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Special needs duckling...needs help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Borncountry419, May 13, 2011.

  1. Borncountry419

    Borncountry419 Chillin' With My Peeps

    One of my Call ducklings hatched with an unfortunate defect. The knee joint of one leg seems to be fused in place. Unfortunately I don't have the heart to put the little guy down. He acts completely normal otherwise, but he does seem to have a problem with uprighting himself when he flips over. If I can make it past the back flip stage (he's 24 hours old), I'll think he'll be fine. But I've been running over there to upright him about once every two hours, when I hear the distress cheeps. Is there any way I can prevent him from doing this, or should I just keep my fingers crossed?

    Thanks so much!

    P.s. Is there a reason that the better "type" ducklings seem less hardy? The chunkier ones with shorter bills don't do as well... I had one hatch with a head that was enlarged, and fatty or full of fluid. He acted like a child with downs, and passed a few hours after hatching. I have another shorter billed duckling that isn't growing as quickly, and occasionally does this gasping for breath thing. My incubator variables were far from ideal with both hatches, but it seems to be the more "typey" ones that were affected. The parents are not related, and the hens have shorter bills than the drakes do.
  2. DuckyMom

    DuckyMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    Upstate NY
    I don't know much about calls but my runner Frances injured her leg, causing the joints to fuse.
    I would recomend lots of time in the water (once he's alittle older.) but as for now your best bet is too keep him safe, warm, and happy.
    Keep an eye on him and don't let him get trampled.
    Make sure he is getting enough food, water and vitamins.
    And the most importaint thing is to keep him emotionally healthy (I know it sounds crazy, but as long as he wants to get better he most likley will.)
    Lots of love and attention for him!
    This could be something that improves with proper care and nutrition, Hatching can be hard on a duckling. (Sometimes the come out alittle..."off")

    Good luck
  3. Borncountry419

    Borncountry419 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well actually the main issue is him not being able to right himself correctly with one leg. So when he flips over, I have to run to the rescue. The "down syndrome" duckling passed on when he was on his back. [​IMG] Hopefully this lil guy will manage. He's the most lovable and curious out of all of them. Thanks for the input! [​IMG]
  4. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    If the leg seems fused- it could be because the tendon has slipped- or even that the joint is dislocated. I have had a few hatch from the egg with this happening. By the time they are hatched- there really is nothing that can be done to fix it. The hock joint - how it fits together- is often deformed because of the bones being soft - and trying to fix the dislocation in such a tiny baby would more likely kill it from pain or shock. If it is just the tendon- that can be fixed in some cases-It is a matter of forcing the tendon back into place and strapping the leg so that it can heal. The tendon may slip a few times. I have seen a goose operated on to stitch the tendon- and the leg then had plaster on it. It was a severe case.

    Being such a small breed of duck is a good thing for when he is fully grown with only one working leg. They can have other issues from weight bearing on one leg- so being small he may not go through some of the issues I have had with some of the ones I have cared for. Exercising the foot on the bad leg is important for blood flow as well as to stop the muscles from shrinking.

    My daughter made a little round support for Ollie when he was smaller. It was kind of like a big donut - he sat in the middle to restrict movement- something like that may be of benefit to your little one- just make sure it can still get at food and water.
  5. Borncountry419

    Borncountry419 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hmm. Very good idea! And he/she is a blue fawn, so I'd love for him to stay around. Since the drakes are blue phase snowy and pastel, with the hens being blue fawn and light phase blue fawn/apricot, I REALLY want a blue fawn drake. So far only two of the ducklings have been blue fawn, the rest are gray, snowy, blue phase snowy, pastel, and somhow white(?). We'll see how it works out. Do you, or anyone, know if this disability could come from incubator variables? I had forgotten about the first hatch date, and thus went into lockdown while the other eggs were 3/4 through development. I didn't turn them for several days, the temperature and humidity fluctuated, and etc. Could that cause the strange ducklings?
  6. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    Turning is quite possibly the major cause of this happening. I have cared for hatchery ducklings with this problem as well- so it can just be a deformity that happens once in so many hundred or thousand hatched. But if you consider how tight they are in the egg... If they are trying to move - but the egg hasnt been rotated - it will be much harder for them , and in the struggle to move, the leg dislocates - or with the strain- the tendon slips. More commonly the tendon will slip once they have hatched- and that is a dietary issue.

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