Duck problems - anyone out there got experience?

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7 years 10 months ago #522553 by rotors
One of our ducks (Muscovy) has always been the smallest of the batch and the other day found her riddled with Mites!! Arrg. I am always checking our hens, but never gave a thought to the ducks. Anyway the problem is not that - but another behaviour we have observed, and nothing I google with answer as to why. When she drinks water, her head goes backwards - over her back and then her head wobbles all around. Looks darned painful but probably isnt. She does this for a minute or so, and then it stops and she has another drink and it starts all over again. Sometimes she can drink without any issues though so not consistent. I've brought her inside for some TLC and she is eating and drinking regularly. Her tail feather appear as if cut short so not sure what caused that - perhaps being picked on by her larger siblings? She is approx 8-10 months old.

Any suggestions gratefully received. :unsure:

In fact if there are any duck lovers/growers out there who wouldn't mind a wee bit of mentoring we would gratefully appreciate it. I need some advice on setting up a more permanent housing structure for them, and would love some reassurance on my feed.
Thanks :)

MM and myself on 4.2 acre orchard: Apple, Pear, Plum, Peach, Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Fig, Apricot and Feijoa.
Plus 1 Dog (Whippet Kelpie cross), 2 Cat, 5 Sheep, Lots of hens and ducks - they keep moving so makes counting hard!! LOL And just recently 3 canadian geese

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #522554 by Deanna
I will be interested in your replies. I have a chicken who I suddenly noticed now drinks by sipping water, taking her head back over onto her back, now upside down, holding it there and then down again. Otherwise she seems fine.

25 acres, 1400 Blue Gums, Wiltshire sheep, 5 steers, 2 cows, ducks, chickens, bees, dog, cats, retired, 1 husband and 3 grandkids.
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Deanna.

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7 years 10 months ago #522557 by rotors
Hi Deanna,
Cant say I have seen a hen doing that before - so I would be interested too! Hopefully one of the poultry experts in the forum can help us both :)

MM and myself on 4.2 acre orchard: Apple, Pear, Plum, Peach, Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Fig, Apricot and Feijoa.
Plus 1 Dog (Whippet Kelpie cross), 2 Cat, 5 Sheep, Lots of hens and ducks - they keep moving so makes counting hard!! LOL And just recently 3 canadian geese

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7 years 10 months ago #522560 by Stikkibeek

Deanna wrote: I will be interested in your replies. I have a chicken who I suddenly noticed now drinks by sipping water, taking her head back over onto her back, now upside down, holding it there and then down again. Otherwise she seems fine.


Deanna, I have an Araucana pullet that was doing that, so didn't sell her just incase something wrong. She tipped her head completely upside down, but she seems to have grown out of it, so i wondered if it was a stress related thing. She was in with 17 siblings then, now she's with a small group including a rooster and she seems to have forgotten all about it.
Rotors, I haven't had a muscovy doing that when drinking, but like chooks, they will deposit nesting material over their backs when they start laying, just as hens do. Could be stress with your duck too if she's been picked on, or due to the mites.

My Muscovies took over the hen coop, even perching on the roosting rail, driving the hens outside, so I had to make them an A frame. I used to shut them in at night. They soon got to know that was their home. It was an advantage to lock them in at feed time as theyare very greedy and bossy and were terrorizing the chooks. Eventually I sold them all.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #522561 by judes
I would suggest that the drinking maneuver and the short feathers are symptoms of the mite issue. What sort of swimming area do your ducks have? I you notice they will dunk their heads in the water and then preen. Without seeing the head movement I think maybe this is what she is trying to do to ease the itching.
The hen doing that is a separate issue, I'm not entirely sure what causes this sort of star gazing but I read something the other day that some stargazers may have a selenium deficiency, which may explain why one of the hens has outgrown it. Personally I haven't had any stargazers for years and cant remember how I dealt with it.
What other questions do you have, maybe I can help, my ducks seem to live long lives, so I must do something right :P

Jude
Don't get your knickers in a knot; it solves nothing and makes you walk funny.
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by judes.

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7 years 10 months ago #522563 by rotors
Hi Judes, thanks for your reply - I hadnt heard of selenium deficiency so I'll head off to research that :) I love this forum !! :) Both our ducks and hens totally free range, the hens have a house at night to roost in. Ducks have several kiddy paddling pools in which to bath in, plus we have a stream that runs through the property, and a pond that fills up in heavy rain - then leaks away :( This little Miss Duck however may not be able to access any of those now that I think about it, so perhaps that has contributed to her condition? We do have many other containers scattered around the place that end up collecting rain, regularly tipped out when grotty.
We started with 6 ducks and 2 drakes on the property when we bought it. 20 months ago. We now have +/- 200. And we've sold plenty adults, and the odd duckling. Sometimes I find a duck in hen house to grab a bit of tukker but typically the few shavers i have chase them away. I would like to get the ducks penned so that I can
A) contain somewhat the damage (MUUUD) they do to our property when it rains :( and
B) feed just my muscovys not all the mallards that turn up for a free feed.
What I am trying to find out firstly is what sort of square meterage should I allow per duck. I am thinking about a concrete area that can be hosed off and a grassed area, and (longterm) a permanent concreted pond. We really have only one place to build this and how big we go depends on how many ducks we keep - which of course depends how much space each needs.
Our initial intention was for duck eggs, and duck for eating sometimes.

