Potentially Ill Ducks?

Olive Hill

10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
I've had ducks before -- runners, pekins, and rouens. We didn't currently have any in the flock but I got a call earlier this week about 2 pekins needing a home and couldn't turn them down. They were supposedly both the same age and both "Spring 2009 babies". The owners knew nothing about them (didn't even know what breed they were, just that they were those white ducks). So knowing "those white ducks" were pekins I made sure it'd be okay with them if both were drakes that we ate them and they had no problem just wanted them rehomed. And I fully expected them to probably be drakes since pekins are sold straight run and isn't that ALWAYS how it goes?!

So... I went to pick the ducks up this morning. And they don't look too hot. First of all, they're not even close to the same age. One is obviously mature -- probably really was a spring 2009 baby -- but the other is still young and not even feathered out yet other than her/his wings.

They're passing pitch black feces, they both have a black, sticky looking coating along the inside edge of their bills (which makes me think they've been eating their feces???
) The younger one has some sort of buildup around it's eyes.

None of the symptoms seem to match any of the major duck illnesses I've read about and I've never had any of my previous ducks fall ill. So I'm hoping someone else has had experience here and can shed some light?
Poor Babies
Thats just so sad i'm new to ducks and i don't have and answer for you.
But the black poo doesn't sound good to me.
My first thought was starvation and them eating their own poo but i don't know.

Gosh i hope someone can help you i feel so sad for the ducks

Thanks for saving them
They could be the same hatch. There are a few people here who have "runts" that look way younger than they are.

I think good food, some poly-vi-sol in their water and some brewer's yeast sprinkled on the food will go a long way towards getting them in good shape.

Maybe some worms or other animal protein will help too.
Thanks. That was my first thought as well since the feces and the residue on their bills are the same color and about the same consistency.

I went out after posting to get the kiddie pool set up for them, get them fresh food and water, etc and get them out of the small cage they were sent in. The young one has an injured leg. I'm really not sure he's(she's?) going to make it. I noticed he seemed to have poor balance in the cage, but thought maybe it was just the confined space. Once out in the yard it was very obvious though. He's hurt. If he puts too much weight on his right leg he falls right over. Poor baby.

The more I look at him the more I wonder if he's really as young as I first thought or if he's malnourished. It just doesn't make any sense that they would lie about his age and when they got him -- as they said they got them both in the spring for pets for their grandkids?? -- his bill is abnormally long compared to the rest of his features. But he's still kind of fluffy. I have no idea if malnourishment could cause feathers not to come in on top of making him so much smaller? And honestly, with the size difference if he's as old as they say and malnourished I cannot believe he's even alive.
Thanks Wifezilla! I'll add some poly-vi-sol to their water and brewer's yeast to the food -- and I'll put the 4yo on the job finding them some worms. The food is definitely covered -- it's one of the first things I did.

Any advice on the leg? I can't see any outward signs of trauma. Would a splint be an option? I so did not have time for this. I just wanted some sweet and sour duck, darnit!

Interesting about the runts, he's less than half the big one's size -- can they be THAT much smaller?
Leg issues are often a result of poor nutrition from what I have seen. Mainly a lack of B-vitamins (and the brewer's yeast will take care of that in time). If he limps, but is able to get around, I would leave him unless you can see an obvious swelling that might indicate a break.

I am sure you already thought of this, but also check the bottom of the foot for signs of bumblefoot.

Interesting about the runts, he's less than half the big one's size -- can they be THAT much smaller?

Yes. I wish I could find the thread from the girl with a dwarf duck. It looked like a 2
week old next to its sibling who was fully feathered out.​
Just curious. Is the poly-vi-sol the same vitamin drops recommended for infants and available over the counter at the pharmacy or is this specifically for birds?
Yes, please let us know how they do. I hope hope hope you can help them. Poor little things, and what awful people letting them get that way. I really hope they get to experience having a nice owner like you and having a nice little life. You have all the luck I can send.

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