One duckling not growing


9 Years
May 7, 2010
Our Mallard ducklings are 4 weeks old. For the first 2 weeks they all matured at an equal rate. About 2 weeks ago one of them stopped growing at the same rate as the others. He seems completely healthy, but he is half the size of the rest of the flock. They are also maturing more quickly. Their tail feathers have come in and they are also starting to get feathers on their wings. The little guy is still just soft and downy.

The strange thing is that he seems healthy. He's eating normally (I watch for this) and keeps up with the rest of the flock just fine. He is also growing a little, but not nearly as fast as the rest.

What do you think?
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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Opelousas, Louisiana
I am experiencing the same problem with one of my muscovy ducklings. This particular duckling had the F.O.S. (flip over syndrome) at birth and I nursed it back to where it was walking without flipping over. I noticed just on yesterday that the other ducklings are growing at an alarmed rate but this one is half the size of the others. It is perfectly healthy (eats, drinks and loves to swim in the pool) and gets along just fine but it's just smaller. I guess it's something in it's genetics. Maybe an expert will come along and offer some advice because I surely don't know.


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 1, 2010
Los Angeles
i have 7 muscovy ducks. the 3 older ones (that i got from onthespot) matured nicely and quickly. they're three months now. the 4 younger ones are 2 months and they look like what the 3 older ones did at one month.. one of them barely even has feathers. they eat normally (a LOT) but they are the slowest growing things ever. i was wondering if they were a subspecies of the muscovy. when i was in egypt, they referred to the smaller muscovies as "morgan ducks" and the bigger muscovies as "muscovies" as if they were completely separate species. i'll post pics when i get a chance.


9 Years
Mar 17, 2010
I had the same problem with my Cayugas, Titch my hen was just not growing. She was the same size as she was when she was a duckling and the others had visually grown. Also the others got feathers faster than her too. Though it was funny that my biggest duck when they were younger now turned out to be the second smallest now that they are bigger. i think some ducks just mature faster than others. The bigger number of ducks you have the bigger the ration will be.


In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 24, 2013
Ah. My boy Onni had this. However, I'm happy to say the duckling will live providing you care for it properly! I separated Onni from his siblings and fed him on chick crumb and some oatcake biscuits he loves. Each day I weighed him with accurate scales and he gained weight rapidly over 2 weeks, then I put him with my other ducks, Moxy and Venus. He was still behind, but the special feeding and weighing and care I gave him helped him get back on track. He's now the biggest of the bunch and thriving. He still has some side effects such as he has a limp which is getting better due to the fact he swims each day. There really is nothing to worry about, it happens to plenty of people!


In the Brooder
6 Years
Nov 3, 2013
Brisbane, Australia
I have two KC ducklings. One has grown quite a bit in the last few days, the other not so much and is tiny. Despite her size she seems very spritey and healthy. I'm glad to hear this is normal and look forward to seeing a growth spurt somewhere down the line :)


In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 8, 2014
This is my second year raising ducklings, and both times I have experienced growth issues with them. Last year I had cayugas and runners; my runners developed shakey legs, which I "cured" by feeding brewers yeast. This year I have khakis and pekins, and one of the pekins is in trouble: it isn't growing, has low energy, has trouble standing/walking, and its toes are beginning to curve inward (like it's becoming pigeon-toed). The other pekin duckling has grown at least for times larger than the one who's having trouble, and they are the same age. The khakis are all developing fine. So, what can I do to help the one pekin who's struggling? I'm feeding Flockraiser (20% protein), chick grit, and I add Avian Super Pack supplement to their water (which has a niacin supplement in it, along with other electrolytes). I can't figure out why the one pekin is struggling to develop, while the others are growing like crazy. Please help...


7 Years
Nov 16, 2015
i have a similar problem with some wild ducks that I feed each day.

There is a little duckling which was either abandoned by its mother or the mother was hit by a car on the road. In the last week I have realised that it has not been growing much. I know its not growing anywhere near as fast as the others, as there were 6 ducklings (and their mum) that Ive fed regularly every day for a while, and they went from yellow and brown fluffy things, to looking pretty much like adult ducks in 4 weeks. This one must be close to that age now and it still has the fluffy baby duckling feathers and looks like its only a week or so old.
Like others have said it seems healthy and has an appetite. I thought maybe it was not getting enough nourishment and this was delaying its growth? It comes and joins in with the larger ducks at feeding time, but they will chase it away. i try and 'sneak' it some food, throw it to it out of sight of the larger ducks but it can be difficult to do that. Being a wild duckling, catching it, and feeding it more is out of the question as its very easily scared and wont come very close to me.
I have managed to 'sneak' it some food in the last couple if days and its getting more used to me, and seems to have figured out that if I quietly crouch down with my hand out, it should come towards me. And just now I managed to get it to come close enough to me, around the side of my van that I could throw it some cat food without the other ducks seeing and taking it instead.

Does anyone know if this could be the reason its so small, not enough food? Maybe its natures way of dealing with a lack of nutrition, keeping the size small so its needs are less?

It migt also explain the extremely rapid growth of my 6 ducklings (who come to the door and 'talk' to me if I havent feed them when they feel I should have). They are all now doing a lot of wing flapping, so Im hoing to see them fly soon!


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