Rearing Indian Runner duckling orphan

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by wedz, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. wedz

    wedz Hatching

    Jul 20, 2010
    We keep a pair of Indian Runners. This year, she hatched 5 eggs, but rejected one of the ducklings. She just kept throwing it out of the nest, and so we had to rescue it and hand rear it. It's now 4 weeks old, and is doing very well on chick crumbs and greenery. We're having a few problems, and I thought you folk might be able to help.
    1) His/her crop seems to fill up more than I'd expect - we've taken to massaging it after he's eaten a big meal, and this seems to clear things, but should we do anything else?
    2) What should we do with him/her long term? At the moment, he lives in a cat carrier cage, in the house with us. As he gets bigger, this isn't going to work well. But he has no interest in his flock mates when we take him out to them, and we're worried that they might hurt him. I'd really appreciate any tips on the best way forwards.
    3) Any other tips about what we should do? We feel very inexperienced - we've kept ducks and hens for years, but this is the first time that something like this has happened.

    Many thanks

  2. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    Do you have food available all the time- Or just at certain times during the day ?. They are more likely to gorge themselves if food isnt available all the time.

    Give it some more time for him to adjust to life with the flock of ducks- Do you stay outside where he can see you when taken outside? He wont want to integrate while he can still see you as he thinks you are his flock.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners 8 Years

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    duckyfromoz, would the question of grit come into play here? I recall someone losing a duckling that was on non-pelleted feed because she did not know that it needed grit before eating regular food (anything other than the pellets which dissolve in water).
  4. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Your duck may need grit or sand to digest the food correctly. You may also rejoin it with the flock once older.
  5. CityChicker

    CityChicker Songster

    Mar 21, 2009
    It's hard to say without seeing your duckling and I don't normally like to give medical advice. Ducks do not, however, have a true crop (frustrating that some even academic sites incorrectly say they do). If you are feeling a hardened swollen area that feels like a full crop, for example like what a chicken would have, then you have a problem. You should not feel this with ducks. It could very well be some sort of obstruction that is slowing digestion. The swollen area is generally the proventriculus. Food can either back up there because the gizzard is not digesting properly or because there is literally an obstruction somewhere in the digestive tract. Ducks can get sour "crop" as well, but again it is not really a true crop per se, but a problem generally with the proventriculus or gizzard. Finding the source of the problem can be quite difficult.

    The first thing to do would be to make sure grit is available to the duckling. If this continues to happen, I think an obstruction is probably the most likely. A vet can also sometimes do surgery if this is suspected, but the prognosis is not great. They would likely also start an antibiotic. I remember reading in one of the Ashton's books that Epsom salt is an old time remedy to get the digestion going, but have never tried this myself or seen anyone else recommend it. You might try it if your desire is to keep the bird (or take it to a vet possibly to check for obstruction). Really though, whenever I have seen a mother bird throw a baby out of a nest and refuse to care for it, there is a reason.

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