Wobbly duck... Help!


Mar 28, 2017
Southern NH
Hi all,

Boy am I glad that we're able to post to BYC again! I have been having an issue for about a week with one of my Pekins. He is about 2 months old, and out of nowhere has been having issues standing and walking. He can walk but a few steps and looks almost drunk. He has been eating well and drinking ok. At first, I was told via the BYC FB group that it may be a niacin deficiency, but that doesn't make sense, as the other members of his flock are fine, and no one is exhibiting the same symptoms. I have attached a couple videos for reference.

Please help!!

Ohh.......no that doesn't sound good. Poor duck.

Hmm, it actually could be a vitamin deficiency, some birds just get it. What diet are they on? I read that if you can find Poly-Vi-Sol (Perhaps at your feed store) put a few drops in his water, it could help. How often is he pooping? What does his poop look like? Is he breathing normally?

Have you checked his legs? Any signs of bumble foot? It can cause trouble walking, however i doubt it can cause it to that extent. Do his legs feel hot? Has he got swollen hocks?

I suggest you isolate him in his own cage, so you can get him better and hopefully you can find out whats going on........

Good luck :fl

He seems drunk. When you pick him up his neck is swirling around, and he tips over when he tries to prune under his wings.

Could this be botulism? Heavy metal poisoning?

I can't be the only duck owner to experience this...
He seems drunk. When you pick him up his neck is swirling around, and he tips over when he tries to prune under his wings.

Could this be botulism? Heavy metal poisoning?

I can't be the only duck owner to experience this...

No, your not. Search up "Duck acting drunk" or "Duck cant walk" or something similar on BYC and you will get a ton of threads.

Copy and pasted from Wiki: Botulism poisons the duck, causing what's sometimes known as "Limberneck Disease." It causes paralysis, starting with the duck having trouble taking off or going under the water. The duck's legs will be paralyzed, and you may see the duck trying to move only with its wings. The duck's eyelids and neck will droop. The paralysis may also be accompanied by diarrhea.[1]

Does he have any of those symptoms? What does his poop look like?
How is your duck doing and what have you tired? My 5 week old pekin just started displaying the same symptoms yesterday. I got it to drink some water yesterday with niacin in it but he seems the same. I haven't used anything with galvanized metal and none of my other ducks are showing symptoms. He's eating fine and drinking fine as long as I have the food and water right in front of him. He won't get up otherwise. Has anything worked for you?
Have you been using Niacin or Nutritional yeast all along since they were hatched or you first got them? Niacin works pretty fast but not over night and it has to be plain niacin also can't be flush free or time released. Keep adding it if you have the right kind and it needs to be 150mgs to 1 gal of water. Pekins especially grow fast and their legs have a hard time keeping it up with it.It's very important all ducklings get B3 in their diets if fed chick starter.
I looked up other posts, and nothing quite fits..
He isn't paralyzed, he can walk, but not well, and loses his balance often. He definitely has been flapping his wings a lot, more than the normal amount of times. He injured one of his wings, I'm assuming by his rapid flapping. Looks like a quill was broken.
His eyelids look ok, eyes are watery and pink rimmed. His neck is almost always tucked into his chest, and his posture is always with his breast pointed downwards. He does have diarrhea, which looks to be nearly clear. He is eating well.

I purchased Poly-Vi-Sol, and have been giving that to him since yesterday. I tried to separate him from the other ducks, by putting him into a large rubbermaid bin, but he had ended up tipping it over and was out when I checked on him a few hours later.

@Miss Lydia
I had been giving them nutritional yeast with their food (mixed into wet food). I recently purchased brewers yeast and have been using that. I also bought a niacin supplement from amazon, which is powder, but I have yet to use it, as I was unsure if it was safe or not.

Here is what they've been eating:

I am going to buy some epsom salt and molasses in the am, and try one of those methods, and go from there.

It is worth mentioning that a couple days ago I had taken him and placed him in the sink, and tried to get him to drink some water, which was successful. I gently cleaned his wing up, and within 20 min had him back to the brooder. A min or so passed, and he had, what I can really only describe as a seizure?? He was violently whipping his neck back and forth, and I think vomiting the water he had just drank. It was terrifying...

Should I just have him put down? Continue with epsom/molasses treatment? I dont want the little guy to suffer, and I feel like I am failing him, and I am terrible duck mom. :hit:hit

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