Something is going on with my baby muscovy?? PLEASE READ

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by zeberman, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. zeberman

    zeberman In the Brooder

    Mar 23, 2013
    Hello! I recently got three 1 week old baby Muscovies. Made my own indoor brooder in a large metal tub lined with plastic and covered in fine straw, and with a heat lamp above. Recently changed the straw to a peat moss/coco grow mixture. The first night they were home, one of them died. She was the smallest one, and was acting lethargic and eventually falling over and convulsing and would not eat or drink even with a dropper. This was a week ago. I have them on duck starter mixed with water, as well as a separate waterer which i add greens to throughout the day. It has been a week, making them 2 weeks old now and the other two have been very active and healthy seeming with bright personalities, both eating voraciously. I have been taking them to forage around the yard and woods and for a swim in a baby pool about twice a day. I am beginning to notice now, however that one duckling is MUCH larger than the other one. close to twice as big i would say. The smaller one is very "puffy" is the only word I can think of. Its very hard for me to tell if she just seems puffy because shes much smaller, but when i feel the larger ones back i can feel his muscles and he seems much more lean and long, while the small one seems round and fat. (I am calling the large one a he and the small one a she because I feel like that is their genders since muscovies have massive size differences between sexes?? But not sure about at 2 weeks already???) Like I said they are both active, and if I had to guess based on personality they are both healthy. However, the puffiness has got me worrying, and today when I was feeling the small ones back i noticed that just at the base of her back there was a spot that when I stroked it she would twitch a little bit, or seem uncomfortable. I pushed the feathers aside and the skin is very red in that spot. I almost thought she was bleeding, but its just very red. Her legs also seem far apart but I cant tell if its just because she is so round. She looks like a tiny round little puff ball while the other one looks more "duck-shaped" if that makes any sense. Is this something I should be worried about at two weeks? Also the first time I changed the bedding after two days I noticed some mold at the bottom. I guess I need to change it every day? Please any info would really help, I'm very worried and scared of losing another one...the two seem to just love eachother!! The little ones poop also seemed watery but I guess both of theirs can be different throughout the day...

    So to recap:
    -Is it normal at two weeks for their to be such a vast size difference between two ducklings from the same brood?
    -Is their any explanation for why one would be very round and "puffy" while the other is lean and long?
    -Do ducklings usually act sick when something is going wrong or will they continue to be extremely active and eat well through some problems?
    -What could the very red skin patch mean?

    Thanks so much for your input! Could try to post photos too if anyone thinks that might help.

    NOTE: the ducks in my profile picture are NOT the ones I'm talking about, those were the scovies I had two years ago at 4 weeks old, just to spare anyone the confusion!!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  2. zeberman

    zeberman In the Brooder

    Mar 23, 2013
    Sorry I know I'm going on about this, but I just picked up the little girl to feel what was going on with her being so puffy and I have a little more info. She is definitely retaining fluid or something, her neck and back are puffed out i can feel the skin which is somewhat taut and then press down another 1/2 inch or so. Its very easy to press in, not at all "hard" feeling. almost feels like a somewhat deflated balloon like there is air under the skin. I think that is what the red area is, broken blood vessels or just that you can see the blood vessels since the skin is being stretched. Imaging a frog with his cheeks puffed out, kinda like that. I have never seen this before, its freaking me out but doesn't seem to be bothering her except when i touch her lower back....Has anyone EVER experienced anything like this or know what it could be???
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I haven't seen this with mine, but I have a couple of suggestions.

    Be sure the brooder temperature is about 75 to 80F, not warmer.

    Take the current bedding out, replace it with old towels for now, and those will need to be replaced at least daily. You can put some compressed sawdust pellets under the towels to absorb extra water.

    Take a look at the Raising Ducklings Sticky (the Sticky link is at the top of the Duck Forum) - go over the basics.

    A photo would be great.

    Do they get to drill around in the soil, and so get some grit into their tummies? That is important if you are feeding anything but the bagged feed.

    It is not typical for same-age, same-breed ducklings to have extreme differences in growth rates.

    Could she have come into contact with the heat lamp?

    What is the temperature in the brooder?

    Have they had access to bathing water (no soap, and the same temperature as the brooder)?
  4. zeberman

    zeberman In the Brooder

    Mar 23, 2013
    theres so much different info everywhere, sometimes not sure which way to go with everything but I do have storeys guide to raising ducks, and have read the basic care for ducklings thread on this site too. I think the metal tub may have been the problem I noticed them trying to chip off the sides of the tub with their beaks, so I have changed to a plastic tub. temperature of 81 degrees F. bedding changes daily whenever wet. I just started a molasses nutritional yeast flush to detoxify in case they have metal toxicity. maybe why she was growing slower? it was a galvanized metal tub lined with plastic...dont think she came in contact with the lamp at any point its hung 1 1/2 ft from the top of the brooder. theyve been swimming 2-3 times a day in a clean baby pool the water was probably colder than the brooder. should i only bathe them in warm water? any ideas about metal toxicity and could that make her retain h20? i also have been taking them out foraging. too soon? havent read much info on that matter. thanks for your response. i have been hanging out with her a bit and she seems very energetic just like the boy, and very hungry too[​IMG]

    not the best photo, but the little one on the right you can see how much smaller and rounder she is while his body is more flat and long. you can see the extreme difference in head and beak size alone.

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