Waterproofing

jesspotato

In the Brooder
Sep 9, 2020
16
18
23
I have a very special duck who has lots of mobility problems. We’ve been to the vet for blood work and x rays with no explanation. We’ve decided as long as she’s able to swim, eat and get around (which she can just very, very slowly) that we’ll keep and eye on her and make sure she’s happy and doing the best she can.
I think though that she’s having trouble waterproofing her feathers because she has such bad balance she can’t get to the feathers around her bum. Is there some way I can help her? I’m afraid she’s going to be too cold this winter otherwise!!!
 

Duck mommy 2019

Crowing
Apr 1, 2019
2,607
4,197
321
if you have a small area in your house you can make a small setup to keep her (and a buddy if she is healthy enough to be with other ducks) in overwinter. doesn’t have to be very big just so she can stay warm
 

Isaac 0

Enabler
5 Years
Jul 19, 2016
24,258
99,071
1,331
Iowa
Waterfowl with motility problems do often develop secondary conditions due to lack of activity caused by the main condition. A lot of these birds with leg problems, develop sticky eyes, wet feather, unmaintained dirt vents, and sores on their keels due to excessive prolonged pressure on hard grounds. If their special needs are not established and met, they often pass due to a combination of problems.

It's likely that your bird is developing poor feather condition because she is not getting in the water enough. Treatment of wet feather is generally straightforward and consists of allowing the duck to bathe daily to encourage proper preening habits. Once cold weather sets in it can be hard to treat wet feather as oftentimes once the birds get out of the water their soaked to the point where hypothermia can develop. During warm days letting her bathe in water would be good, if needed you can blow dry her feather with the grain to help encourage drying.

During cold days, instead of putting her in water, it may be better to just gently mist her feathers to help keep them clean. Massaging her oil gland with a warm compress to help keep it active, and ensuring she is being fed a diet formulated for waterfowl/ or all poultry would be good.
 

jesspotato

In the Brooder
Sep 9, 2020
16
18
23
Waterfowl with motility problems do often develop secondary conditions due to lack of activity caused by the main condition. A lot of these birds with leg problems, develop sticky eyes, wet feather, unmaintained dirt vents, and sores on their keels due to excessive prolonged pressure on hard grounds. If their special needs are not established and met, they often pass due to a combination of problems.

It's likely that your bird is developing poor feather condition because she is not getting in the water enough. Treatment of wet feather is generally straightforward and consists of allowing the duck to bathe daily to encourage proper preening habits. Once cold weather sets in it can be hard to treat wet feather as oftentimes once the birds get out of the water their soaked to the point where hypothermia can develop. During warm days letting her bathe in water would be good, if needed you can blow dry her feather with the grain to help encourage drying.

During cold days, instead of putting her in water, it may be better to just gently mist her feathers to help keep them clean. Massaging her oil gland with a warm compress to help keep it active, and ensuring she is being fed a diet formulated for waterfowl/ or all poultry would be good.
Thank you for that thorough reply!!! If I bring her inside for a swim in the tub, give her a blow dry and bring her back outside, would that be an issue in the winter? Like coming inside where it’s warm for 20-30 minutes then going out in the cold? Maybe do that 3x a week and then give her a mist on other days? She’s on an All Flock diet with added niacin, peas and other veg for treats daily and minnows 1-2x a month. The other 3 ducks seem perfectly fine- big, healthy, strong. I’m thinking about making a cart for her, because when I hold her up and support her weight she can walk- her legs feel strong and she can flap her wings with gusto (sometimes when I carry her she flap flap flaps like she’s flying- she’s got muscles!!) I wish I knew what was wrong with her 😢
 

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Isaac 0

Enabler
5 Years
Jul 19, 2016
24,258
99,071
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Iowa
Bringing her inside, letting her bathe, then blowdrying her off until dry would be great. When you do blow-dry, avoid blowing against her feathers. Blow with the grain. Then mist on the days where you don't feel like bringing her in, correct.

Your vet took radiographs and did blood work, so I'm under the assumption, the vet and you have ruled out the chance of heavy metal poisoning, correct?

