Thin runner ducks and goose- Youngest runner the sickest.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by AbbeyRoad, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. AbbeyRoad

    AbbeyRoad In the Brooder

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    Hi All,

    I started my flock in June with 3 adult (1-2 yrs old, already laying) female runner mixes off Craiglists, two young white runners (one male and one female -who just started laying in Nov) also picked up from CL.

    Everything has been great. Everyone was eating flock raiser crumbles from TSC, girls have free access to oyster shells, everyone was laying great! It was gangbuster egg laying before I left for 10 days over thanksgiving.

    The ducks spend the night in a box stall with food and water. Spend most the daylight hours in a fenced yard while we are home. Husband works from home and I am home as well.

    I got a pair of Sebby geese (adult, bonded pair) in Oct. They have their own stall at night, but co-mingle in the yard during the day.
    I noticed the male goose doesn't eat very well, he is always standing guard, shooing away the ducks from the female goose. I got scratch grains per his previous owners advice. I started feeding a head of romaine or other greens at night in their stall.

    I was away for the 10 days and just got back to find the youngest female runner, who just started laying looking very thin and dropping her thawed green peas. We caught her up yesterday and found out how thin. I also caught up another thin looking runner, but not nearly as bad as the youngest white runner. Her keel is very pronounced, boney around her eyes. Her vent was distended, red. I brought her to the local avian vet. We gave fluids and tried to work a rubbery egg out. After a few tries and not getting it, but with her perking up, I headed home.

    When I got home, she had laid the rubbery egg. I have her in an extra bathroom with an open kennel, towels and tons of food options.

    Today i swam her in warm baths for approx 30 mins multiple times. She will only eat freeze dried meal worms and some lettuce. She is drinking when in the tub. I have water, green peas, oyster shells, leafy greens, flock raiser, scratch grains and broken up eggs shells offered. She did eat one crushed up egg shell yesterday night. But today I could only get her to willing to eat meal worms. She is very aggressive with her meal worm eating. She sits in her kennel most of the time, but will be active if encouraged.

    What else can I do? What can I do about the male goose refusing to eat. I'm concerned that there is something I am doing wrong for the whole flock and the youngest, newest layer is showing it the worst.

    Doc did not think checking her calcium levels would help. She did not give her an inj of calcium. she did not take an xray. But I do not feel another egg today.

    Her face seems brighter, but I need her to eat more than meal worms. I could tube feed her, as I am a retired vet tech and done it with other birds. I was thinking just crushed up food, water, maybe some vitamins.

    Any help with what the issues might be, and how to fix them would be great.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    What was going on for ten days while you were gone?
     
  3. AbbeyRoad

    AbbeyRoad In the Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2013
    I had my duck/house/cat sitter stay. She had watched them before, but not for as long as a time. She was supposed to do what I do, feedings, outside time etc.

    I have a feeling that the ducks may have gotten only scratch grain instead of their flock crumbles from the amount missing from the bags and the left overs in their bowls. That might explain some weight loss. It was a really cold snap the time we were away as well.

    Female white runner was looking more perky when I got home from TSC to pick up layer pellets and vitamins. She obviously got into her water bowl, ate more greens and worms. Hopefully she is on the rebound.

    Would orchard grass/hay be a good addition for the geese/ducks since a lot of the yard's grass is not so happy with the weather.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    Don't know about the geese, Miss Lydia, Haunted55, and several others here have them, though.

    And I have read that some folks put a little mini-bale or pile of hay in a corner for their ducks to get at this time of year. I just would watch as it can get moldy - you probably know that already.

    It really did seem like a case of dehydration or malnutrition or both to me based on the fact you had been away, but I cannot rule out anything, such as a virus or bacterial infection. Still, if she is responding to nutrition, that is a big clue.

    Keep the fresh water and high-nutrient foods and anything she will eat coming. Runners don't have much margin, as you know, with such lean little bodies. And a laying duck has even less.

    Do what you can to reduce any stress on them for a while - if there is a way to keep them warmer, give them extra TLC, I would do so.
     
  5. AbbeyRoad

    AbbeyRoad In the Brooder

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    So the youngest runner has been inside almost a week now. She has laid 3 normal shelled eggs since her rubber egg. She is eating wet cat food, meal worms, broken duck eggs,greens, thawed corn and peas. All topped with liquid vitamins. I have offered layer pellets and flock crumbles. She is not interested in either, just picks through for the goodies. I put her outside with the rest of the gang because this is the warmest day we have had in a while

    The rest of the flock has gone off their pellets too. They will eat thawed peas/corn, broken duck eggs, meal worms and some times fish food pellets. They are not clearing their food bowl like they did in the summer. Is this a winter thing?

