So those of you that are raising ducklings might often experience problems with niacin deficiency in your babies. In my experience, it seems to be Muscovies that have the biggest problem here, not exactly sure why. In any case, I have dealt with plenty of ducklings dragging their feet around and I have tried many different ways of getting them niacin... some were less effective than others. The most common advice is to just put niacin into the water that they drink, but I've found out that this is not as simple as it sounds. You can't control how much they drink and you cannot count on their complete cooperation. Even if they do drink it it usually takes longer to be effective. If you're dealing with wild ducks, as I am, it's even harder to do it this way because the water I give them is not the only water available to them and I can't make them drink what I put in front of them. I have literally chased a limping duck around with a bowl of niacin water trying to get them to drink. It was exhausting, but when you're dealing with one afflicted duck sometimes it can still be done, albeit slowly. All of a sudden I had three batches of babies coming by and out of 32 ducklings, 10 of them had niacin problems. I started looking for a different method of delivering each of them their daily dose and finally I have found one that works very well and is much easier! Niacin Pill-Pockets What you'll need: - 100mg Niacin TABLETS (NOT time-release capsules) - Pill cutter - Small container or bowl - Water - Liquid syringe/ dropper (optional) - Meat cleaver or hammer, or something similar you can crush the niacin with - Bread - Plastic baggy with zip-lock top Okay, so I know bread is not good for ducks, but one small piece a day until their deficiency is treated will not hurt them. Just like you would trick a dog into taking its heartworm medicine by hiding it in a piece of cheese or meat, all we're going to do here is trick our duck into eating a dab of niacin paste hidden inside a piece of bread. Pretty simple. It can be whatever kind of bread you know your duck will eat. I use white bread. Make sure the bread is fresh and not stale because its easier to work with and the harder the little pill pocket is, the less likely the duck is going to want to eat it. To make the paste: Crush up 5 or 6 tablets of 100mg niacin (which can be found at health food stores like Chamberlain's, I think maybe Whole Foods might even have them) –– you can adjust that amount to how much you actually need, of course... but if you're dealing with a group 5 or 6 tablets should do. You can do this anyway you know how. It's basically same thing you have to do when you're putting it in their water. Here's how I do it –– I take a pill cutter and cut it in half, then into fours, so you're left with little triangle pieces like this: Then I put them on a paper plate, or whatever you'd like, take your meat cleaver or hammer and press down on them with the triangle tip facing up and the rounded side on the bottom (they're just easier to crush that way). I crush them down to as fine a powder as I can and then put the powder into a little plastic container. For the next step I use an oral syringe to put the water in, so that if I accidentally put too much I can then use the syringe to suck some of it out. It doesn't suck up too much of the niacin, but it gets a little, so I usually put that water aside and use it for my next batch. If you don't have a syringe like mine and aren't interested in finding one, you can do it without but you'll have to be much more careful when adding the water, because if it's too wet it won't work. Here's the syringe I use: Some of you might have one lying around somewhere. You can probably find them at drug stores. Now the consistency of the paste should be thick, but it should still have enough moisture to make little imprint lines with your spoon. Then take a small piece of bread and put a dab of the paste in there –– you decide how much. You can always use more if you feel like the dose isn't effective enough. For smaller ducklings, use smaller amounts. For those young adult ducks, particularly the big boys if you've got muscovies, make the dab a little bigger. Then fold the bread over like a pie pastry and squeeze the end to make sure it doesn't come apart. If you're making multiple pill pockets at once make sure you put them in a plastic zip lock bag IMMEDIATELY so they stay soft! Like I said earlier, ducks don't like a stale wad of bread. Close the bag every time you put another one in. Keep 'em fresh. and you're ready to feed it to your duck! Keep track of when your duck gets the dose to make sure you don't skip a day. Improvement usually happens faster than it would by putting it in the water. For the younger ones, if they start out having niacin problems then they're more prone to keep having issues until they mature a little more. I usually just continue giving them the niacin until I feel like they're old enough and its safe to discontinue. However one time I stopped treating a male muscovy who was right on the cusp of adulthood, pretty much full size, and he started having the problem again, so I started giving it to him again until he was a full adult. Don't feel bad about the daily piece of bread, it's usually not for very long and I like to use very small pieces. It's just something I know they'll eat and it will stay together long enough to go down. I've tried the same concept with feed and it just doesn't work. Hope this helps anyone who gets as many frustrating cases of niacin leg as I do!