Weak duckling...sorry, long post

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Tenitram, May 22, 2011.

  1. Tenitram

    Tenitram Hatching

    May 13, 2011
    I am quite new to ducks, having just incubated duck eggs for the second time (chickens once before as well). I am a second grade teacher and I love to do a hatching project with my students. I am always careful to have a wonderful home waiting for the babies before I get started. The first time I hatched ducks, I had to keep them myself for about three months before they could go to their new home (a long story in itself), and I just fell in love with them. That was two years ago and I still miss them.

    My new ducklings started hatching almost a week ago. Throughout the incubation, temperature and humidity were very close to target. Out of 10 fertile eggs, one quit about 10 days early, one pipped but died in the egg in just a few hours, and 7 hatched normally. The last one pipped but didn't make any progress for a very long time. A day and a half after the last of the others were all up and running, I could see the last egg was drying out and the little guy was really stuck, so I helped him out. (Probably a big mistake, but I couldn't help myself, as many of you can understand...)

    He was very weak and I was convinced he wouldn't survive, but after a night alone in the incubator, the next morning he was on his feet yelling to get out! He seemed so happy to join the other ducks in the brooder! That first day he started to drink but wouldn't eat and by the end of the day he was looking very weak. That evening I gave him vitamin/electrolyte water with an eyedropper (thanks to this forum) and the next morning he was stronger and had started eating. (They're getting gamebird starter with 24% protein and vitamin/electrolyte water for the 3rd day now.)

    It has been up and down all along. Each morning, he looks stronger than the night before, but by the end of the day he seems weak again. He eats only a small fraction of what the others eat and he hasn't grown much. The others are now huge in comparison. I've tried to get him to eat chopped up dandylion leaves in his water, but he doesn't seem to get it. (I think he can see okay...) He walks okay although he moves slowly. Every time he eats and drinks, he sits back on his rump and hesitates like that for quite a while (he looks like a penguin).

    I have the ducklings at home with me for the weekend, but I'll take them back to school Monday morning. I might leave the little one home with a couple of the others to avoid unnecessary stress on him. (I'm sure he would be miserable all alone.)

    School will be out in just a few days, and the plan is to take the ducklings to their new home soon. They will be going to a farm with a pond, other ducks, chickens,... They can be in a brooder as long as needed there, but unless the little one is much better by then, I think I'll keep him and a friend or two with me for a while longer.

    Sorry this is so long. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. dumb_cluck

    dumb_cluck Songster

    Mar 26, 2010
    Upstate NY
    Sounds like you are doing everything you can. He may take a while to get with the program and he may stay small. Helping him out of the shell may have caused a bit of trauma, but if he is still alive after a few days, he should make it. Good luck!
  3. tia

    tia Songster

    Apr 19, 2009
    Valdez, Alaska
    Good luck. I helped one recently. I left it in the incubator a day longer. Then also kept him with just one other duckling that seemed to be enough as they become pretty attached to each other. I used vitamins and electrolytes in the water. Mine had trouble with its legs so I tied them together in two places. He had lots of energy and I finally put him in with the other ducks. It didn't seem like he was eating much the first couple of days, but it didn't take him long to start eating. I was finally able to take the string off his legs. He left on Friday with the rest of the ducks for their new home. I let them know to keep an eye on him. People suggested Poly-Vi-Sol (without iron) My little guy wasn't too good at taking things from the dropper and seemed to have enough energy, so I never did get any of that into him, but the vitamins with electrolytes seemed to be enough to get him going. Good luck with your little one.
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    It sounds like you're doing everything you can, and they're all the right things. Not to be a downer, but weak ducklings often don't make it for long, so he may not last for you, but in the mean time you're giving him a good life, so kudoes to you for that.

    All the suggestions offered so far are good--poly-vi-sol may help him, and just plenty of rest and companionship. Good luck with him. Looking forward to updates.
  5. Tenitram

    Tenitram Hatching

    May 13, 2011
    "Rest" is another challenge right now. The other ducklings are so much more active than the little one and every little movement wakes him up, so it looks like he doesn't get much rest. I think I'll try separating him from the others a little, maybe with just a friend or two if he's too stressed. He always looks exhausted.

    Last night I picked him up and held him against my chest and he immediately fell fast asleep.
  6. DuckyMom

    DuckyMom Chirping

    Sep 7, 2010
    Upstate NY
    I think everything has been covered, just keep an eye on him, be sure the other ducklings arent trampling him, make sure he can reach the food and water and I would definatly use the Poly-Vi-Sol.
    We recieved a duckling with quite the case of wry neck.He had quite a few bald spots and he was not doing too well. After a week on Poly-Vi-Sol, along with some TLC, his head is on streight, and you cant even tell him from the other ducklings!
    I might recomend removing he and one other duckling and giving them a seperate brooder, this will lower his chances of being trampled (that could allow him alittle extra sleep) and also make it easier to keep an eye on him.

    Good luck
  7. Tenitram

    Tenitram Hatching

    May 13, 2011
    I'll get the Poli-Vi-Sol today. I should give him a drop each day for a while, if I understand correctly. Please let me know if that isn't right.

    Thanks, everyone!

  8. 1234duck

    1234duck Songster

    Sorry about your little one, I hope he snaps out of whatever it is thats got him slowed down. How old is the little one? Good luck, ~Julie~
  9. Tenitram

    Tenitram Hatching

    May 13, 2011
    He's four days old. He doesn't seem quite as weak to me this evening--I hope it's not just my wishful thinking. I saw him slide off the pile of ducklings and land on his back, and he was able to get up on his feet right away! I'm taking that as a good sign.

    I just got some Poly-Vi-Sol in him, so maybe that will help.

    I appreciate having people to share all this with and to get advice from. This is such a great forum.

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