Lame Ducks

Discussion in 'Chickens & Poultry' started by goatsintheozarks, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. goatsintheozarks

    goatsintheozarks New Member

    153
    Aug 1, 2013
    Hello All! I have only just found and joined this forum, and am looking forward to sharing tips and advice!

    I have 17 ducklings, which vary from about 4 weeks old to about two weeks old. We made them a predator-proof pen from a stall in our barn, and they have been happily living with our five chicks. I have been feeding them chick starter, and the always have plenty of water. Unfortunately, ducklings being what they are, it never stays clean for more than a few minutes...

    Over the past two or three days, I have noticed a few ducklings seem to have trouble lifting their bodyweight and walking properly. They kinda spraddle, bow-legged, and scoot along. Three were pretty bad, and all the rest look just a tad bow-legged. Their legs are looking strong and in proportion to their size.

    This morn, I found one of them dead. I think it was one of the worse limpers. I have been reading about Niacin deficiency - is this likely to be what I am dealing with? If so, what should I ask for at the feed store? A supplement to go in their water?

    Plus, I have Goat B12/Thiamine (well, cattle) on hand - can I squirt that in their drinking water?

    I am located in NW Arkansas, if region makes any difference.

    Thanks!
     
  2. NyGoatMom

    NyGoatMom Shady Acre Homestead Supporting Member

    Sounds like niacin deficiency to me...I would buy the pills and crush them. I would drench each duckling individually with proper dose....not sure offhand what it would be.
     

  3. goatsintheozarks

    goatsintheozarks New Member

    153
    Aug 1, 2013
    Thanks for the reply! Just correcting myself - I have B COMPLEX on hand (injectable liquid) and it does contain Niacin (B3) so I may go ahead and pop some of that in the affected duck's water as who knows when or where I can get the tablets. We are WAY out of town here!
     
  4. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    Welcome! Love your photo - adorable kid you've got there!

    I believe you can use Niacin vitamins tablets from a human pharmacy (CVS? Rite-Aid? depends where you live).

    Adding B-Complex to the water probably won't hurt as they can excrete additional water soluble vitamins if there is too much. But like Steph pointed out you really need to get the correct amount in to each duckling. Perhaps if you see how much B3 is in the B-complex and then find an answer on how much B3 each duckling needs to can calculate how much to give each one!

    Sounds like you need to act pretty fast though.
     
  5. Naunnie

    Naunnie New Member

    707
    Jul 4, 2014
    West Georgia
    What are they eating? Is the feed medicated? Niacin gel caps are available at most drug stores. I have found them at the bigger Walmarts too. Don't get the flush free or time-released. You may have to ask for it. Dark green leafy vegetables or green peas will help too. Just chop leaves small and float in a pan of water. I use frozen sweet/green peas thawed in warm water. Brewers yeast is also high in Niacin. You can sprinkle it on their feed. Moisten the feed slightly so it will stick. The injectable B complex is not ideal but it will help in a pinch. I would put 1cc in a gallon of water. Make sure there they have no other water source...like a pool though.
     
  6. goatsintheozarks

    goatsintheozarks New Member

    153
    Aug 1, 2013
    Saltey Love - Oops - I'm not new to TGS (joined about a year ago and LOVE it!!!!). I copied and pasted this from a chicken forum I had just joined to see if I could get an answer there. :)

    There is 100mg of Niacin in each mL of solution.

    Naunnie - I have frozen, shelled Sugar Snap Peas - could I give them those? No greens on hand. They have been eating chick starter. I don't think it is medicated, but can't find the bag label (I keep the feed in a storage bin). If I get it I will see if there is Niacin included, but from what I've read the Niacin in grain feeds is not absorbed/utilized by ducklings very well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  7. cheyenne

    cheyenne Junior Member

    370
    Aug 20, 2011
    MO
    Unless the feeds have changed I always heard that "medicated" chick starter should never be fed to ducks.

    You can get it not medicated but around here that's harder to find.

    Again, things have probably changed since I had baby ducks!
     
  8. Naunnie

    Naunnie New Member

    707
    Jul 4, 2014
    West Georgia
    Yes I have read that too Cheyenne. Some folks say the chick starter with amprollium is safe but I am not willing to risk it. I started my ducklings and keets on Game Bird Crumbles. I switched to Nutrena All flock when they got a little older because of the lower protein. I have not had to supplement with extra Niacin because I supplement with vegetables and their own eggshells.
     
  9. Naunnie

    Naunnie New Member

    707
    Jul 4, 2014
    West Georgia
    Yeah, but you have to shell them first or chop very small. Do you have any weedy areas that are pesticide free? Plantain, dandelion, and clover are great. You could even chop some grass. The only weed you shouldn't feed is Buttercup. Make sure you pick enough for the chicks too! When I'm short on time or homegrown, I buy the bagged Kale, Collard or Turnip Greens from the grocery store. Chop it smaller and float in water for the Ducks. For the Chickens just toss on ground. Warning though; their poop may get a little wetter so don't be alarmed.
     
