White Crested with Strange Lump on Head

Enchanted Sunrise Farms

12 Years
Apr 26, 2007
Fair Oaks, California
Just got back from vacation and picked up one of our White Crested ducks from the vet, where our pet sitter took her on Tuesday. She mentioned a head injury, and i assumed it was just from the girls playing in the pool. We have no drake so they will hop on top of each other and sometimes yank on the head feathers. But this isn't from that, i don't think. All her head feathers are ripped out and there is a large lump hanging off to the side. i've never seen our the ducks be brutal to each other, so don't think it's a duck-inflicted injury. i don't understand how all the feathers got ripped out. Does anyone have any ideas? Pictures below:

It may be a long shot...but is there any possibility that a predator may have got to her? I know my drake go straight for the crest with my young girl- and usually get one or two feathers- but something with a different shaped mouth- could have grabbed her- pulling out the feathers- allowing her escape- but leaving the swelling after loosing so many feathers at once?? What did the vet have to say? Do he rule out any infection in the area?
It's *probably* not a predator. We're in a residential neighborhood, and the main thing we have are neighbor cats, but they don't bother the ducks. Plus, they all would have been inside the pen when the sitter was not here. i told her she could let them into the area around our patio when she was present, but that is a very protected area with a patio cover, trees, and double fencing.

My vet wasn't in the office until Thursday and was only able to do a cursory exam. Mrs. Drysdale was stable, eating and drinking, and in no apparent distress so she wanted to wait till i could be there to do a complete exam. i have an appointment on Monday. The technician did tell me that my vet said it looked like some kind of fatty tumor. But now i'm wondering . . . on the crested ducks, what's under that feather crest? Do they all have a fatty lump? It was a little hectic today, what with just getting back from a ten-day vacation. i meant to pick up another of my crested ducks and feel their head but never got around to it, and now everyone is in bed.
Looks like duck on duck damage. I can see several follicles where the entire feather has been plucked. I don't think they liked you going on vacation. Animals sense things and can act differently when "the cat's away...".
i picked up one of our other crested ducks this morning and her crest is all feathers. So it would appear that this lump is not normal. Nurse Turtle, you might be right about the duck on duck damage. i let Mrs. Drysdale out with the others when i handed out peas and corn yesterday. Sat and watched to find another duck, Frackers, going up and nibbling on her head. Mrs. Drysdale didn't pull away or seem to mind, but i separated her right away. Guess we will find out on Monday what this might be. In the meantime, she seems fine, not acting like she is in pain at all.
The crest on a crested duck is caused by a defect in the skull. So crested ducks are vulnerable to head injuries.

You've paid a vet to look at the duck, so: whatever the vet said.
Please let us know what you find out. Hope Mrs Drysdale gets her feathers back
It looks simular to my chickens when the boys have gotten a tad to rough. The missing feathers that is.
The lump on her head could be a local inflammatory response to all the pecking. If it's soft and smooshy, it could be a hematoma under the skin as a result of the pecking. If that's the case, it will resolve itself in time. I think she'll be just fine. As for the bully doing the pecking.....
It's not mooshy, it's more solid, not rock hard, more like hard cheese. i can see where it might be an inflammatory response. i have her out with her friends now and have been keeping an eye on them. Frackers is not bothering her at the moment. i trust my vet so looking forward to the exam on Monday.

i have noticed, though, that the ducks are a little cranky with each other. They push each other out of the way with their bill. They are doing a lot of that head-up-head-down chattering. They were probably confined to their pen for a lot of the time we were gone. The head nibbling could have been a result of boredom.

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