    What foods can I offer to fatten them up?

    I am going to offer dry cat food to the flock today.

    I read corn on another thread. Is that dry corn in a bag from TSC? Not talking ears of corn, right?

    I am going to get more meal worms. Can they just have a big bowl of those?

    Is chick raiser or another life stage food better for thinner birds? With cats in veterinary world we feed kitten food to cats to get them over a thin hump.

    Would a heat lamp in their stall help? The barn stays warmer than outside but not super warm.

    I'm worried about them being spoiled with treats will keep them off the pellets, but worried if i don't, they will get too thin.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    Seems to me you are dealing with the part of duck rearing that is as much art as science, and here is where I feel each flock is unique.

    Corn - some don't feed it at all for various reasons (GMOs, aflatoxin, low nutrient content). Some feed it as a treat. I know there is some in the organic layer feed I buy, but my long term plan is to develop a way to get feed that does not contain corn, and if I want to feed it as a treat, find a local source.

    There is some debate about heat lamps - fire risk, temperature extremes, and something Going Quackers recently pointed out, which is, what happens if the electricity goes out in the middle of the night? And many people use heat lamps. Do you know how cold it gets in the barn? I like using a min-max thermometer. Tells me in the morning how cold it was last night.

    Right now I would be less worried about spoiling them than getting good nourishment into them, and it looks like you are doing that. [​IMG]

    If everyone is going off the pellets, they could be experiencing appetite fatigue, or there could be something odd going on with the pellets.

    First - the sniff test - is the feed even the least bit moldy? If so, don't feed it. If it is recently opened you may be able to return it for credit.

    If the feed seems fine to you, I would try moistening it (take it up after half a day to prevent mold), consider trying some fermented feed - instructions can be found somewhere on BYC, try a search in the archives.

    Or mix in some of the treats.

    That's about all I can come up with right now. Feel I missed something, but please let me know if I did . . .
     
  7. ducklover87

    ducklover87 Songster

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    Amiga has given great helpful tips as always. But just to add in something, have you added anything to there water? Any vitamins? Apple cider vinegar? Niacin? Anything like that? Could be they are lacking a vitamin.
     
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  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

  9. AbbeyRoad

    AbbeyRoad In the Brooder

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    Sorry for the disappearance. My parents moved in with us, so it has been a bit hectic to say the least.

    The male goose has picked up his eating and looks better. His keel still feels pointy, but I'm happier now that they are clearing their bowls at night and I have seen him eating more outside.

    I enlarged their yard space to enclose a good size patch of non dead grass.

    I monitored the stall temps, seems that they have been holding at least 10-15 degrees F warmer than outside temps at night. So, that is good as we only have gotten really cold once or twice with this big US freeze.

    I have been giving TSC vitamins every week or so, i mix it up between three types i bought. One powder to sprinkle on food, and two other liquids- more rooster based, but appears to have nictin in it. I did catch everyone up and put some directly in each of their mouths per the instructions of the liquid vitamins.
    I did add two types of brewers yeast to their swimming pools and outside food today.

    The female runner still looks terrible. She runs around and eats/drinks, but looks thin, unkempt, just unthrifty appearance in general. She was laying every 2 days when she was inside. Now with the 3 other girls, it is hard to keep track of who is laying what, but I am getting a good supply of eggs from them (except the day after the super cold night.)

    I have been supplying lots of food options, meal worms, sprouted sunflower seeds and corn, cat food. layer pellets, flock raiser crumbles, oyster shells (which they clean the bowl every night), broken egg shells.

    My male runner has lost his drake feathers a month or so ago and has no regrown them- is that a sign of other issues?

    I am going to get some dewormers and try that. That is my only thought left, that she is eating but not getting all the nutrients. We do have earthworms in the yard and she is the most aggressive on catching them. I read they can be a big problem with infestation. Start with fenbendazole paste and then try ivermectin was my game plan unless some one suggests otherwise.

    Also saw my other female runner duck catch and eat a mouse- not sure the cross over of mouse to duck parasites.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    Sounds like you are covering a bunch of bases - generally when I give vitamins, I do it every other day for a few days. But I have not had the challenges you have right now, just thinking out loud.

    I also have not had to deworm the ducks, and I know that's needed from time to time. Wish I could offer some really good insight. But I can offer you some moral support, and say that it's so good to see you caring so much for these ducks.

    [​IMG]

    Some parasites can infect multiple species, don't know specifics.
     

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