She looks like she is all wet!


10 Years
Jul 15, 2009
The kids and I just went outside to play and both ducks were in the pond. I started quacking at them and throwing some romain lettuce pieces at them when I noticed that Cocoa my female looks like she is all wet. Her feathers are all messed up and you can see she is all wet. My male looks just fine not a drop of water on him.

I have been looking for previous post about this since I know I have seen tons but can't find them. All I am finding is that ducks are messy and like wet conditions.
What should I look up to figure out why she is all wet???
Last edited:
Watch to see if she preens after she gets wet. sometimes the oil gland is fine but the bird just doesn't preen. Preen is repair of the feathers and the spreading of the oil to help with the process. Oil by itself doesn't make them water resistant, feathers in good condition does. You might to want to check her over with a magifying lens looking for tiny mites or feather lice. The fact that the drake is in good condition contradicts this because if one has mites they usually spread but it can't harm to look.
Here ya go, cut and pasted from a post I made last year.

I'm cutting and pasting this from a post I made a few weeks ago:

I found this in a thread about wet feathers at posted by Iridesa

> Common cause for wet feathers is a clogged or infected oil gland, heavy
> mite infestation, or foreign substance in swimming water. Oil gland is
> located at the top base of the tail. Little feathers there should look
> very oily. If gland is clogged, massage gently several times daily with
> warm compress. Oral antibiotic may be Rx'd by vet for infection if
> present.

> To prevent above cause(s) provide clean fresh water for swimming to
> prevent mites and foreign substance from getting on feathers.

> Other cause(s):
> Duck has been washed with or been in water with soap, this removes the
> protective coating and disturbs barbs of feathers; not allowing them to
> hold air.

> Duck has not been allowed swimming water, thus is not preening to keep
> feathers supple.
> Barbs get broken or are pulled apart.

> Corretion- Time, for both causes above the duck will preen and get
> feathers into shape

> Ducks feathers are worn from an abundance of treading by drakes.

> Massive mite infestation.

> Correction- Time, for both causes above feathers are damaged beyond
> preening repair. Duck must molt to regain good feather structure. See
> Vet for mite infesttion if mites are present. Look for tiny spots on
> feather shafts and or skin. Check duck house for tiny red mites at
> nite...nests are best place to look for mites if you have em.

> Note- waterfowl feather structure: Each feather is connected together
> sorta like a zipper. The zipper or barbs can be zipped back together if
> not damaged. This is what waterfowl do when they preen. The barbs must
> be keep soft and supple, this is what the oil from the oil gland does.
> (like putting hand cream on so ones hands so they don't get chapped) If
> the oil gland isn't working or duck is not afforded swimming water (bird
> won't preen much), feathers become dry, brittle and break. Once damage
> occurs to the barbs the duck will no longer be "water proof" no matter
> how well the duck has oiled and or preened. Air held in by the feathers
> is what keeps the duck "dry" not the oil. The oil gand works on supply
> and demand. If no water to swim need to preen, no oil is made or
> gland gets clogged from under use.

> Hope this helps

Last edited by rainplace (02/08/2010 5:58 pm)
Well Iridesa was a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer that really knew her ducks! Spent a fortune on vet bills to save her favorite duck but it was really hopeless. When I first got on the internet her website was the best around by far. She had things posted that I never saw anywhere else. I wished I had saved more of her stuff but her website was always going to be there, right? Only one day it just disappeared Never to be seen again. Her fans who were many posted her stuff that they had saved to a link provided by a message board that I am not supposed to mention here. The owner moved the board and managed to lose the link somehow. If it was Iredesa, you could take it to the bank because it was pure gold! thank you for saving and posting her stuff!
I bought some Black Oil Sunflower Seeds for my Muscovies because they looked wet all the time...sometimes they still do but it helps them(helps keep em dry) when they're in the pen. They still get wet looking when theyre out in the rain or creek all day, little dummies.
I had this same issue. Look under "wet feather" I believe.

I feed all the right things, it was mites that caused it. Now they are dusted with food grade DE once a week top to bottom and their night time pen is dusted. They are much better.

Good Luck!
Question... If my ducks have mites wouldn't my chickens have them too? (theyre penned together). My chickens don't have any bugs. I read online somewhere that ducks could keep them under control if they had access to plenty of water daily, is it true?
waterfowl arent as prone to them as other poultry true, and also true as goosedragon said, if one has it, everything would too, they spread like crazy. Does she have daily access to the water. If not, she may not be preening as often as needed and keeping her conditioning up. Being in the water triggers their instinct to do this. If all this is fine, I would check the oil glad for trouble there.
My ducks sported the wet look when we had that big freeze a while back and all they could do was drink water, not bathe in it. Their pond water was frozen for a week.

My chickens dust themselves in a thouroughly DE dusted area. My ducks don't dust bathe so I just did it for them when I suspected they had mites.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom