New Pekin Ducklings! One is a little too quiet? -EDIT: SICK DUCKLING

whiteybird

Songster
7 Years
Feb 16, 2013
136
5
114
Sarasota, FL
Hi All,

The bf and I just purchased three pekin ducklings from tractor supply about a week ago...i think they're about two weeks old now, or a little less. They are ADORABLE. duh.

This is our second try. We bought some from a friend of his mother's last year, but one got sick and died, another got killed by a hawk, and another got dragged away by a raccoon, all within four months. needless to say, this go around we're building them a fortress. i feel bad keeping them caged, but clearly its for their own good.

Anyway, this morning i took them out of their box to hold them, and after a short while i realized one was far quieter than the other two. it's also a little smaller, but i don't know if that's due to an age difference or if it hasn't been eating as much and thus not growing as fast? It's peeping fine but not as often as its two friends; doesn't really move around much but when it does it has no issues; sits quietly 90% of the time; will drink water fine; and has nibbled at some chick crumbles but hasn't really been interested in food. The other two haven't been eating much this morning either, but they clearly have more energy.

At one point the two healthy ducklings were panting from being too hot, and the one in question just sat there quietly. I placed it in one hand and did the same with one of the others and this one seems to not be as hot. It's beak is also cool to the touch whereas the others' beaks are warmer.

Right now they live in an empty 5gal storage tote with an incandescent light bulb on one side, newspaper that i change once a day (we tried pine but without a pan for the waterer it was a swamp), and a waterer and feeder. I clean the water twice daily and clean the food dish once daily. It's a good 88 deg under the bulb and its 80 right now.

Wondering if this duckling is sickly or if he's just tired from acting up when I wasn't there. I could be completely overthinking this.

Do ducks close their eyes or sleep when they're in discomfort or pain like chickens do?

Thanks for any advice you have!
 
Last edited:

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,207
2,648
531
Southern New England
While I would keep the water and food available for at least 8 weeks, I agree with the rest of what is in the first post here

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

Do they have a way to clear their nares (nostrils)? You might try letting them frolic in some 80 degree water up to their bellies for a little bit. See if they snoot the water through their nares to clean them out. Stopped up nares can cause problems, including infection, and their little ears and eyes can get infected, too, if they cannot rinse them frequently.

I would also give the little some poultry multi-vitamins with probiotics once a week. It would be fine, I think, to put it in their shared water. You may also want to give it Sav-a-chick.

Some TLC, and keep watching closely to see if the sickly little is pushed away from the food or otherwise jostled around.

There is a possibility it could have some kind of infection. A vet would be able to help you be sure. Please keep us posted.
 

whiteybird

Songster
7 Years
Feb 16, 2013
136
5
114
Sarasota, FL
Thanks for the reply. I had to give them a bath later this afternoon while I cleaned their box. I've seen all three of them clear their nares, not so obviously in this bath time but they did swim around, dunk their heads, splash water over their backs, nibble at the water so to speak...basic cleaning actions. The little one did get about as active as the others in the water - it didn't just stand there - so I think I may be overreacting.

After their bath I did notice that the bigger ducklings are a little more aggressive at eating than the little one is, which when combined with it's more reserved nature might keep it from eating as much. Definitely no aggressive actions toward the little duck though.

I do have a bottle of powdered vitamins and electrolyte by durvet that I haven't used yet...would that suffice for an extra boost you think?
 

sljack2006

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 10, 2014
118
6
96
Ohio
I lost 2 chicks in the last week that we got from TSC. A third was showing signs of not feeling well, like the others had done...laying around, tired.. I read on here to give them a drop pf Nutri-Drench in their mouth and then supplement their water with sav-a-chick. I did that this morning and this afternoon my sick peep is doing well! Definitely worth a try! Good luck
 

whiteybird

Songster
7 Years
Feb 16, 2013
136
5
114
Sarasota, FL
She definitely has a respiratory issue. I didn't think to check earlier...but I held it up to my ear and heard what I would describe as a bubbly sound...sometimes only one quick snap on breathing in and again on breathing out, but once or twice I heard a little noise during intake. I compared with one of the other ducks - no noise at all.

Thanks for the info btw, I wondered if the birds from tsc or the like would have more issues than birds from other places.

So...how do I take care of a sick duckling!? Her poop is thin and half water half white stuff, which to me means she's not eating enough. I put vitamin/electrolyte powder in their water and had her separated for all of ten mins til I decided separation anxiety could be just as detrimental.

p.s. we gave them a few crushed dried mealworms twice, once yesterday and once a few days before that...I know that's probably not the best idea, but is it really terrible? And when should I introduce grit, now or not for a while?
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,207
2,648
531
Southern New England
I would go ahead and put a teaspoon on their food once a day - small grit, that is.

The vitamins sound good. If she has an infection, she will need antibiotics - I am not an expert on type and dosage. That is where a vet would help. There are bits and pieces of information around, though, on that topic.

And for what it's worth, some use Apple Cider Vinegar as a tonic (perhaps a teaspoon in a quart of drinking water), or a little drop of oil of oregano in a cup of moistened feed, there are a number of alternative ideas. I cannot speak to their effectiveness or safety.
 
Last edited:

whiteybird

Songster
7 Years
Feb 16, 2013
136
5
114
Sarasota, FL
Would the ACV react at all with the vitamin powder? Who knows how to find that out. Of the two, which would be more beneficial?

I have some sulmet but I'm not sure if that's good for ducks...and I am aware of the potential damage it can cause.

She's not eating much of anything so I'm worried she won't make it much longer without food...is it even possible to tube feed a duckling? I've done it with a chicken with life-saving results but I can't seem to find the crop on any of these ducklings...
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,207
2,648
531
Southern New England
I would alternate - not try to do both.

Poultry Nutri Drench has some calories in it and a few vitamins.

I think there is a tube feeding link somewhere . . . wish I had a more photographic memory.

See if any of this helps
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/805728/go-team-tube-feeding

I would be trying to get her to ingest things on her own.

Respiratory problems can be fungal, viral, or bacterial. Just had to say that.

If it's bacterial, this thread may offer some ideas.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/420511/best-antibiotic-for-respiratory-issues

Different medication would be needed, of course, for viral or fungal infections. Often, with viruses, just boosting their immune system, keeping them warm enough, etc. helps get them through it. I think you know all this.

Just thinking out loud.
 
Last edited:

whiteybird

Songster
7 Years
Feb 16, 2013
136
5
114
Sarasota, FL
Thanks Amiga.

Sometimes I find this site VERY hard to navigate. I'm great with finding anything with Google but this is another story. Sorry, not volunteering to help work on it though!
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,207
2,648
531
Southern New England
Thanks Amiga.

Sometimes I find this site VERY hard to navigate. I'm great with finding anything with Google but this is another story. Sorry, not volunteering to help work on it though!
No, you need to spend your time with your littles!

Some days I have the mojo, some days not so much.
 
Top Bottom