Question: How Can I Give My Special Needs Duck Company?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kuiper, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. kuiper

    kuiper Chirping

    Oct 14, 2019
    So, I’ve been raising ducks for three years and hatching them for two. This last summer we had a little guy hatch with a bad leg. At first I just thought it was a tendon problem but after taking him to the vet; it turns out it was a fused joint. He is unable to bend his leg so he is stuck hopping on his one leg. We named him “Fest”!

    We take care of him the best we can, always make sure that he has clean, soft bedding, lots of food, and he was always surrounded by his hatch mates. Unfortunately, as time went on, his hatch mates grew and eventually were too big for the back porch - where ducklings grow until they go into the teen/adult duck hang out in our back yard. Fest isn’t growing as fast or as much; as expected his disability has stunted his growth a bit. He is way too small to go down with the other ducks nor do I think he could survive down there so he’s staying on the back porch and will probably stay up there for his life time.

    Everyone knows I can’t just have one duck by himself; he’ll get lonely.. but I’m not sure what to do. I think it’s unfair to bring one of his hatch mates up from the back yard to live with him on the small space on our porch.... but I don’t want him to be by himself. He shouldn’t be by himself.

    I don’t know what to do. I’m wondering is anyone has dealt with something like this before? Or if anyone has any suggestions to what I can do to make sure he’s not lonely?

    Thanks for reading and I appreciate any suggestions!
    WVduckchick and Callender Girl like this.
  2. KaleIAm

    KaleIAm Songster

    Jul 13, 2015
    Carnation, Wa
    Hmmm... I think he does need another duck to not be lonely. Unless you find another special needs duck and adopt it I think one of the other ducks will have to come into the porch to keep Fest company. It may not be so bad for the other duck.
  3. slordaz

    slordaz hatchaholic

    Apr 15, 2015
    They are a flock animal he needs company, one idea would be a bit securer protection so he could be down with his flock mates, or like KaleIAm suggested finding another little duck to keep him company.
    Maybe one of these ladies can help with some other idea, I know if I have a lone chick I will give them a mirror and a fuzzy toy to snuggle with until it can be fixed.

    @Miss Lydia
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Ephesians 6:13

    :welcomeI like the idea of making a very secure area just for Fest so he can be with the other ducks and then maybe you could switch hatch mates out daily to keep him company. Wouldn’t have to be anything big just room enough to move around comfortably and safety from flying predators. Then he can be on the back porch for night time. Bless you for caring for him. I had a special needs Muscovy drake for the last 2 years of his life ( he almost made it to 12) so he could be with his females during the day we made them an area off out front yard so the other drakes wouldn’t beat up on him. It worked out great and every evening an morning I carried him to or from. I hope you can figure something out. And in the mean time a mirror works great.
    KaleIAm, kuiper, DuckyDonna and 4 others like this.
  5. Callender Girl

    Callender Girl Crowing

    Sep 18, 2018
    North Central Iowa
    One of my runner ducks sustained some serious nerve damage when she was egg bound last spring; Paige uses her impaired leg for balance and kind of hops around. At first, I kept her in a shelter adjacent to the other ducks and fenced off a little run for her. She still seemed lonely, so I put a small-animal crate inside the duck shelter so she could sleep inside the shelter at night.

    I was worried that the drakes would take advantage of her inability to escape their romantic gestures. But now that it's fall and they are much less interested in girls, I have started letting her run with and sleep with the others. So far, so good.

    For me, it was just heartbreaking to watch her try to be part of the flock. Her disability was apparently much bigger in my mind than it was to her. Keeping Fest safe has to be your top priority, but maybe there's a way to let him have some social time with his flock.
    KaleIAm, kuiper, DuckyDonna and 3 others like this.
  6. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds!

    Feb 9, 2015
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    All good suggestions so far! I would try to socialize him with the others as much as possible. He may take a quick growth spurt later and fit right in! Since they have always been together, I wouldn’t expect them to pick on him too much, but of course you want what is safest for him. It’s amazing how they learn to deal with their disabilities. Can he walk at all? Swim?

    I have a drake with one foot folded backwards at the web. He walks on his ankle, so he limps, but he keeps up with the others pretty well, and even has a couple of girls that stick to him like glue. :D
    kuiper, DuckyDonna, slordaz and 2 others like this.
  7. Loopeend

    Loopeend Songster

    Jun 12, 2018
    The Netherlands
    In my personal experience; the ones that are "off" like being around the rest more then alone. They are more happy in the group while more vulnerable; then being "special" and alone. A lot like humans. Most of the times they even surprise you! The only 50 procent smaller one here, that can walk less then the rest; managed to be an absolute boss.. cats are scared of her.. and instead of her hopping around the others she just decided to loudly force others to be in her tempo... sigh. (sigh for the loud bossing around).

    You know the personality of your ducks best; I'm lucky at this moment that I have a group that aggresively all harass an predator before it can harass them.. previeuws groups and their personalities where more "panick and run away". In scenario one I would not be so worried about 1 that can't run fast.
    If you decide to get a partner for this duck; raise it balsy and selfsecure. Most ducks copy what the rest does. If one is scared; they are all scared. If one attacks; they all attack. This duck can benefit from the latter.

    Good luck.
    WVduckchick, kuiper and slordaz like this.
  8. kuiper

    kuiper Chirping

    Oct 14, 2019
    Your drake sounds like a ladies man! ;)

    His is folded at the knee joint so he’s not really walking or swimming. It’s hard for him to even use his bad leg; he doesn’t get around very well. I think it might be because he is growing and it’s getting harder to hop around. In the meantime, I’m going to start bringing him inside to take some baths and maybe that’ll help him get stronger. Also, here’s hoping that his wings grow soon, because I think they will help him a lot with balance! Thank you for the suggestion, though. I think you are right, socializing him will probably help his health and growth a lot!!
    WVduckchick likes this.
  9. kuiper

    kuiper Chirping

    Oct 14, 2019
    Yes, you can see a difference in them when they are alone versus when they are with the flock.

    I’m so sorry about Paige; I have a few runners too so I know they are tough! I’m happy to hear she is getting along just fine with the flock. That gives me hope the Fest will too once he’s big enough! Thank you. :)
    WVduckchick and Callender Girl like this.
  10. kuiper

    kuiper Chirping

    Oct 14, 2019
    12 years! That’s amazing!

    I think that is an awesome suggestion. I have more duck houses than I can handle at the moment (four) so I think doing as you did with your Muscovy would work out perfect for him. I’ll put a house in my duck hang out and he’ll spend the day there and the night on the porch to make sure he’s safe and sound. That way he’s safe but not lonely. Thank you for this suggestion, it’s solved my problem!! :hugs
    WVduckchick likes this.

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