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pollinator
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One of our daughter's pet ducks died unexpectedly yesterday. She was one of two hand-reared white Pekins kept in the back garden to patrol for snails and bugs. We noticed back in March that she was looking a lot less healthy than her companion...feathers not as well oiled, and markedly underweight. We gave her an avian vitamin mix that we use as a supplement for ducklings, and amped up her rations with extra table scraps and hand-collected bugs. After a few weeks of this she was looking every bit as fit as the other duck and we assumed that she might have just been losing out in food competitions. She never showed any signs of losing her appetite and the two always raced to whoever called them.

When we found her on her nest yesterday she was obviously underweight, but her plumage was in good condition. The remaining duck shows no sign of illness and I haven't been able to find any worms in their droppings. However, I haven't examined them microscopically yet. We were also asked not to autopsy the deceased, so I don't know if there was any internal pathology.

Has anyone else here run across similar cases of failure to thrive in fully grown fowl? We lose a high percentage of ducklings each year to the hepatitis virus which is endemic to free-ranging flocks in our area, but the ones who survive to adulthood can easily live ten years or more.
 
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have you ever tried de-worming them. usually if there getting enough to eat but not absorbing the nutrients its due to parasitic worms.
next time you lose one you might want to open it up and check the stomach contents. 
 
Phil Stevens
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I'm suspecting worms, too. We're pretty soundly opposed to dosing our animals with poisons, so I guess I'll need to do some more research into alternative fowl deworming treatments. With the ruminants it's pretty simple to keep parasite burdens under control: we do rotational grazing to interrupt the life cycle and feed browse whenever possible to get more condensed tannins into their systems.
 
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Sometimes I find that the simple act of adding a dash of apple cider vinegar to their water can help the ducks feel better. It can't hurt, and it might help...
 
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Food Grade DE can help some, especially when used with ACV.
There is a list of naturally occurring plant based wormers:
Carrots, Garlic, Mustard Greens, and Chili Peppers.
Pumpkin and winter squash seeds.
Poison ivy leaves
wormwood, Sage

Sometimes you have to get inventive such as blending a few of the items and stuffing worms with the mix so the ducks will gobble it down. (garlic is one of the main rejected treatments)

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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I do diatomaceous earth mixed with feed and also onion water but if they get really sick nikki does a ducky herbal tea I’ll try to ask her what’s in it.
 
Phil Stevens
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Thanks for all the helpful replies to date. The remaining duck, apart from being a little distressed now that she's a solo act, is in good health. Just to be on the safe side, I've given her apple cider vinegar soaked bread crumbs. Those were gobbled up, so we know how to get that into her. We need to get some food grade DE to deal with fleas on the cat, so that will be the next supplement in small doses, and I like the idea of having various herbs at the ready in case we notice signs of droopiness.
 
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If the duck is eating well while loosing weight, I too think it is likely worms.
I worm my fowl, be it chickens, turkeys or pigeons, with Ivermectin liquid form orally.
Designed to worm cattle. I do this twice a year. Early spring and late fall.
5 drops down the back of there throat so as not to get it down into their lungs.
And I know lots of people will raise hell about this idea. But I have been worming
horses, dogs (large and small), chickens, turkeys and pigeons like this for 45 years.
And I haven't killed one yet. I have a pair of pigeons 13 years old and still breeding.
Hell, holding the dropper in my mouth while grabbing the next bird I have accidentally
wormed myself a couple of times. No ill effects. LOL!
 
pollinator
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Well I don't think the Ivermectin road is one that most permies willingly travel (barring absolute short-term necessity), I was thinking about liquid extracts of the less-palatable wormers. I would rather accidentally dose myself with garlic extract than Ivermectin, and the dropper technique would still work.

I was also wondering, if snails and slugs are the major prey, would it work to gather some, feed them worming foods over the course of a few days (as though they were culinary-grade snails destined for the table), and feed the wormer-filled snails to the duck?

I am curious, though. Who asked that the dead duck not be examined, and why? In my books, that's a great way to let a danger to the remaining living animal(s) to fly under the radar.

Let us know how it all goes, and good luck.

-CK
 
Nicole Alderman
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Chris Kott wrote:
I am curious, though. Who asked that the dead duck not be examined, and why? In my books, that's a great way to let a danger to the remaining living animal(s) to fly under the radar.
-CK



It might be that the daughter wanted to bury the duck. When we took our duck to be autopsied, they told us that we wouldn't be able to get her back.
 
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