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Were at a loss here...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by davekayse62, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. davekayse62

    davekayse62 In the Brooder

    May 24, 2012
    Were at a loss here. We have had such a tough run with these boys I just don’t know what to do anymore and I seriously regret getting these ducks.
    Ill try to keep this long story short….
    We have 4 male Peking ducks that are almost 2yrs old. Three of them from the start have singled one (Rubber) out, bullied him to the point of a serious leg injury/infection which kept him inside with us for almost a year. He is now back outside but in his own separate area. The other three have now ganged up on eachother to the point that they are all limping with leg injuries, one (Mighty)has a very swolen –not broken-leg is now in with Rubber who does not bother him. Mighty is on Metacam to help with the leg.
    Our other issue is with their feet…. I really don’t get this “bumble foot” and how else to prevent it other than laying down pillows & clouds for them to walk on. The interior and exterior of their pen has a THICK layer of soft dry straw down which we change out frequently, their pen is never “dirty”. Before we just had the straw inside with sand outside but because they were having feet issues we changed to straw all over. When we let them out to roam they are in the yard…in the soft grass. All of them have callus like knots on the bottom of their feet. Poor Mighty has one that is cracked (on the other leg) and very sore for him to walk on so needless to say he is pretty much immobile. Last year we purchased shoes for them but they will not keep them on.
    We are absolutely dumfounded by their aggressive behavior and the issues we have had and are still having with their feet. We really don’t know what else to do and cannot afford to keep running them back and forth to the vet, Rubbers bill alone was about 2k so far.
    Why are their feet so sensitive? How do ducks out in the wild manage? I don’t know how else to prevent this. Any advise yall could give us would be very much appreciated. Thank you

  2. gamebirdsonly

    gamebirdsonly Crowing

    Mar 5, 2007
    Well one problem you have is that their all males. It would be better to have one male and the rest females. As far as the feet can't help you there. I have had ducks and geese and have had no problems with the feet
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Oh, wow.


    I know you are working on this, being very conscientious. It's gotta be beyond frustrating.

    I will tell you what I know, and let's hope something clicks.

    Several people run a small flock of drakes and they are okay. This is not an indication that you are doing anything wrong. My experience has been that it does not matter what everyone else's ducks do. Sometimes my ducks are on their own program.

    Since this is an unusual situation, please bear with me as I think "out loud."

    How much space do they have?
    Swim time?
    How are they fed? When, how much, what, materials, etc.
    Close to a lake or pond?

    Were other animals on that property before this ducks?
    What is their day like? Walk us through a day in the life of your drakes.
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    There isn't a thing wrong with a bachelor flock, with no females about that should curb aggression. Heck, i own 7 drakes in a flock of 19, generally they get on okay, even when they don't i have only had one nasty outcome and that wasn't really the other drakes fault, he tripped while grabbing the other drake and caused him to fall hard, starting bleeding like all get out from his nares, sorta like a bloody nose, that was scary( i witnessed the entire thing obviously) he recovered and all was fine.

    I will say though, i have heard male pekins to be aggressive, how much truth their is in this statement, personally i cannot comment, never owned the breed but i again have heard of others saying such about them as their experience.

    As for this bubblefoot, my knowledge is not that far reaching but from what i have understood is it not an infection/virus? so the key would be getting that cleared up... my ducks are not nearly as pampered foot wise as yours, and i mean right down to my wee little calls, i haven't had an issue with this in my years of owning ducks.

    Do you have Storey's guide to ducks? i know he speaks about it there. What has your vet said? i am appalled at that 2K bill, that is outrageous and i doubt any care given was worth that. Amiga has a good run down, helps to have as much background as possible.

    It's a shame your trip down the ducky lane has been like this, generally ducks are quite hardy, healthy critters(albeit messy) but pretty easy keepers.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Storey's Guide to Ducks has been a great help to me, and I like The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook also because it is geared toward more of a duck-as-pet focus.

    We have had bumblefoot here, a few times. Sometimes more than one duck has had it. Caught early, it has been no more serious here than a minor scrape. Even I had something equivalent of bumblefoot once, and I followed my own protocol, and was all squared away within a week or so.

    Bumblefoot is a staph infection. Treated with topical medicines, over-the-counter stuff, it goes away with daily treatment after a few to several weeks, depending on severity.

    I feel that a strong immune system helps prevent it and fight it off. So I start with vitamins and electrolytes and probiotics in their water. I spend a few bucks for two years' worth of powder that goes into the drinking water at night.

    Epsom salt is a wonderful medicine. Taken internally it is a laxative. But applied as a soak in warm water, it is said to draw out toxins, even splinters (used as a poultice). It reduces inflammation.

