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sick duckling? major behavior changes...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by louisc, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. louisc

    louisc Hatching

    Jul 4, 2011
    I have a small flock of runner ducklings. They are now 7 weeks old. I have been feeding them Purina Flock Raiser, mixed with oats after 3 weeks (per Dave Holderread's formula to reduce the protein percentage). One of the larger birds, who always was one of the most pushy birds at the feeder developed "wobbly" legs. This is my first batch of ducks, and I was quite concerned and trying to decide what to do. I decided to keep a close eye on him and see if he got better or worse before intervening.

    I was trying to think of a way to get him to eat less and exercise more, until his leg strength caught up with his rapid growth.The strange thing is the duckling is doing on his own exactly what I would have prescribed, but so much so that I am worried. When I feed them (limited amounts, 3 times a day), they are all very excited. Everyone except "Crazy Legs." He goes for a swim alone in the vacated kiddie pool.

    The good news is that his legs don't shake anymore. He doesn't have any trouble walking or running or swimming. But I haven't seen him eat from the feeder in at least 4 days. He drinks lots of water, and only nibbles at the grass. He appears to have lost a little weight, or maybe just maintained while everyone else is still growing. I wouldn't say he is lethargic, but he is now the calmest bird in the flock and frequently sits alone away from the rest. Previously he was one of the hyper ones.

    So, are these ducks so smart that they will put themselves on a diet and exercise plan when necessary? or did something happen, like he got his butt kicked by the alpha? or something hormonal? or is he sick?

    I thought about separating him and maybe one or two other calm birds for company and observe him some more? any thoughts? suggestions?

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

  2. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Songster

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    [​IMG] I would be inclined to think that someone is trying to keep him away from the feeder. But I'm no expert. Hopefully someone else will chime in soon.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    In my experience, that behavior is a warning sign that he is ill. I would get him on vitamin/electrolyte/probiotics right away. Worst case it could be a serious infection. Sometimes there are internal problems that don't show up till they are a little older.

    (For what it's worth, until they were 6 to 8 weeks old, I kept food in front of my runners 24/7, with water, of course.

    Then I would take away food only at night. But you're following Holderread's advice, so I would not say it's a problem.)

    See if he'll take treats. If not, you may want to talk to the vet or somehow step up your analysis and treatment. Once a duck shows signs of illness, they may already be sick.

    That said, the vitamins may set him straight.

    I pray you will be able to get him back to his happy old self.
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member


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