"Slow" and small duckling

Led ByTheWind

Hatching
Feb 23, 2015
7
0
7
Grass Lake, Michigan
Hello all.
Thank you in advance for any advice for I have a strange problem on my hands. I have 5 female Pekin ducklings that are 3 weeks old today. They live in a brooder in my basement with a heat lamp and full time supply of fresh water and food. They eat Scratch and Peck 20.5% starter (we are changing that over this week to their grower formula) with a 100mg Niacin supplement in their water. 2 of the 3 (Josephine and Abigail) are HUGE! They are growing nicely with tail feathers coming in. 2 more of them (Guinevere and Gisele) are growing as well although not as big as Josephine and Abigail but they seem happy and content. The 5th little one though has me worried. Her name is Stella and she is just "slow."

Stella watches everyone else eat and drink and play and only after standing there and watching for a good while does she join in. Because I have spent many hours in last three weeks watching them I can confidently report that I HAVE seen Stella eat. No one picks on her or pushes her away from the food or water. She just doesn't try to eat as often. Oh and size wise, Stella has barely grown at ALL. This is the part that worries me. Abigail and Josephine are 3 times her size at least. We purchased a camera that we can access on our phones so that we can check in on them throughout the day. Stella snuggles with the rest of ducklings like there is no problem. She just spends the majority of her day standing under the brooder lamp. She looks very peaceful but we can tell something is wrong.

Oh and I need to explain a little more. When we first got our ducklings we had 6. Gwendolyn died at a week old. We never could figure out why. She went from a normal duckling to slow and lethargic in 48 hours. Her feet shriveled and she died within a couple hours after that. After doing so much research to try to save Gwendolyn and not coming up with a whole lot we decided to treat with Corid (just in case), change their food and give more electrolytes. Gwendolyn was a little "off" when we received her (they had a hard shipping and were in the mail 3 extra days for some reason) so we thought she was just weak and didn't really have a chance in the first place. But then we saw how Stella started acting just 24 hours after Gwendolyn died. She started getting slow and just standing around. So I freaked out and that is when I realized that we may have had a mold infestation in the straw we were using for bedding. I was changing it out after Stella started acting strange and got a SERIOUS allergic reaction. My throat closed up and I had trouble breathing for a little over 5 hours. I then started the mad rush to make a whole new brooder and remove any trace of possible mold. As soon as we removed the straw all of the duckies seemed much happier and had more energy. Even Stella was looking up. Her feet started to become more plump (they were shriveling too and we were certain she was going to die at one point). Then we had the bedding debacle of 2015. We tried towels (too much work to clean ever 2 hours), puppy pads (I feel like they didn't give enough traction for the bigger two), pine shavings (they tried to eat) and finally settled on pine pellets. It was crazy.

So for the last week and a half everyone was doing really well. And then when the other 4 grew like crazy it became obvious again that Stella was still struggling. So I deceided to change it up a little big. I split the brooder in half (food, water and heat are on both side) and put Stella with the smaller duckies so the two huge ones have their own side. I was thinking that maybe the big ones were just intimidating and that the split would help Stella settle in a eat and grow. So far that is not the case. She has acted no different.

If anyone has any idea what is going on or what else I can do I would appreciate it SO much! At this rate I don't think Stella is going to make it so any bit of advice is truly appreciated.

Thanks!! <3
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,818
551
Southern New England
Glad you are paying close attention!

A good duck vet is always best, but not always an option.

Elfie was slow - took her nearly a year to catch up with everyone else. She sounds similar to your Stella.

But Stella may have something more serious going on. I might put a teaspoon of food grade activated charcoal powder in a pint of water and let Stella drink from that for a few days. Charcoal binds to toxins.

I would also set aside time to feed Stella some extra treats - get some extra calories into her. Are they getting small grit? If so, I would mash up a teaspoon of thawed frozen peas and offer them to her - or any similar treat. You might even take a couple of pieces of dry cat kibble, moisten them so they are soft, and offer them to her. Keep up with the TLC and attention, and if a vet is possible, consider that.

Any possibility that Stella is not a Pekin?
 
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Led ByTheWind

Hatching
Feb 23, 2015
7
0
7
Grass Lake, Michigan
Thank you so much Amiga I will definitely get some charcoal going. And yes, they get grit because I give them clover leaves when I let them swim in the tub once a day. (Although to be honest I don't know how much of it they actually eat) Stella really likes the clover and eats it well. So I think your idea of getting her more treats is going to work great! Can I use dog food instead of cat food? (I feed my pups Taste of the Wild so it's really good stuff.) And I will get her some peas too. I have heard they really love peas.

And I guess there is a possibility she is not a Pekin. I got them from Murrary McMurrary hatchery only to find out (after they shipped) they source their ducks from a random hatchery in California (although they couldn't tell me where)... I will NOT be doing business with them again needless to say. Anyway, she definitely has a longer and narrower bill as well as her face seems to be a different shape to be honest. Plus I've noticed that her eyes are more of a sideways tear-drop shape opposed to the round eye of the rest of the girls. But I just wrote all of those differences off to individually. Maybe not though.
 
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Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,818
551
Southern New England
When I can get back to my laptop I will send a photo of my baby Runners. Dog kibble if wetted to cooked oatmeal consistency, mashed into tiny bits, with water - we don't want choking!
 

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