Jared F

Jun 9, 2017
We bought two Pekin ducklings a few weeks ago (one female, one male). They're about 4 weeks old now. Yesterday morning I found him on his back and he's been acting sick ever since. He peddles his feet like he's swimming, arcs his back, and pushes his head to the side. And his peddling isn't slow. He does it forcefully, so he ends up on his back and then can't flip back over. By last night when I got home he was to the point that he can't walk or stand up.

I've uploaded footage of the first two times he started spasming.

Watching it, it seems like he's suddenly losing control of his legs.

The symptoms sounded like Duck Viral Hepatitis to me. Based on what I've read it kills them very quickly after symptoms develop and is very contagious. But it's been 36 hours and he's not dead. And he spent 10-12 hour with the other duck before we separated them and she's been fine. So I'm wondering (based on what I've read) if it's toxins or poisoning.

When I prop him up he eats and drinks very well and mostly stops peddling his feet.

Their diet has been just chick starter, grass when they're outside for 20-30 in the evening, and occasionally finely chopped lettuce or celery. Since he's been sick I've been hand-feeding him chopped lettuce and chick starter with water about once an hour.

From what I read before we got them, grit was optional. But since he's been sick I've been doing more reading and now I am planning on getting grit and niacin supplement for both of them and will try an epsom salt flush with him:


Am I taking the right steps? Is there anything else I should do? Do these symptoms sound like anything specific?

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16-17
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Oct 3, 2009
Mountains of Western N.C.
Before you do a flush I'd get him on a niacin supplement Get them out of the chick feeders including the chick waterer. and into a larger brooder. When they have more room. Duck need to be about to dunk their heads to drink and clean out their nares. especially when eating.https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings.750869/ Pic of homemade waterer for ducklings.

Nutritional yeast is a good source of niacin you can sprinkle it over their feed most health food stores carry it. 1 Tab per cup of feed. Or Plain niacin has to be plain not time released or flush free 150mgs per gallon of water This should have been started at hatch or shortly there after. Till they are at least 1 weeks of age. Any time you feed anything other than their starter they should have grit that is how they "chew" their feed up.

Or B complex vitamins crushed and put into a gal of water, let the niacin content guide you on what to get .It's amazing how quickly they can make a turn around if they are started on the B's.
Of course you can do a flush with him too just be sure you go right by the direction.

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