Separating a male duck from his deceased partner


Dec 16, 2020
I have a flock of ten ducks, mostly runners. We live in Central Vermont where the temperature got down into the single digits last night. I haven’t run any external heat out there, as it’s just not gotten to the temps I would think it necessary, and duck farmers out here often don’t run external heat successfully. But my girl Nori, a black runner who was fine yesterday, couldn’t walk this morning and was listless, with sunken eyes. I give them organic locally produced poultry pellet feed with nutritional yeast and occasionally, split peas and a handful of millet and oats, as well as greens sporadically as I can find organic in stores here in winter.
I brought Nori inside, along with her partner Musu. Nori passed away a few minutes later. Musu won’t leave her side. He hasn’t eaten any of the tempting things I’ve given, nor is he drinking. Musu shows no signs of sickness, nor do any of the others. When I try to reach toward him he growls at me, a sound I’ve not heard before. Musu doesn’t want me touch Nori, he hovers over her. When is it appropriate for me to separate him from her, and return him to the flock?
I put Musu outside. Nori’s body feels too skinny under all her thick feathers. She has a little mucus discharge from one her nostrils. She shouldn’t be that skinny, they are supplied with food all day and I observe them eating. I just picked up all my other ducks, and one other feels a little thin. I did not hear any labored breathing in Nori. Does mucus discharge narrow the possibilities down to respiratory diseases?
Central Vermont. It’s 6 degrees right now. Since she was so skinny, I’m concerned about what else to give to supplement their diet in these harsh weather times? I’ve looked at the liquid vitamin supplements, but they all contain propylene glycol. Is this not a concern? Are there human food grade vitamins you would recommend? I just started an attempt to raise crickets. Do insects give them more needed amino acid, mineral and vitamins? Should their feed be meeting most of their dietary requirements? I use GreenMountain Feed Organic pellets. It’s all that’s available out here. I used to feed an excellent mash from Feringher Farms, but they only supply Nebraska and Colorado, where we used to live.

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