MM and myself on 4.2 acre orchard: Apple, Pear, Plum, Peach, Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Fig, Apricot and Feijoa.
Plus 1 Dog (Whippet Kelpie cross), 2 Cat, 5 Sheep, Lots of hens and ducks - they keep moving so makes counting hard!! LOL And just recently 3 canadian geese

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7 years 10 months ago #522567 by judes
Hiya, I would suggest that if you are going to concrete a living area and a pond area then you will need a good drainage system as it will need to be drained and cleaned regularly, ducks are messy, dirty creatures. I usually make sure my ducks have access to a water source that they can fully dunk their heads in daily i.e a deep bucket. Mine also have a kids clamshell type pool for swimming or bathing in but they usually only use this in the spring. Your ducks don't fly so just fencing an area should suffice but having 200 ( :ohmy: ) of them it should be quite a big area and I would be trying to make it movable. they possibly don't need big formal huts just small shelters for nesting in, these would then move with the fences.

Jude
Don't get your knickers in a knot; it solves nothing and makes you walk funny.

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7 years 10 months ago #522568 by rotors
Judes, :ohmy: is right - We dont intend to keep 200. 50 is more than enough I figure. I dont want to move them around, I have enough hen/chick + duck/duckling coops to move daily. Interestingly I have caught our muscovies flying. I tried keeping them in a fenced area which had a 6ft fence half way around, and 3ft the rest but no roof, and every night i would go down to top up their feeder and half of them would be out. Some of them get air to fly down the paddock when its feeding time. Even some of the drakes escaped the fenced area - and I thought they would be too heavy. Yes we have the clam shell paddling pools too - arent they great. Though as a warning to everyone - make sure small ducks/ducklings can get out as the sides are slippery and they cant get a claw in to propel themselves out - they will drown. We use rocks in one, and i have draped a small piece of wire mesh into and over the sides of the other to give them something to walk over. Easy to clean pools.
The appeal of a fixed area is also egg collection. I know its cold now, but we havent had an egg for 3 months. I suspect I'm missing free ranging nests somewhere. I found one in May, but she was already sitting so I left her. Turned out they were unfertile so I should of taken them. Oh well.

Food. What do you feed yours? I give chick starter and grower to the ducklings, but due to a few (approx 1 per family) dropped wings last year I mix this with split maize now to reduce the protein intake, prob to 50/50 of each. As they get bigger I add full maize, adults get a mix of full and split maize.Yesterday I found a rats nest so eww they had a snack of rat babies. Gross lol

MM and myself on 4.2 acre orchard: Apple, Pear, Plum, Peach, Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Fig, Apricot and Feijoa.
Plus 1 Dog (Whippet Kelpie cross), 2 Cat, 5 Sheep, Lots of hens and ducks - they keep moving so makes counting hard!! LOL And just recently 3 canadian geese

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7 years 10 months ago #522569 by Stikkibeek
Are you on flat land, or do you have a hill? I saw a really good permaculture idea for a duck bathing area which was a bath tub set into the side of a hill with the plug end supported but sticking out a bit and the lint filter taken out. They had a plug in it and some rocks piled in the end where set into the hill, so the ducks could get out. The set in part of the bath was level with the ground.
In their case, they had a large sized alcathene connected to the plug hole and the pipe fed downhill into a drum which was then used to water their garden. Nothing wasted. When the water got too messy, it was sluiced out and refilled.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #522586 by judes
I found the drop wing was due to the large frame and fast growing nature of the ducks and I increased the protein in the feed of the young birds and dont get the dropped wing. I don't have Muscovys though so that may be they need a decrease in protein. 50 is still a large number of birds and drainage must be a factor when deciding where you pen them. I also think they have a limited egg season and the better breed for egg production is the khaki campbell or similar.
Wow, you learn something everyday, I just read this; Another bird widely kept in domestication is the Muscovy. Although often referred to as a duck, the Muscovy actually is a different species. It is hard to categorize Muscovies—they have a body like a duck; they nest, attack predators, and hiss like a goose; they roost like a chicken; and they have a plump breast like a turkey.
also; When a Muscovy is crossed with a duck, the offspring are sterile and often are referred to as mule ducks or moulard ducks, depending on the cross.

articles.extension.org/pages/65354/which...kyard-poultry-flocks

Jude
Don't get your knickers in a knot; it solves nothing and makes you walk funny.
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by judes.

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