still have lameness in ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ruralmom, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. ruralmom

    ruralmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have four Welsh Harliquins that I hatched out from another BYC member and am very happy with then. They are approx. 6 weeks old. I noticed about two weeks ago the female not as strong as the other ones. She had previously been up to speed with her siblings till then. She does not bear her weight, waddles on the whole length of her legs, uses bill and wing tips to stay upright, and one webbed foot stays folded. I had asked around and was given the advice to try to increase intake of Niacin since ducks need more than chickens. Started them off with a game starter food then switched to flock raiser. The ducklings have had electrolyes with vitamins(including niacin) and brewers yeast in the feed now for a week. Two days ago the female's sibling started showing signs of leg weakness, shaky legs, dropped tail and difficulty supporting it's own weight. No change in the females condition. Just completed their pen with a large black poly kidney shaped pool that allows them to swim without touching the bottom. I am kind of a loose on what to do now - except being more patient. I would love to hear from anyone. I am trying to put the female in the pool as kind of a therapy. She cannot get in or out by herselp I have to pick her up. Her thighs or 'drumstick' area is, I think, very poorly developed. Any suggestions.
     
  2. Red Maple Farms

    Red Maple Farms Wish Granted

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    As you have discovered, niacin is not the "cure all" that is touted here. Unfortunately if your ducks had recovered due to other reasons, the myth of niacin as a "cure all" would have prevailed.

    In the summer, it is best to make sure there is no moldy feed lying around. In our coop, the ducks spill a lot of wet feed, and it starts to ferment and draw flies. The ducks will then eat it if they get hungry enough. This can be a source of botulism, or more specifically avian botulism type C. If I get lazy and fail to clean up the fermenting mess, one or two ducklings will go lame. When it is cleaned up there are no problems.

    Of course the problem could be something other than that. I'm making a guess based on very little information.
     
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    If the problem is a niacin deficiency, it usually clears up very quickly after improving their intake, so it sounds like you probably have something else going on here. I too have had an experience with spoiled feed causing symptoms similar to your description, so that's definitely something to look into. In my case, it wasn't anything visible--the feed was left over from the previous year and in my inexperience I didn't realize that it would spoil. It looked fine, smelled fine, and the ducks seemed to like it fine, but within a few days of offering it to them, they began displaying the symptoms you describe and gradually it spread through the flock. It only went on for a few days before I figured it out. As soon as I switched their feed, they improved within a day, except one who was too far gone and died the following day. All the others recovered very quickly.

    There are so many potential causes, and it's very difficult to diagnose remotely. If you have a copy of Holderread's guide (Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks), there is a section that lists potential causes of lameness, and you could see what fits most closely. Of course, better yet if you know a good avian vet who could have a look.

    I'm sorry you're experiencing that. It's so hard to watch them struggle, and even worse when we don't know how to help. I hope you're able to find a solution quickly. Good luck.
     
  4. ruralmom

    ruralmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am having to feed her indoors due to inability to get out of the duck house and it has straw bedding that I change out the wet stuff about every other day, I could be better at the yard cleanup. With the new pond area it has doubled their yard and may make cleaning easier. Possible a layer of sand will help with drainage and less wetness in the yard. I am using wood chips around the pond so there is good ventilation and drainage. Thank you for your suggestions and I will look into the Storey book.
     
  5. L0rraine

    L0rraine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2009
    Whidbey Island
    One thing that I do with mine (adults or babies), when they seem to be limping or struggling, is isolate them in their own area where they have clean, dry bedding and can have easy access to food and fresh water. I have an indoor dog run which works well for this, but have also just fenced them into their own section of the run. I have some portable 'houses' that I can move in so they have cover at night. I almost always see improvement in a few days, though it does sound like your symptoms are likely something worse than what I normally deal with (i.e., beginnings of bumblefoot, strained muscles?, or just weaker ducklings that have a hard time competing with the rest of their siblings). They usually aren't keen on being separated from the rest of the flock (and all the other ducks are usually concerned about what's happening to them), but it does seem to give them a better opportunity to heal and gain strength -- and sometimes I allow them one 'buddy' so they aren't totally isolated in the process.
     
  6. Red Maple Farms

    Red Maple Farms Wish Granted

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    Quote:I think I had a problem similar to what you described. I bought some ready made feed from the local mill in the Spring for my ducks, and within a few days they began to go lame, dragging themselves along the ground. It wasn't until I started buying my feed freshly ground in 500 pound increments, and consuming it within several weeks that the problem went away. I've also had problems with low water levels in my pond during the peak of summer, and as previously mentioned the spilled feed going rancid.

    By the way, make sure they have plenty of fresh water to drink and plenty of shade. That is about all you can do for botulism other than removing the source of the problem.
     
  7. ruralmom

    ruralmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The lame female duckling stays in the duck house all day by herself unless the other come in for shade or rest. The three siblings and the 4 call leave her alone she is usually the one wanting to go outside to see her friends. The feed I get is in 50 lbs sacks and I keep in a plastic storage tub and have no humidity or rancid issues since we have no humidity in the high desert that we live in. I fill the waterer two times a day and only give them one waterer with the vitamin in it once a day. They have access to one pond that has about 75 gallons and two small pools about two gallons each and then a waterer of vitamins. My pools are filled one to two times a day except for the 75 gallon one that was just set up two days ago. Thanks again for the support. I will send pictures of the female when I can she is a beautiful I think silver welsh harlequin. Snow white with the brown dots on the feather. Wifezilla would know better than me. Gosh, they are beauties.
     
  8. ruralmom

    ruralmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do not know what I did but she is walking!!!!! She is floating in the pond well and is now getting out of the duck house by herself. I am soooooo glad she is beautiful! Still keeping with the vitamins for a while and need to get the brewers yeast. Thanks to all for the responces and support.
     
  9. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Yay!!! [​IMG]

    Sometimes they just have a tough time for a while, and it's wonderful when they recover on their own. You know, I wonder now if maybe she suffered an injury of some sort that was not visible (bruised bones or such below the surface, or a sprain), and all the other symptoms (using her wings as crutches, etc.) just followed along with her trying to nurse her injury. Ducks tend to recover well from injuries, but it can seem to take forever some time.

    All those vitamins and the extra niacin probably helped her heal. But whatever did it, Yay!
     
  10. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I'm glad she is doing fine. I would suggest to give vitamins and niacin once per month as a preventative to all your ducks. Niacin is not a cure for all. A lack of it will cause lameness, so this is the first thing you try. Either it works, and that means we know there was a deficiency. Or it doesn't and then we have to search somewhere else. Moldy feed, even if we don't see any, can also cause lameness, but it usually progresses to worse.
     

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