones

    davidcjones New Egg

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    Jul 28, 2013
    Hi!

    I am that neighbor with the dying ducks. I just learned of this forum thanks to my in-town neighbor. Thanks for the heads up.

    It isn't getting very cold, and we have head lamps in the outdoor coop at night. We change the water daily (sometimes more often), and the food smells normal and has been enjoyed by the geese without trouble. The symptoms are lethargy, tachypnea (fast breathing) and then death. They die within 24 hours or less of appearing sick. We are down to our last Khaki Campbell and White crested...

    Very strange to me since our chickens, turkeys and geese are doing so well.

    Thanks for any thoughts.
    David
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    So sad. Are there mosquitoes or black flies? These are ducklings, yes, not in full feather? Really seems like a vector-borne disease. I would bring them for necropsy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
  5. davidcjones

    davidcjones New Egg

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    Jul 28, 2013
    Yes, they are maybe 6 weeks old now. We surely have mosquitoes that get in the coop, but I don't see many black flies. This morning I told my wife that my plan is to take the next dead one, put it in the refrigerator (in a bag, of course) and then see if a local vet can do an autopsy.

    Thanks for your post.
     
  6. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also try contacting your local county extension office, some things they would want to know about (some diseases are very contagious and are required to be reported) also if you have a vet school in your state, they may also necropsy for free. They'll also let you know how to send the bird. Don't freeze it, but it in the fridge. I'd make sure to find out what it is as some things stay in the soil and may prevent you from having ducks for a while.

    So sorry you are experiencing this.
     

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