Sleepy duck constantly lying down


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 2, 2013
Northern England, UK
Hi everyone, I have used the advanced search here on BYC to see what other answers have been given previously before I posted this, but I cannot find anything definite. Quick background information: I have 3 Campbells, two white are approx 1 year old and the khaki is newer and younger, guessing about 5-6 months old based on her size. I am getting two eggs a day so I am assuming this is coming from the older ducks.

One of my white Campbells has recently starting sleeping during the day a lot. I have CCTV at my home which I can check from my computer at work (talk about being duck obsessed!) and I can see her spending most of the day lying down. The other two are constantly moving around the garden looking for bugs and although they all seem to have frequent naps, this one duck seems to lie down or sleep most of the day. This is evident on weekends when I am in the house. She will just lie down in any part of the garden for most of the day.

I have seen her eat and drink well, she goes in the pond once a day and will preen herself before lying back down. I have checked her feet and they seem fine, she doesn't seem to limp or hobble when she runs to greet me. They are all on layer pellets and they get veggie treats and dried mealworms a couple times a week. When there is food being offered she is full of energy but as soon as the food is gone, she will separate from the other two and lie down. I haven't seen any evidence of duck bullying going on but the khaki has only been with us for about a month and has upset the balance of friendship. Three is a crowd perhaps?

Bedding is clean and their coop is secure on a night time, I have started putting apple cider vinegar in their water this week, I have also sprinkled some brewers yeast on their food too just to cover all bases, they get a natural worming (verm-x) once a month and her poo looks normal. Could it just be that she is just a grumpy sleepy duck? She is always the most difficult to put to bed at night, obviously she isn't tired after sleeping all day!

I'm suspicious about the two eggs a day and plan on doing the food colouring in the vent tonight to make sure that she definitely is laying one of the eggs to rule out being egg bound, but otherwise I am stumped for ideas. Apart from sleeping for about 75% of the day I can't find any other symptoms. Any suggestions?
Worst case I can think of - and difficult to diagnose - is egg yolk peritonitis. It can be corrected with oral antibiotics. It is a sneaky illness - I have lost two of mine to it. One showed a few symptoms a few days before she died.

The other, was just not energetic. I took her to the vet who saw nothing wrong. Six weeks later the duck died. I cannot fault the vet - it is hard to diagnose. But in the future, I am going to err on the side of caution.

A blood test may show something if there is systemic infection (and that is what peritonitis is). You might also have a fecal test run to see if there is anything unusual in her stool. It could be bacterial, and worming won't touch that.

Just wondering - I have never needed to worm my ducks. And I know some who do it once a year. But once a month? Even if it is a natural treatment, might that be a little rough on sensitive ducks?
Thanks for the super fast reply Amiga. I will consider taking her to the vet, however the only vet we can find that will even consider looking at ducks admitted to me last time that he had never treat a duck before (this was for a respiratory infection giving this same duck a lump on the side of her face), made me wonder if he was just grabbing at my money and it took 3 visits (and fees) to get him to give me antibiotics (I printed out posts from BYC to give him to read up on to make sure I got the correct antibiotics). I think I can get a fecal testing kit from a company online so I will look into that this afternoon. I will stop the worming treatment, I just assumed that a natural product wouldn't be harmful and was just following the instructions provided. Are there any other symptoms I should be looking out for?
Egg yolk peritonitis is a stealthy thing, as are some other infections. Things I would look at - feces - any signs of blood, off-odor. Breath, anything off-smelling, breathing, any raspiness. Check feet and bill - particularly warm? Eyes bright? When you pick her up, how is her strength? Can she push hard enough with her feet to scratch you? Or is she weak or doesn't even try to struggle? Feel her tummy. Is it puffy-squishy? That in particular is a sign of possible oviduct problems, or peritonitis, or possibly heart problems. Calcium deficiency can lead to heart problems. And just as with ducklings and niacin, it appears to me each duck has her own threshold and ability to effectively use calcium. Some just need more than others. I have two who get "special" calcium-laden treats. And this morning, apparently I have a third (soft-shelled egg from a runner. sigh).

Build up her immune system with poultry multi-vitamins twice a week in her water, some apple cider vinegar (a teaspoon per quart of drinking water) a couple of times a week, I like to add a little dry cat kibble to their food sometimes, and a sprinkling of flax meal as well. A cooled baked sweet potato might be helpful, as it contains Vitamin A, calcium, and potassium and Vitamin C - all good health boosters.

If you need to show something to a vet, casportpony offered these a while back
Perhaps they would benefit from these:

Here is a summary of how PetDuck dealt with EYP in her duck.
I talked to the clinic an they said they talked to Dr. T and to give her antibiotic in pill form... That's bad enough but to give it to her 2 times a day for 2 weeks

And an anti-inflammatory liquid to give oraly. And the said to make a mash out of her food and give 30 ml of that 4 times a day.
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My poor little duck is with the vet right now, she is going to be given anaesthetic so they can do an X-ray. We are hoping it is just her being egg bound and all of our home treatments haven't worked. Tried warm baths and she already gets crushed oyster shell. I've ordered some liquid calcium from ebay to prevent this in the future.
I'm beyond myself with worry at the moment just waiting for a phone call from the vet. Fingers crossed everything goes ok.
I (Matt) am writing on behalf of Marie. My queen duck. It's sad news I have to report. Waddles the head of the flock as it were didn't make it. She never awoke from the anaesthetic. She was diagnosed as having peritonitis. I guess all in all passing in her sleep at this stage was the best. Still so many if's and buts. But here we are. I for one never knew losing a duck would cut me up as much as it has. Enjoy ducky paradise my little Waddles! I'm sure Marie will add to this later....

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