    Iodine is another simple helpful item. You don't want to overdo it - rather than soaking the foot and leg, you dab the iodine in the center of the bumble, and wait three to five days. Several members have found that it seems to soak in, form a black scab-like covering, that can then be soaked and gently pulled off, along with some of the yuck in the infected bumble. If there is more material in there, another soak, another application of iodine and so on.

    This avoids surgery, cutting, all that.

    Now, sometimes, the environment contains something that we are unaware of. I am wracking my brain trying to think of what may be happening with your flock. It may be related.
  6. ducksinarow

    ducksinarow Songster

    Mar 12, 2011
    I put Durvet Duramycin-10 Antibiotic Soluble Powder (tetracycline) from Rural King in a Kiddie pool and let my duck swim in it. After a couple days of doing this it looked a lot better. It cost $5 for a 6.4 oz bag. After I got her out I put some triple antibiotic on her feet also.
  7. davekayse62

    davekayse62 In the Brooder

    May 24, 2012
    Thank you, we are very frustrated and saddened by everything.

    Interior house 4x8 insulated, but divided in half inside - 2 ducks on each side. Exterior 8x8 all sides are fenced and top is covered to keep out rain/snow
    One side has a kiddie pool during the warm months, we just took it out last week, due to the hose/water freezing. *We just built the other side for Rubber(since he was being bullied) at the end of the summer and we would give him swim time when the gang was out roaming.
    Each side has a heated water dish, water changed 1-2x a day and feed hanger, we use the DuMor grumble.
    No other farm animals, just 3 cats and a dog.

    Daily (all depending on the season, like right now their "out of pen" time is limited due to it being so dark so early)
    Morning: Dave lets them out (before work) so they can stretch their wings and walk around the yard. Dave gets them fresh food & water, inside and out.
    Day:locked in their pen, interior and exterior are open so they have plenty of room to walk around & swim.
    Evening: Dave or I will let them out again when we get home from work (depending on daylight) fresh water if needed
    Night: in their pen, free to roam. Cold temps they have a heat lamp on inside and depending on the wind & temp we may lock them inside at night.
    Weekends: they spend alot of time out in the yard, pen is open to they will come and go as they please for food, water, pool time. Again depending on the temp we will usually have the sprinkler on for them so they have some other water play & mud time.

    Ill have to get The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook, maybe that will give us somemore insight. Ill also get the vitamin/electrolytes powder to put back in their water...i believe i might still have some powder in the freezer...if not ill pick some more up. I do have a topical medicated lotion the vet gave me before (i forget the name, ill have to look at it when i get home) but that was more for the leg and not the bumble foot. Before when we treated Rubber it was with antibiotics. And the other boys feet cleared up once we put the straw down all over. At this point im going to have to take Mighty into the vet... he refilled the Metacam for me but it looks like ill need to get some other meds for the other foot.
    I will try the epsom soak for all, i did do that with Rubber before. I have not done the iodine, ill have to pick that up too.

    The vet has been great...and its been about 2k over the past year for Rubber, visits, tests, meds, etc. He is an Avian vet with a local VCA.
    I do have Storeys book and I have read it ...several times.

    Attached is a picture of their pen, unfortunately i do not have a picture of the interior on me at the time but you can get the idea.

  8. davekayse62

    davekayse62 In the Brooder

    May 24, 2012
    ill try to get pictures of their feet tonight or tomorrow so you can see
  9. davekayse62

    davekayse62 In the Brooder

    May 24, 2012
    Tractor Supply does carry the Duramycin, ill grab some of that. Thank you
  10. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Songster

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan

    I'm sorry you're having these issues. I stated out with a pair of Pekins. That drake was very very aggressive, as was one male offspring. I no longer have that bloodline here, because mean doesn't fit here. That said tho, I had females that hatched a very very sweet drake. Hard to know why the 3 won't get along if no females present... As an all drake flock, they should be fine together, just as GQ told you above. But echoing gamebirdsonly, each drake probly would be happier with 4 ducks of his own. I guess I'm wondering if the feet issue isn't causing some of the discord in your group?
    Pekins seem to be prone to foot and leg problems. I sort of had to giggle about letting them walk on pillows and clouds, I get that. As Amiga wrote, when you've got Bumblefoot, you're dealing with Staph. So that bacteria is getting in there somehow. How? I dunno. The aggressive Pekin I had did have a few bumbles. I did not cut and I did not give antibiotics. I did the Epsom Salt soaks that Amiga advised, and after about 2 weeks that duck was just fine. I feel like we should be very careful and judicious with the antibiotics that we give our ducks. I'm not saying that there isn't a time or place, but that I haven't been there yet. Good nutritional support can do great things, like Amiga said. I'd try the iodine.
    And so you know, I have 4 drakes in a flock of 12. They walk on sand, grass, concrete sometimes, gravel, straw bedding and wood ramps. So far I've seen no bumble with this group. I no longer have any Pekins. Once again, I'm sorry you're going thru this.

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