Pekin ducklings sudden death

Luna_

Hatching
Nov 2, 2021
3
3
9
Hi,
We recently had two 4-week old pekin ducklings die within two days of each other. We had them on our property for around 3-weeks, they were fine until they died.
We though the first one died due to bad luck, however the second death leads us to think it was a disease or something environmental.

We have two more ducklings which had contact, about 48hrs, with the pekins and so are trying to find the possible cause/s of death in case it is treatable/preventable or infectious. Just so we know what to expect.

The two ducklings that passed away were happy and moving 1-2 hours before they died and then they couldn't stand and died minutes after that. They both died with their legs and head stretched out. We keep them inside under a heat lamp at night but put them in a cage outside during the day. They have constant access to water and duck/chicken starter mix.

if this is an infectious disease how likely is it that our surviving ducklings will pass away?
what disease could it be?
how do we keep our other ducklings alive?

Please help, anything is appreciated.
Also we live in Melbourne, Australia
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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That's horrible! :( I don't know what could have happened...
@Wyorp Rock @Eggcessive @Tonyroo
They both died with their legs and head stretched out. We keep them inside under a heat lamp at night but put them in a cage outside during the day.
So sad about your ducklings:(

I don't know much about ducks, so hopefully @shawluvsbirds @Isaac 0 or @Miss Lydia can chime in.

A little more info may be helpful.
You mention heat lamp at night - how warm is the cage? Did the ducklings have room to move from the heat?

Legs and head stretched out - any moldy feed, could they have eaten anything toxic or rotten (fertilizer, weed killer, dead animal, maggots, etc.)?

Photos of cage/brooder, housing/environment may be helpful for the others when they come online.
 

shawluvsbirds

🦆Lord luv a Duck!
Apr 17, 2017
26,249
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Missouri
Hi,
We recently had two 4-week old pekin ducklings die within two days of each other. We had them on our property for around 3-weeks, they were fine until they died.
We though the first one died due to bad luck, however the second death leads us to think it was a disease or something environmental.

We have two more ducklings which had contact, about 48hrs, with the pekins and so are trying to find the possible cause/s of death in case it is treatable/preventable or infectious. Just so we know what to expect.

The two ducklings that passed away were happy and moving 1-2 hours before they died and then they couldn't stand and died minutes after that. They both died with their legs and head stretched out. We keep them inside under a heat lamp at night but put them in a cage outside during the day. They have constant access to water and duck/chicken starter mix.

if this is an infectious disease how likely is it that our surviving ducklings will pass away?
what disease could it be?
how do we keep our other ducklings alive?

Please help, anything is appreciated.
Also we live in Melbourne, Australia
What are the temps like where you are and how warm were you keeping them at night?
Also what do you mean by duck/chicken starter mix?
Is that just what you're calling it or have you been mixing something in the chicken starter? Do you know if they had been eating drinking and pooping normally?
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Oct 3, 2009
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Mountains of Western N.C.
Heat at night. and outside during the day, what are your temps during the day?
Where is the cage and could they have eaten any moldy feed that accidentally got dropped onto the ground?
About the only way you'd know for sure what killed them would be a necropsy your vet may do it or can give you info on who will.
Very sorry for your loss.
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Aug 28, 2020
1,563
3,278
336
Iowa
I think everyone pretty much covered everything, but I just wanted to ask what feed were they on and were you also supplementing niacin? A lot of duck owners don't know that pekins not only require more niacin, but a niacin deficiency can also cause "failure to thrive" and sudden death in ducklings.
 

Luna_

Hatching
Nov 2, 2021
3
3
9
Hi,
We recently had two 4-week old pekin ducklings die within two days of each other. We had them on our property for around 3-weeks, they were fine until they died.
We though the first one died due to bad luck, however the second death leads us to think it was a disease or something environmental.

We have two more ducklings which had contact, about 48hrs, with the pekins and so are trying to find the possible cause/s of death in case it is treatable/preventable or infectious. Just so we know what to expect.

The two ducklings that passed away were happy and moving 1-2 hours before they died and then they couldn't stand and died minutes after that. They both died with their legs and head stretched out. We keep them inside under a heat lamp at night but put them in a cage outside during the day. They have constant access to water and duck/chicken starter mix.

if this is an infectious disease how likely is it that our surviving ducklings will pass away?
what disease could it be?
how do we keep our other ducklings alive?

Please help, anything is appreciated.
Also we live in Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for all the ideas.
Yes they had room to get away from the heat lamp. Not sure if the temp but they could easily get to a cooler space. outside the temps are generally around 24-27celcius and again they had a cool sheltered space.
There was no moldy food and we changed it regularly. There was also non on the ground and they wouldn’t be able to reach it if there was due to the cage setup (anything dropped fell under the cage out of reach).
I have called the feed duck/chicken food as I’m not sure which one it is as we recently had young chicks and I’m not sure if we got duck food.
They were eating and drinking and pooping normally prior to passing.
 

Luna_

Hatching
Nov 2, 2021
3
3
9
I think everyone pretty much covered everything, but I just wanted to ask what feed were they on and were you also supplementing niacin? A lot of duck owners don't know that pekins not only require more niacin, but a niacin deficiency can also cause "failure to thrive" and sudden death in ducklings.
How would we know if it is niacin deficiency? Or should we just supplement our surviving ducklings anyway?
What are common duckling symptoms of niacin deficiency?
Thanks for the idea
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Aug 28, 2020
1,563
3,278
336
Iowa
Enlarged hocks joints, bowing in the legs, pigeon toes, limping, weakness, stiffness in legs and not gaining weight are all signs of niacin deficiency. If you were feeding chick feed there is a very high chance that your ducks have niacin deficiencies. If you can get Durvet's B complex (sold at most farm stores and online) and start dosing everyone I would start right away.
Screenshot_20211102-153235.png
 

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