Young duck isn’t grooming?

SoilShepherdFarm

In the Brooder
Dec 9, 2018
13
43
39
Hello! First I want to say, thank you all for this website and all your input! I have been getting help from this site since I started keeping birds a few years ago, so thank you!
This is my first time posting and asking for help. I work at the feed store, and we had some ducklings that came in and no one was buying, so I bought them. One pekin, one buff, and one runner duck. They are about 5-6 weeks old. Everyone is eating and drinking (and POOPING—so much poop) normally, but the runner duck is not grooming and preening himself like the other 2 are. The other two finish eating and go to the big water dish and clear out their bills then rub water all over themselves and use their oil glands. They are nice and clean. But the runner duck just goes off and lays down next to the wall. I noticed today that he has crusty gunk on his face and his back and seems to have no interest in grooming. And I watch, the other two are not keeping him away from the water. There are two water dishes in the coop, so he does have access to water. I also bring down warm water so it’s not that he doesn’t want to groom in cold water (never had that stop a duck from grooming though)
He also sometimes has these fits where his legs shake- almost vibrate- while he is standing, then he plops down. Not sure if the two are related.
Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
 

SoilShepherdFarm

In the Brooder
Dec 9, 2018
13
43
39
No ideas but that's not normal. Have you tried giving him a bath or putting him in water to see if you can stimulate him?

Not since he was younger and still in the brooder. They all hated it the two times I tried so I haven’t wanted to do it again. Now they are so big, i can’t put them all in my sink, and don’t want to separate them. They are so bonded and freak if they aren’t together.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
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South Park, Colorado, USA
Ok, my duckling had the shakey leg too. It was like her whole leg would vibrate starting with the knee/elbow and then she would kinda sit back on her elbows and then stand back up in a few seconds and start walking around again. I did a few things which helped and it probably took a total of 2-3 weeks, but it did ultimately stop entirely. First I upped the vitamin B. I fed Flock Raiser to begin with sprinkled with brewers' yeast, but I still had one duckling with the shakey leg, so I bought liquid B complex and gave a full dropper full to the beak twice a day. I continued until the bottle was gone, a few weeks.

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Also I gave her swim time every day once a day. She seemed to not have any problems in the pool so I think this helped her strengthen her leg. Swimming is easier than walking as they don't need to support so much weight. You mentioned they can't all swim at once, but perhaps you can take your duckling plus one buddy and give them some swim time in warm water indoors. It only has to be a few inches deep. Just enough that they can paddle around and really get clean. I used a kitty litter pan so when the water got gross I could dump it outdoors. This should help with the grooming issue as well.

The third thing was the ducklings got more space. They had really outgrown their brooder and they got more an more time outdoors. This allowed more space and more time for walking around and strengthening those muscles.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
 

Orca5094

Songster
Jul 26, 2014
1,788
498
226
Sweden
Sounds to me like your little Runner is not well. Not preening and having wobbly legs/sitting down alot is not normal. Might have a niacin deficiency, or something else going on. Definitely start adding some vitamins (with niacin) to the food/water as soon as you can, and maybe get him into a lukewarm bath and try to help him get some of the dried on gunk off. Make sure to get him back under a heat lamp right after, or even gently blow-dry to make sure he doesn't get chilled.
 

SoilShepherdFarm

In the Brooder
Dec 9, 2018
13
43
39
Oh, I know runners are one of the smaller breeds, but does he seem to be growing well? Also is he feathering out at the same rate as the others?

Thank you for the suggestions so far! Yes he/she is feathering just fine, the buff started first, then the runner, and then the pekin, and they are all but fully feathered now (still
some fuzz near their rear ends.) I saw the runner poop this morning and it was normal. They are eating chick starter and i am switching between nutritional yeast (1 tbsp per cup of feed) and nutri-drench. I will look for that vitamin B when I got out today. They are in a large insulated coop in our barn with a heat lamp and I give them supervised outdoor time a couple times a day. I was just out with them, they are all foraging and running around.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
115,374
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Mountains of Western N.C.
I think a tub half filled with water so they can stand at first may get your Runner started in cleaning and preening, water really makes Runners especially happy. Put all 3 in they will have a blast. I’d use warm water and then put them where it’s warm to dry and preen.
 
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SoilShepherdFarm

In the Brooder
Dec 9, 2018
13
43
39
Ok I picked up the B supplement that PirateGirl suggested! I will start that when I get home and try to do the bath thing if I can find a good vessel! I will keep you guys posted!
 

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