Protozoal infections have claimed 11 ducks so far, any advice?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ambj73, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. ambj73

    ambj73 Hatching

    Nov 17, 2014
    I initially posted this to the "Emergencies/Diseases/Injuries and Cures" page of the main forum, not realizing this great duck-specific space was here. ;) Posting here now.


    I am new the forum, but have been reading for some time. I haven't found a lot that might apply to our specific situation, though it is possible I have missed something, so I apologize if that is the case.

    In June, we got a Momma Muscovy duck and 13 ducklings, at about 2-3 days old. (We also had 2 bantam roosters and shortly after got 12 hens.) All went well until mid August, when we woke up to one dead duckling (though by this time they were nearly the size of Momma) outside the coop (the night prior we had shut their pen, but not the coop door, this duck was at the bottom of the ramp leading in to the pen). We thought it was a one-off...until a couple weeks later when the ducklings began dropping fast and furious. We ended up losing 10 in total (at that time). My husband opened 4 carcasses to see if we could figure anything out, but we really couldn't. We ended up saving the last 4 carcasses and taking them into the University of MN veterinary diagnostic lab for necropsies. What we ended up finding out was that they died of pneumonia, as a secondary infection from protozoal infection. We never got definitive word on the exact protozoa.

    We were left with Momma duck and 3 of her babies, we believe to be hens. We lost all of the young drakes and only a few of the young hens. The vet we worked with said younger ducks would be more susceptible and older ducks with established immune systems might fair better. We have pond/wetland around our property and the ducks had spent time out there prior to the losses, so we assume it might have been something they encountered out there.

    After the losses, Momma and the 3 babies remained in the yard, we never saw them return to the wetland areas, though we realize they are likely carriers...or that is our thought?

    A little over a month ago, in early October, we decided to bring in a lone Muscovy drake, adult, from a person on craigslist. He didn't have any muscovy to be with where he was and we hoped being a healthy adult, that maybe he would be fine and be able to fight off any potential illness. (Yes, I have read about the recommended quarantine and I am sorry we did not do it, nor did we have a correct set up for accomplishing it really; something to look at in the future for sure.) We brought him in with a full size rooster (oddly enough, they came from the same property as the two bantam roosters we had gotten at the beginning of the summer), all seemed to be be going great. He was a great guy, very chill, the girls loved him and he was friendly with our family. He seemed very active and a great appetite as well. Until yesterday morning, that is. I went out the coop and found him listless, didn't want breakfast and wouldn't drink. We brought him inside, in case the cold had something to do with it (though we doubted, we just couldn't leave him out there regardless) and he died by yesterday afternoon. =( We can only assume he died from what took our previous ducks, and if the girls are carriers and that is where he got it (as he never left our yard to go ingo the wetland spaces), then a quarantine might have only delayed the inevitable. I guess we were hoping an adult who was healthy would have an immune system strong enough to carry him through.

    So I guess my question is, does anyone have experience with this sort of situation? Will we just not ever be able to bring in other ducks unless/until these remaining 4 are no longer alive? And even then, might our yard be infested potentially from their waste? We really enjoy ducks, and I was hoping for a slightly larger duck flock. All of our roosters and chickens are doing great, no problems with them at all, so for that I am thankful. Just sad about our ducks, and sad that they suffered and we lost them. Truly helpless seeing them slowly dying and not really having anything we could do about it. =(
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    I'm so sorry to read this and very sorry for your losses, I think first thing would be to find out what this protozoa is maybe contact UNI of MN and talk to some one and hopefully they can tell you what course of action to take. I would really like to know too. And then again none of the other poultry seems affected.

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