Did her leg problems develop suddenly, or over a long course of time? Is there any swelling, discoloration, going on in the leg?
 

jesspotato

In the Brooder
Sep 9, 2020
16
18
23
Bringing her inside, letting her bathe, then blowdrying her off until dry would be great. When you do blow-dry, avoid blowing against her feathers. Blow with the grain. Then mist on the days where you don't feel like bringing her in, correct.

Your vet took radiographs and did blood work, so I'm under the assumption, the vet and you have ruled out the chance of heavy metal poisoning, correct?

Did her leg problems develop suddenly, or over a long course of time? Is there any swelling, discoloration, going on in the leg?
We did check for heavy metal tox- no lead or zinc. And nothing shiny on her rads. Her bloods were remarkably unremarkable! It’s been progressing over the last few months- legs look and feel normal. And if I put my hand under her feet she feels strong when she pushes against me. I wonder if it’s something congenital or neuro. It’s so sad to see her have such a hard time, but she likes to eat, she likes to swim and she nips at anyone who does something she doesn’t like, so she’s got some spunk! I’m really worried about her trying to lay an egg- I feel like that might be what does her in 😞
 

KaleIAm

Free Ranging
6 Years
Jul 13, 2015
3,220
9,398
701
Carnation, Wa
I'm sorry your duck is having problems. I know how heart breaking that can be. I have a similar issue with one of my ducks and I understand what you are going through.

Our root causes are different, but I wanted to give you some support. My duck, Thimbleberry, doesn't have any mobility issues - she's just 7 soon and doesn't preen well because she is a bit lazy.

We take away Thimbleberry's regular pool in the winter, and even keep her and her friends under a covered space so she doesn't get rained on. But Thimble is a very exuberant drinker. She dunks her head and splashes water all down her back. Then her feathers get frozen because it takes her hours to dry and she does it several times daily. I can't take water away from her.

Unfortunately I have to bring her inside when it gets very cold - my avian vet recommend it. I keep her in a bathroom lined with towels and leave the window cracked so she doesn't get acclimated to indoor temperatures. She really doesn't like being inside - she gets stressed and eats less. Fortunately where we live, near Seattle, it doesn't get very cold for long.

Hopefully your duck doesn't splash herself with water! My other 2 aren't quite so ridiculously splashy.
 
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jesspotato

In the Brooder
Sep 9, 2020
16
18
23
I'm sorry your duck is having problems. I know how heart breaking that can be. I have a similar issue with one of my ducks and I understand what you are going through.

Our root causes are different, but I wanted to give you some support. My duck, Thimbleberry, doesn't have any mobility issues - she's just 7 soon and doesn't preen well because she is a bit lazy.

We take away Thimbleberry's regular pool in the winter, and even keep her and her friends under a covered space so she doesn't get rained on. But Thimble is a very exuberant drinker. She dunks her head and splashes water all down her back. Then her feathers get frozen because it takes her hours to dry and she does it several times daily. I can't take water away from her.

Unfortunately I have to bring her inside when it gets very cold - my avian recommend it. I keep her in a bathroom lined with towels and leave the window cracked so she doesn't get acclimated to indoor temperatures. She really doesn't like being inside - she gets stressed and eats less. Fortunately where we live, near Seattle, it doesn't get very cold for long.

Hopefully your duck doesn't splash herself with water! My other 2 aren't quite so ridiculously splashy.
She’s very mellow compared to her sister- she really doesn’t splash much unless she’s swimming. I’m afraid to bring her in and have her get stressed because she’s already small, I don’t think she can afford to get much smaller. I’m going to try and bring her in occasionally for swimming and then give her a nice blow dry, hopefully that will do the trick for the winter! ❤️
 

KaleIAm

Free Ranging
6 Years
Jul 13, 2015
3,220
9,398
701
Carnation, Wa
She’s very mellow compared to her sister- she really doesn’t splash much unless she’s swimming. I’m afraid to bring her in and have her get stressed because she’s already small, I don’t think she can afford to get much smaller. I’m going to try and bring her in occasionally for swimming and then give her a nice blow dry, hopefully that will do the trick for the winter! ❤️
I'm glad she's not an exuberant drinking splasher, like Thimble! That'll make things a lot nicer! I'm really hoping we don't have a lot of freezing days this year.

Isaac gives really good advice. Keep us updated on how she is doing, please.
 

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