I just discovered that my 2 Indian Runners somehow got into my fenced off (poorly it seems) tomato beds that were just treated with Sluggo (Iron Phosphate) last night. I probably had put out about half a cup of the stuff. It's virtually all gone and there's no doubt the ducks ate it. I haven't turned up much info regarding toxicity in domestic animals. Anyone have a similar experience or advice on what to do, if anything? I know the ducks are excellent at slug control, but they seem to do more damage than the slugs when they get in there drilling around, breaking branches off, knocking fruit off the plants... Thanks..... Gary
Are you sure they actually ate it? I would think there is a better chance that they just brushed up against the plants and dispersed it that way. I've never used sluggo but I'm assuming you just dust the plants with it? Are they showing any symptoms?
I found this site that talks about how toxic Iron Phosphate sluggo can be; http://www.hostalibrary.org/firstlook/RRIronPhosphate.htm Although I'm not posting it because I agree with it, I'm just posting it because he discusses how the poison works. Apparently it contains EDTA which is a chelating agent (it binds to metal) and will bind with the iron in the iron phosphate. Supposedly this makes it toxic to the slugs. The reason I don't necessarily agree with him that it is so toxic to all animals is because EDTA is actually the treatment for metal toxicity (I know this because I had a bird who was very sick and was prescribed EDTA for suspected metal toxicity).
Heavy metal toxicity is a serious concern with birds, they can perish rather easily from it. BUT it usually occurs from them eating something metal that they cannot pass naturally or from a long term exposure to something that accumulates in their bodies. Something like a one-time dose of powder I would imagine would pass fairly easily. They may get some effects, but not enough to kill them.
I could be completely wrong, but based off this, I wouldn't think they are in dire trouble. I am not a vet though and I'm just coming to this conclusion from a quick google search (and a little bit of past experience with metal toxicity). If these ducks are dear to you, I would take them to the vet regardless. Something like this, if it is toxic to them, will need to be treated quickly.
If you aren't going to take them to the vet, I would observe them for symptoms (lethargy, not eating, changes in poo) and treat accordingly. Not sure how I would treat them at home for this kind of poisoning though...
I just had a thought! If you have some powdered charcoal on hand (if not I believe you can get it at the drug store), you could put some in their drinking water. Charcoal is used all the time for poisonings because it is so porous, it absorbs the toxins. Not sure how well it will work for the sluggo but I would say it is worth a try and it won't hurt...
One thing you can do with most animals and people is to feed them a whole lot of something they like. If you were to provide those ducks with some damp oats or other things that they really like, they may eat enough that the poison is pushed through quickly.
Our local usually-very-concientious gardening guy, Ciscoe Morris, related his experience at the NW Flower and Garden Show many years ago. He said the lady selling Sluggo was actually eating a spoonful on occasion to demonstrate it's non-toxicity. For what it's worth ;)
Also... does anyone know if it has to be wet to be 'used' by the slugs? And does anyone else have problems with birds eating it up?
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