Why does my duckling keep getting stuck on her back?!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Puddle Foot Farm, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. Puddle Foot Farm

    Puddle Foot Farm Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    I have two ducklings who were supposed to be going in with my broody goose. That didn't happen, but they did break my broody. Now, I have them brooding next to my chicks that came with them. There is a khaki campbell who has a small crest and a fully crested fawn and white runner.

    Last night, I came in and the khaki campbell (Bellatrix) was on her back, calmly trying to get up. I freaked out and so did the runner, but I noticed she seemed fine.. My first suspect was niacin deficiency. BUT, I see no sign of seizures or anything, and to be sure, I added a bit more niacin to their food (which I have been supplementing before this). Then earlier today, I came in and she was on her back again! And a third time a few minutes ago. Each time, she's just calmly paddling to try and get up, holding her head up, completely aware of everything that's happening. When I pick her up, she has her normal mini-freakout (unlike the runner who is usually trying to jump up the sides of the brooder at this point, screaming bloody murder) and then calms.. Talks to me.. Nibbles on my nostrils.. The usual. I looked this up last night on BYC and couldn't find anything really.. It's worrying me now!

    Bella seems like a completely normal week old duckling besides her turtle problem (she reminds me of a turtle when this happens). For a bit, she was smaller than her runner friend, Narcissa, but now her and Cissy are about the same size. They came from Ideal.. Like normal ducklings, they're pigs and enjoy messing up their brooder, which I try to keep as clean as possible. Cissy is a complete freak of nature who tries to scale plastic walls, and while Bella is usually overtaken by Cissy's antics, the second I grab her, she is my baby.

    Does anyone have an idea? Is this simply that she's gotten knocked over somehow by a random Cissy-freakout and is so oddly shaped that she can't get back up? Or is this something to worry about?

    PS, I was in the room for one of them, but didn't hear anything. I just looked over and Bella was on her back.

    Here's a picture for inspiration, of them on their way outside to meet the geese.. Bella is at the front, a ham as usual, and Cissy is at the back.


    Thanks guys!
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    It may be the crest gene. It has been known to cause neurological problems. There is usually not much that can be done. Keep them on a good diet and hope that is gets better.
  3. bock

    bock Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    Crested ducks tend to be a bit ''off''. I have two white crested ducks from Metzer Farms. The one with the smaller crest is pretty much okay, except she tends to get left behind when the other ducks go to the pond. Then she tries to fly down the hill, smacks her chest on the fence, and flips over into the weeds. [​IMG] My other crested duck with the really big crest is blind in one eye (not sure if she hatched that way or was injured) and is almost deaf. She would get left at the pond in the evening when all the other ducks and geese came up the hill, and would swim in circles in the middle of the pond. I had to bring the boat and catch her every evening. Now she has her own cage she stays in while the others are at the pond. She also had a seizure once, which is from the neurological issues associated with cresteds. Their is nothing you can really do but keep her in a cage all the time, NO FREE RANGING. I am sorry you have to deal with this, I know from experience it is hard. Next time, shy away from crested breeds. [​IMG]
  4. tomingreeneco

    tomingreeneco Songster

    Jun 29, 2010
    Greene County, PA
    I have 6 pekins and when they were young one of them used to fall on her back and had trouble getting up. This happened for about two weeks and then everything was fine. She is OK now (about 5 months old and VERY talkative). I gave them niacin when they were young but do not now because they free range. Hope yours outgrows this problem.
  5. Puddle Foot Farm

    Puddle Foot Farm Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    Hmm.. Thanks for the replies everyone. I have now committed myself to watching her for an hour after every "episode".. Nothing's happening. I think I will bring both of them to our organic store tomorrow to watch her. I didn't even associate this with the fact that she is technically a crested, even though she only has a teeeeny tiny crest, while her "sister" has a huge 'ole hat. I reallyyyy hope she outgrows it.. She seems no worse for the wear, but it makes me nervous.

    I do currently have two crested ducks who I raised this year with 2 noncresteds, both females as well - one with a queen's poof like Cissy and one with a little tufty thing, like Bella. I didn't have problems with those ones, and cresteds are SO dang cute. Looking back, I dunno if I would've ordered crested this time, but I probably won't in the future. Luckily, I was smart enough to make sure I only had crested females. I did not like the idea of a lethal gene.. Just yucky.

    I'm still open to any suggestions! I'd love to make her better ASAP instead of trying to wait it out.. She's so tolerant of her turtle moments, but I imagine they're uncomfortable.

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