  10. goatsintheozarks

    goatsintheozarks New Member

    153
    Aug 1, 2013
    Chyenne - Oh, dear. We fed our chicks and ducklings the same feed (chick starter) last year and everyone did great, but then again we only had three ducklings. :-/

    Naunnie - Peas on their way then! I have plenty of 'grass' (clover, weeds) out there and never put any chemicals on it so can pick some. The worst ducks have been moved indoors and given water with the B3 in. The outdoor ones have it in their water (1/4 mL to 1 qrt water) and promptly drank half and spilled the rest.

    I get SO frustrated trying to keep their place looking nice when 5 mins after cleaning they spill ALL the water and poop everywhere! I love ducks but, gee, are they messy!
     
  11. Naunnie

    Naunnie New Member

    707
    Jul 4, 2014
    West Georgia
    Yes they are! For the ducklings I cut a milk jugs. One for feed and one for water....then tied it so they can't tip them over. For the larger ducks, I sit their bucket in a shallow pan next to the feed. Their water gets ucky rather quickly because they have to wash down their food. Mouth full of food goes straight into clean bucket of water....poof its not clean anymore! Its not a big deal as long as you change it everyday. I also keep another bucket NOT near the feed. It stay cleaner a bit longer. I have 4 buckets, keep 2 filled and ready at all times. Makes things much easier on me.

    I sure hope the 3 babies recover quickly. With the Niacin supplement they can recover completely. y'all are in my thoughts. Keep us updated.:smile:
     
  12. Naunnie

    Naunnie New Member

    707
    Jul 4, 2014
    West Georgia
    Oh! one more thing. Have you any grit? When you start feeding other types of food, they will need a separate bowl of grit to aid digestion.
     
  13. NyGoatMom

    NyGoatMom Shady Acre Homestead Supporting Member

    :lol: Yep, that they are! I have my feed in a bowl in their house and water is in the pool outside across the pen. This way they have to exercise some to get their feed.....the water still needs to be changed daily!
     
  14. goatsintheozarks

    goatsintheozarks New Member

    153
    Aug 1, 2013
    The milk jugs are a good, inexpensive idea! I saw something great for chicken feed earlier that I will try and post a link to...I want to try it out.

    I haven't got grit now as my older birds range and scratch up what they need, but can get some for the littles. I've been letting the oldest ducklings out with the rest of the flock a few hours each day...there has been no fighting and they love the extra space! :)
     
  15. cheyenne

    cheyenne Junior Member

    370
    Aug 20, 2011
    MO
    If I remember correctly, we got the Game Bird Crumbles for our ducklings too. That's great that yours didn't have a problem with the medicated feed, goatsintheozarks! :)
     
  16. goatsintheozarks

    goatsintheozarks New Member

    153
    Aug 1, 2013
    Cheyenne, is the problem due to the anti-cocci drugs in chick starter? I just found one article that stated that the ani-cocci drugs in medicated feed can cause lameness in ducklings as they consume a higher ratio of feed than chicks, and effectively overdose. My feed may well be medicated, I shall have to check in the morning.

    To update everyone - I have checked everyone's legs, and they are not hot to the touch and I do not believe there is any joint swelling. If there is, it is not easily discernible to a novice.

    The one symptom that stands out is that one leg - or rather foot- will be twisted inwards under the body. I have five ducklings that are doing badly and cannot walk, only shuffle. One has little to no leg control at all this evening and cannot even keep upright when led down. He seems very weak. I have out him in a separate place with the two worst 'others', and they have feed and a more strongly medicated water. I have the worst one propped between the feed and water in a slight nest. Poor baby. I doubt he will be around come morning. He seems really bad.

    One the bright side, eleven ducklings are, although not 100%, doing well and are being let out into the big coop to waddle round and forage each day. I really think it is helping them build strength.

    I keep reading and researching, and it really does seem that Niacin deficiency is what I am dealing with. I am keeping up the supplementation with all sixteen, so we will see how things go. It's rough but sadly this is farm life! I do love it, despite the tough side.

    On a good note, we now have a beautiful Jersey cow and calf and three piglets! We sold the goats to a wonderful lady *sniff* and whilst we miss them we do love our cow! :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  17. goatsintheozarks

    goatsintheozarks New Member

    153
    Aug 1, 2013
    Morning update...he is still alive! He cheeped like crazy when I picked him up and when he flopped over he was kicking and was able to right himself. Sounds pitiful, but that is progress! I'm pretty sure one of the others that was in with him was standing better, too.