I've got a three week old American Pekin who took a weird turn for the worse at some point yesterday. He's in a flock with three other Pekins his age, two 6 week old Khakis, and a rehomed older Khaki drake whose age I don't know. There are also eighteen 6 week old chickens of various breeds housed together. There's been no fighting or pecking, no abuse from the chickens. Everything has been going really well with every bird in our new flock. Except this poor guy, who I've named Lazarus. You'll understand why when I tell you about him. Two weeks ago, I found my mom's dog (we'll call her Satan) "playing" with Lazarus. She wasn't trying to kill him but she absolutely was using him as a chew toy. She had him pretty well scalped on the back and there was one barely-there puncture on the right side of his neck. I handled it immediately, got rid of the dog for good (she's back with my mom - I was only fostering her to be nice because we had more room but she was gone within minutes of my catching her in the act), and immediately bathed Lazarus, treated the wounds with topical antibiotic, made him a quarantine tote, had him on a seven day course of antibiotics, and everything pointed to a full recovery. Last week, after his feathers were more or less completely coming back in and his skin was covered, I placed him back with the flock and everything was going great. And then the rains came. The birds are in a 150 square foot uncovered run where I've been training them daily from 7 a.m. to dark for free-ranging. I fully understand the risks associated with free-ranging but after careful consideration we've decided it's what's best for us and we're doing what we can to make it as safe an experience as possible while still acknowledging that losses will happen eventually. I don't really want to get into a debate over free-ranging benefits versus risks here (I've had a couple of people with very strong opinions in the chicken mommin' community here locally get pretty vocal on their opinions and, while I respect them, I think it's up to everyone to decide their own free-range situation as the expert in their own geography, flock, etc.). Anyhow, Lazarus was happily free-range training with the best of them after his stint in Garage-Based ICU. But I noticed he was (a) not growing in line with the other two Pekins from the same batch of the same age and (b) starting to do the penguin shuffle. Walking seemed to be getting laborious for him, but I didn't notice any pigeon-toes or actual hobbling, swelling, bowing of the legs, etc. Just that he was getting around a bit slower. I chalked it up to the trauma of his interaction with Satan Pooch and let him do his thing. He's been doing everything the others do, including swimming/splashing, hunting for fresh kale and peas in his (cleaned daily) pool, and hunting the ground around his coop with vigor. Yesterday morning, as usual, I let everyone out and everything was normal. He was just as he always is. Last night, at dusk, I was letting everyone in and Lazarus was like a tiny yellow drunk. I mean he was barely able to get to his feet and when he did he was wobbling worse than me on a Friday night my freshman year of college. There was no apparent torticollis, though when I finally caught him and picked him up he definitely was more loosey-goosey with his neck, mostly just laying it on my arm rather than looking around him and squawking to his flockmates that I was pestering him. He was pedaling when he fell, but I think it was more in an effort to get back to his feet than an actual neurological symptom of something. I took him inside immediately and bathed him. He definitely wanted desperately to splash and submerge his head, but he could hardly stay on his feet for more than a few seconds. He really did try hard, though, and I managed to clean him up and get a look at his healing back and wing areas. To my dismay, once some of the mud came off, I saw that it looked as though some of his feather regrowth had been compromised. There was no obvious new trauma, but it did look as though he may have preened his little duck elbows a little too hard very recently. I gave him water and he definitely did his best to drink. Same with food. They are on a multi-species poultry starter, so I've responded to day by getting some niacin as a supplement and lots of niacin-rich treats (peas, salmon, and tuna in water). He has been coughing very slightly and very very infrequently. He does not honk or quack. He does peep and squeak and I can't detect a voice change, but I've never really heard him make more than a squeak or a squawk. Last night, following his bath and towel-wrapped snuggle time (this duck loves scratches behind the ears and purrs every night while we snuggle after baths), I went to check on him before turning in and was totally bummed to see him open-mouth breathing/panting. Not panting hard but definitely what I would call labored (though consistent and even) breaths with his beak open. This morning he was chipper, excited for breakfast and fresh water, but didn't seem to have moved around a lot in the tote overnight. He didn't make a lot of noise and I didn't notice any panting. He's under a heat lamp on fresh pine shavings (not flakes, nothing dusty), which are changed daily. His poo is resplendent, as poo goes. No obvious parasites, no color changes, no consistency issues. It looks like Lazarus poo always looks. Gray/white, regular firmness, normal amounts, etc. I'm curious whether anyone would suspect anything other than a niacin deficiency. My concern is that with the recent heavy rains we've had the flock has been reducing their pen area to straight mud and trampling their own poo into it. I did notice a couple of areas where there is what would probably be an attractive drinking puddle of standing water to a duck. This morning when I let them out I opened the fence and decided that I'd rather take my chances with the daytime predators and let them all free-range in fresh grass than keep scratching and grazing the poo fields. I'm just concerned that after his trauma with the dog two weeks ago he may have been immunocompromised and the wet ground in his pen may have contributed some sort of bacterial or fungal infection to his weakened system. I want it to be niacin. I want it to be only a niacin deficiency so freaking bad but I'm just not sure. Should I start another prophylactic course of antibiotics just to be sure? He'll be getting electrolytes and probiotics with his feed and water for the next two weeks, as well as both a niacin powder supplement and niacin-rich treats while he remains in the ICU. But I'm concerned there's more to it with the wetness we've had lately. What should I look for? What would you duck moms do?