What's happening to our ducklings?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by heatherdv, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. heatherdv

    heatherdv New Egg

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    We have just had a second batch of newly hatched ducklings die and we have no idea why.

    Our coop has muscovies (2 drakes/4 ducks) and 8 chickens. Last year we had 2 successful hatches, one with 7 birds/one with 2. During July one of the ducks sat on 17 eggs which started to hatch about 6 weeks ago. Only 3 hatched successfully and all looked healthy but by the next day they had died. We assumed the mother duck had trampled them. There were 14 that didn't hatch so temperature was probably an issue too.

    We had another batch hatch 2 days ago. There were 8 eggs sat on by 1 duck (who previously sat on the successful hatches) and 2 broody chooks. We ended up with 6 ducklings (1 unhatched, 1 died still half in the shell). The ducklings were all perfectly healthy yesterday. This morning when we went to check on them, only 1 was still alive. It looked weak and had lots of little mites on its face. We gave it water with a dropper and put it back in the nest with its mother. It died within an hour.

    Anyone have any idea what's going on? Could mites kill ducklings?

    This is a photo I took yesterday afternoon.[​IMG]

    I really want to work out why we lost them [​IMG]
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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  3. Amykins

    Amykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Mites can definitely kill ducklings. You have a far larger issue here than just dead babies. Mites are still a bad sign but are not as serious an issue for adults as they can preen and wash most of them away. But they CAN be fatal if a duck is immobile for a long period of time, say, when they go broody. And babies are utterly helpless.

    You see, birds typically don't carry a lot of blood in their systems, it's one of the evolutionary advantages they gained to help keep them light enough for powered flight. Although most domestic ducks can't fly, they still have the same minimalistic cardiovascular systems as other birds. A baby has just barely enough blood in it to sustain itself right after it hatches, so they're extremely delicate. Therefore an infestation of mites can be fatal. You have GOT to get this under control before you even think about trying to hatch another clutch of eggs!
     
  4. heatherdv

    heatherdv New Egg

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    Sep 3, 2015
    Amykins thank you so much for that info. I spoke to a local pet store owner and duck breeder who confirmed that mites were the problem.

    We thoroughly dusted the coops yesterday and will repeat weekly until the mites are under control. My partner and I are covered in bites so it's a pretty serious infestation. We are going to send the next batch of fertile eggs to be incubated off site.

    We had no idea mites were so serious, will be much more vigilant in future.
     
  5. Dunkin

    Dunkin Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2015
    *Please Help*
    We have a duckling that hatched about a day ago and only seems to want to lay there. He kicks his legs around a bit but that's it, we are starting to get concerned
    For the little guy. His brother keeps on nudging himo to get up ur all he seems to wanna do is peep. We really want him to live!!!
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    @Dunkin do you have any Gro-Gel? Or Sav-A-Chick?

    Is @Orca5094 or @WVduckchick or @Amykins around?
     
  7. Dunkin

    Dunkin Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2015

    We have Save-a-chick and are now suspecting a 'Crook Neck' we have been giving him Parsley but we are not sure what else to do. This is our only other chick and it would be devastating to his brother/sister if she (we assume) died. They are Mallard/Pekin if this helps. [​IMG]
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    If it's wry neck, and he's just a few days old, he or she has a great chance at getting better if you give B vitamins.

    Here is Bentley's story

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/761308/peking-duckling-with-crooked-neck-help

    And Qwakers' story

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/857143/treating-wry-neck-in-crested-duckling-edited-title

    Please notice what they were given. I would skip the steroid that Qwakers was given - yours is not crested, right? But B vitamins and perhaps vitamin E.

    For B vitamins, I would initially put 150 mg of niacin (plain niacin, not no-flush or timed release) per gallon of drinking water for a week, then I would switch to adding a tablespoon of brewer's yeast - not baking yeast or winemaking yeast - per cup of starter crumble.

    And please keep us posed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

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    I have no experience with crook neck. I would have suggested sav-a-chick also for a lethargic duckling.

    @casportpony may have some ideas
     
  10. Dunkin

    Dunkin Out Of The Brooder

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    I will definetly try the Niacin! I'm not sure how to administer feed because she seems to be almost completely crippled. She can move her feet and she flails her wings but can't seem to find her way up. I read vitamin E was good for crook neck as well so I mixed it into a separate container and have been giving it to her by hand. I think she's getting stronger so hopefully these Vitamins help!! Her sibling keeps nudging her , wanting to play
     

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