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 Post subject: Why are ducklings dying?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Hi,
Friends of ours have had ducks for quite a few years now and one of the ducks recently hatched a batch of about 12 babies. I'm not sure how old they are but they are mostly feathered. The ducklings started becoming lethargic and then dying a few days later. I think they only have about five left alive now. When they take them out of the pen and keep them by themselves the ducklings go back to being normal until they get put back in the pen. They live in a huge pen with lots of chickens, the ducks and drake. Four of the older ducklings are all right now that they are bigger, but one of the littler ones has started to look sick. They are fed cracked corn, armfuls of greens, a buck load of fruit and scraps everyday. Does anyone have any ideas why they are dying?
Any help greatly appreciated!

Cookie


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:26 pm 
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Golden Cockatoo
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This thread is being moved to Good Samaratin Medical Centre as the topic fits better within the scope of that area.

NellyG (Mod)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:06 am 
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Site Administrator
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Cookie, I'm just guessing but if the problem is solved by putting the ducklings by themselves then it doesn't sound like parasites or infection. Without looking at the details of the housing, I'm guessing that in a crowd with older birds the ducklings might be missing out of good access to feed and water. Quite often the food is there, but the bigger birds can chase the little ones away due to the pecking order. Even if you see the ducklings eating sometimes, it may not be enough to keep them strong and healthy. I've noticed that quite often in a batch of babies if any are going to get sick it will be the smallest first.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:03 am 
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Flock Master
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I agree with Chicken07. Ducklings grow so fast and although their size can be close to adult size early on they lack the experience and confidence to defend themselves against older poultry and fight for food, not just ducks.

Young poultry should really be kept in a separate area to grow so this is stress free. They should be provided with age appropriate food 24/7 and they should always have access to fresh water. This may be hard with room limitations but there are mostly negative consequences to joining them with adults early.

There are commercial poultry feeds made for ducklings and chickens 0 - 6 weeks, then grower crumbles until roughly 16 weeks, then layer's feed. The first six months of life requires massive growth and the appropriate feed helps your duckling grow properly and be a strong and robust adult. Keeping babies in with the adults makes it difficult to feed the babies this feed because the adults will be eating it too - or making it difficult for the ducklings to eat it.

Scraps can be a great treat for poultry, but they rarely provide all the nutrients needed for optimum health. Hens produce a lot of protein and calcium to lay a regular egg and Im not so sure cracked corn and greenery offers everything they need to be really healthy. If they have any other regular issues with the health of their adults I would be considered offering a commercial feed and cutting the scraps and cracked corn down to treats only.

Hopefully the duckling are now separated so they grow and thrive and be happy.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:38 am 
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Fiesty Fowl
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It sounds like lack of food to me. It's a shame but a good lesson. Scraps are not food.

Daza


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:05 am 
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Showy Hen
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Thanks everyone for your help!

The owners have bought some wheat for the ducks this morning and are going to try feeding them some other grains.
They are also going to separate out the ducklings until they are old enough to go in with the others. They had a new clutch hatch yesterday afternoon so hopefully with their new food and their own pen they won't lose any.

Thanks again,

Cookie :)


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