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New to ducks and chicks, having some issues

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by familyties, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    We started off with 3 welsh harlequins (3 months old) and 8 chicks (4 weeks old, 2, Rhode Island reds, 2 buff orpingtons, 2 Easter Evers and 2 black sexlinks). Our pastured poultry project isn't working out quite like we had hoped. Saturday we added a section of the electric netting where some fresh sprouts were growing and got the ducks a bigger pool (a six foot galvanized trough). We put the chicks in the coop with a heat lamp and gave the ducks a nest box and shelter near the pool. They were having a blast in the big pool, swimming and splashing like crazy. It was so fun to see! After a couple hours we noticed the drake wasn't getting out of the pool, he was swimming in circles and rubbing his neck on the side of the trough. We went to check on him and scarlet noticed his back looked very red. I pulled him out of the water and his whole bottom half of his back was bare and bleeding. He didn't resist me holding him and was shaking like he was freezing. We took him into the craft room were we had been brooding the chicks and set him up with a heat lamp and fresh bedding. Once he warmed up he could stand again and he started eating the next day. We kept him in his hospital unit to recover and the hens were in the paddock outside happily swimming and nesting. We think the hens pecked his feathers out in the pool but don't know why. He is getting better though and is playing again and re-growing feathers although he still can't swim well. Monday we left for the day in the early am with everybody in their place and returned home that afternoon to find both hens had been killed! Something came into the electric fence and took their heads right off without eating them. We couldn't think what would do that. Well that night I got up several times to look out at the chicks (locked safely in their coop inside the electric netting) and at one point saw the outline of a huge great horned owl. He was sitting outside the coop watching the chicks. We scared him away with a flashlight but I think we have our answer as to what killed the ducks. And now we know we need a fully enclosed run so we can't let the drake out yet. The poor lone duck! He will be sad on his own unless he considers the chicks part of his flock. We are getting two Pekin ducklings Monday to keep him company while we wait for more Welsh Harlequins next season. We have a large coop and run being made and delivered in the next couple of weeks. He looks so lonely, poor guy! Anything to do for him in the meanwhile? How do we raise the new ducklings so they can be acquainted safely?
     
  2. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    Oct 21, 2015
    NWA
    Sorry to hear about your trouble, but glad you have found the culprit and know what you need to do for protection. Is there a way to set up a secure cage or kennel that you can put the drake so he can see the others. If they can have the ability to see and chat with each other through the wire it will give you a greater chance of getting them acclimated with each other before letting them all run together. Is there a way to get him his own small pool to play in. I picked up a large round plastic feeding trough about 4 inches deep for when I have to isolate the ducks and still give them pool time. It always seems to cheer them up and helps in healing.
     
  3. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    Thanks for your response! This is a big learning curve! I do have a small tub he could use but am a little worried about him swimming with his wounds still tender. Would that slow the healing? He did get back in the big pool but couldn't get out on his own so maybe his oil glands aren't fully functioning yet after the injury? We have been letting him into the paddock during bright daylight hours when we are home. He sees the chicks through the wires of their coop. I guess we will do something similar with the new ducklings once the big coop comes and the chicks move in there. The ducks will be in the big run with the ducklings inside of this little coop with a heating pad.
     
  4. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    Oct 21, 2015
    NWA
    Maybe just fill the mini-pool with a few inches of warm water just enough to get his ankles wet that he can splash and dabble in. Throw in some frozen peas. It will give him something to do that is natural for ducks. Wish I could give advise on the wound. Without seeing it I don't know what to offer.
     
  5. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    Warm water and frozen peas sound great!

    Here are some pictures. It was a little hard holding him in one hand and the phone in the other so I can try again when my husband gets home if that's better. The part right above his tail is still scabbed, above that are new feathers growing.

    [​IMG]

    Getting to know the chicks:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    [​IMG]
     
  7. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    Oct 21, 2015
    NWA
    Poor little guy [​IMG]. It is hard to tell in the pictures but their doesn't appear to have any raw exposed wounds (i.e. no redness that I can see). So I think a very shallow pool with some pea treats (maybe some dried mealworms if you have any) would perk him up. A happy duck that is not depressed will speed healing. Giving him something to do and a few treats and able to visit (even if through the wire) will keep him happy.

    Here's hoping for a speedy recovery [​IMG] .
     
  9. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    He loved the peas! I put some chicken wire over the windows of our daughters playhouse to give him an enclosed space outside and put him in the tub there. We added a body with shavings for him to sleep in too. He doesn't have any raw open wounds, but there is a big scab. Thanks for the help! Monday we will get the little ducklings.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    Oct 21, 2015
    NWA
    He is so handsome and looks very happy in his pool. I have noticed with my ducks that they are very hardy and heal pretty quickly. With a little TLC he will be right as rain in no time. [​IMG] .
     

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