Ducklings Poorly and Rolling Necks

I received an email about ducklings that were poorly and were rolling their necks.

“Hey guys, I’ve been reading some of your posts, and I have a really important question for the duck farmer. I have 5 3 week old ducklings, who have been living quite contently, until today, I put them in a sideways tractor tire as a play pen, and noticed there was a bit of water in it. I didnt see this as a problem, so i let them jump in it, (though i am aware of a ducklings inability to swum, and the dangers of it. I came back five minutes later, took them all out, and took them for a walk around the farm, eating bugs and other farm goodies. Then all of a sudden, one flipped over, and couldnt get up, I knew immediately that he was waterlogged, and grabbed them all, took off inside, and put the hairdryer on him, this was all in the span of about 4 minutes, then his head started rolling around uncontrollably, and he soon passed on, laying on my chest. Then two others behan itching their necks and again their heads rolled back, so i sat there with the blowdryer on high, drying them out, as they were excreting water like crazy. It is now 10 minutes sinse the ordeal, and the four are still alive and with me. I believe this was because of being waterlogged, did I do the right thing? Is there a better way to help them? Did I diagnose it correctly? Why were they itching at their necks and rolling their heads around?? Thank you SO much. Dylan James Hobby Farmer”

Hi Dylan,
I am so sorry to hear this about your ducklings. I think it may be botulism from the
water in the tire. I have read that stagnant water can lead to botulism. The symptoms are
weakness, lack of coordination, drooping of wings, eyelids and neck which then leads to
paralysis and death. You can get an anti toxin but it doesn’t say what that is.

Another illness that affects young ducklings around 4 weeks old is duck viral hepatitis
which has symptoms of paddling the legs and arching the head and neck backwards.

I hope the others are ok. You might want to phone your vet and see what they advise.

I have added your question to my duck forum here You might be intersted to jointhis free forum where we chat about ducks and ask and answer each others questions and
post photos.
Let me know how they get on.
Kind regards

Sara @ farmingfriends

If your ducklings have shown similar symptoms to dylan’s ducklings then please leave a comment and let us know how you treated them.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

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1 thought on “Ducklings Poorly and Rolling Necks”

  1. HELP!!!!

    I teach 4 and 5 year olds and we have be very carefuly looking after our 12 duckling eggs as a class. They where due to hatch on Sunday so I brought the incubator home with me at the weekend. As planned they started to pip the shell on Sunday. 24hrs later 2 have made it out but are very very weak and have not opened their eyes yet.1 has made it 1/2 way out but the others, who we could hear chriping, have gone quiet.

    What should I do I don’t want to do the wrong thing.

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