Sick Duckling HELP!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Kharmel, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Kharmel

    Kharmel Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    On Saturday, my neighbor came over and asked if I wanted a duckling that he had. It was the last one left after he lost the others to various accidents and he said that he thought the duckling was lonely and had quit eating. I have chickens who are 8 weeks old and thought the duck, who is about 16 weeks could hang around the chickens which would be better than being alone.

    When I walked over to get him, he was in very bad condition and skin and bones. He was shaking and walked like he was drunk, no energy and staggering. There was no fresh water, just a kiddie pool that was full of green slime and some cracked corn in the dirt for him to eat. We took him over to my place where I put him in fresh water which seemed to perk him up and we wanted to see if he would take an interest in the chickens which he did not. We also tried to feed him and he wouldn't eat anything. In the end, I was worried that he was sick rather than just not eating because of loneliness and didn't take him for fear that he would make my chickens sick. He would have had to been kept in the coop with them because I didn't have a quarantine area and that was too close for comfort for me.

    My question is, do the symptons sound like a common illness and what would that be? Like I said, he is twice the age of my chickens but weighs less than my smallest chicken which is an 8 week old leghorn. He's also about the same height. I don't know much about ducks but it seems like he should be quite a bit bigger.

    I did tell the neighbor that the duck needs fresh water all the time, which he did do but the duck hasn't gotten any better since Saturday. Any advise would be much appreciated. The owner also didn't seem inclined to take him to a vet.
     
  2. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kildare, Wisconsin
    I can't tell you if he's sick or just malnourished and depressed. Maybe a combination of both. At 16 weeks, a duckling should be fully grown. Shoot, at 8 weeks a duckling should be pretty much fully grown.

    Anyways, fresh water is a good start. I'd give you other suggestions, like plain yogurt with some honey in it or a puree of watered-down grower pellets and scrambled eggs or something to get him eating, but I doubt your neighbor would do any of it anyways. [​IMG]
    Do you know if he's just feeding a diet of all cracked-corn? Perhaps a feed that's actually formulated to be nutritionally complete for waterfowl would be another good start? I don't know - I'd be afraid to suggest too much, I wouldn't want your neighbor to start thinking the duck wasn't worth the effort. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2010
  3. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Sounds like a malnourished and somewhat poisoned duck. Green algae can be toxic. Especially in shallow warm water. Usually not an issue in lakes, because they are deep. Cracked corn is not a diet for ducks. That would be like eating cake only for us. You need to get some duck feed and I would actually suggest 20% protein for now to get it back up. 16% once it it back up. Annarie gave you good suggestion too. The extra sugar and protein will give strength. Also get some electrolytes and vitamins for the drinking water. I'm sure the duck will improve fast once on a good diet. You should make a soupy mash out of the food for a few days to make it easy on him. Have some sand in another dish to help with digestion. He will know how much he needs and it may be only a swallow or two per day. Can you have the duck live in your house at night for a week? I know it will be messy, but it may help the duck. I'm just in shock to see an animal being treated so badly.
     
  4. Kharmel

    Kharmel Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    Quote:Thanks for the reply, cracked corn is all that is being fed. I was shocked when I saw how small he is and nothing but bones and feathers. The grower pellets, are those the same as the chick grower I am currently using, or is there a special blend for ducks? I'm not sure how to even get him to eat, we offered my chick grower and even watered down bread. He wouldn't touch either. I'll see if he'll eat scrambled eggs.
     
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Duck food is usually unmedicated, because some of the medicated stuff is toxic to ducks since they eat more then a chicken. Try to feed him by hand. Do not feed bread, since it has no nutritional value. Your chick starter may be ok for a few days, since he is not eating much.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  6. Kharmel

    Kharmel Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2010
    The owner said that he had a cousin who had ducks and he would take him over there. I'll check when I get home tonight and if he still has the duck, if so, I'll take him since it does sound like malnutrition rather than illness. I can borrow a rabbit cage from another neighbor and keep him in my house and try to nurse him back to health. It was so heartbreaking turning him away the first time but I was afraid for my chickens and didn't want to risk them getting sick. I don't have internet at home and had to wait until today to ask the experts:) Hopefully I'm not too late!
     
  7. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree -- it sounds to me like extreme malnourishment. If the bird has had only cracked corn for weeks on end, especially during the crucial developmental phase, it probably has all kinds of deficiencies, proteins, vitamins, minerals. Corn is basically just carbs and not much else.

    I hope the poor thing makes it -- if it's gotten to the point it won't eat it may be too late. You may want to try force-feeding it, but you have to be careful there -- if it is starvation, feeding it too much too soon might kill it. Maybe something like some boiled egg mixed into a paste with water -- high in protein but gentle on the stomach, with a couple of drops of an avian vitamin added.

    Poor thing.
     

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