Hard decision, what do we do?

Conroe, TX

This little duck is now 5 days old and it isn't getting any better. It eats well, but we have to hold it to the food because it just cannot stand upright at all. It's on its back kicking 90% of the time. Not sure what to do, we were hoping it would get better, but it's not. It can't stay upright, can't eat or drink on its own. My husband is considering putting it down. I hate the thought of that, but what life will it have? We can't always be here to feed it and turn it over. It doesn't even help to turn it upright, it flips right back over. It also seems to have spells almost like seizures where it curls its neck in and rolls into the fetal in egg position like in the picture and it jerks a little. We massage it and it slowy straightens out. It's heartbreaking to think of putting it down, but it's heartbreaking watching it try to live.

Thumbnail by smedgekles
Conroe, TX

Here is another picture. As you can see, the black duck that is one day older is quite a bit bigger, but then it had a larger parent than this one.

Thumbnail by smedgekles
Conroe, TX

And here it is toppling over, I had just set it upright and over it went.

Thumbnail by smedgekles
Conroe, TX

My son built a "harness" of sorts to put the duck in and feed him. Check this out, made with legos. He sets the duck inbetween the food and water and it eats on his own.

Thumbnail by smedgekles
Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

I would try keeping it in the harness or a hour at a time then massage the neck. Maybe make a collar with a toilet paper roll to fit loosely to leave on except at night so it can sleep. If you can't strengthen the neck it will have to be put down. You will have to work with at least 4 or 5 times a day or it doesn't stand a chance of recovering. If you have the time I would try to save it since it eats and appears healthy otherwise

That harness your son made was a great idea. What a smart kid.

Conroe, TX

Is this how it should be? Is this one too wide?

Thumbnail by smedgekles
Conroe, TX

another view

Thumbnail by smedgekles
Conroe, TX

It still flops to the side or it pushes with its feet and flops on its back. Wish I had a way to send you a video of what it does. Maybe I can send one via D-mail, it would play on Quicktime if you have that.

Mint Hill, NC(Zone 7b)

Awww, poor baby :(

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

yes that is what I was talking about. maybe after a few days its neck will start to strength with in not being able to fall back the way it was doing. It looks fine to me. Don't want it to tight that it can't move or swallow. Just let it stay in the harness your son made a few time a day to with the collar. Will need to take collar off to let it eat and drink though. I think swimming would help to if it can stay up right in the water. Give it a try in your kitchen sink or a deep water pan. Just make sure the warm is warm so it doesn't get cold. Wrap in a towel dry while you hold and love on it.

Send the video we can try it. Will it not post on this thread???

Conroe, TX

Not sure if the video will post, I'll try it tomorrow after I take my daughter to the doctor.

It still flips backward even with the brace on the neck. So hard to get it to stay upright. When we put it in the harness to eat, it eats well, but as soon as you loosen the bars across the top, it pushes itself over with its legs. Even when we held it up to eat, it was constantly pushing its feet against our hands. We have tried to let it swim, but it just falls over sideways and can't stay up even in the water. :(

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

What about Vitamin E? Would that be something that a vitamin deficiency would cause? I don't know about Ducks, but in Silkies with leg problems, I know Catsy was able to cure them with vitamins.

Conroe, TX

Try this link and see if it will play for you. The poor thing just can't stay upright and is a slippery little thing, hard to hold up, he just keeps pushing backwards. This was taken without the neck brace, but it does basically the same thing with the brace.
You also get a glimpse of the little black duck, he is quite a character.

http://imageshack.us/clip/my-videos/607/zz4g.mp4/

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

worked fine. Kind of makes me think its center of gravity is off. Is it a runner duck??? Just wondering since they are such a straight tall duck.
Poor baby seems so healthy too

Conroe, TX

Yeah, it does seem like it has equilibrium problems or something. The father I think is a Runner mix, he has the color pattern of a Crested Indian Runner but doesn't stand up tall like they do. Any ideas on how to correct the "center of gravity" problem? Or is it hopeless?

Bridgewater, ME

Did you try the vitimins?Get the poly vi sol baby vit without iron and drop them in its mouth.I put it in the water but I think straight would be better for this little fulff ball,what have you got to lose nothing else or time has not worked in its favor.Poor little guy.

Conroe, TX

Giving it vitamins and also seperated it from the other duckling that is now twice its size. Thought having them together would be good, but the other duckling liked to twiddle on it and that just added to its instability.
It has eaten several times this morning, (we go and put it in its harness or hold it to the food) and seems a tad bit more stable, but still can't hold itself up. It is more on the side now rather than the back and when we set it down, it doesn't immediately flip over like it was doing.
It better make progress soon or my husband will put it down. Not a good thought, but also not good for it to continie as it has been. Yesterday it had gotten itself to the water, but got all wet and it was cold. I took it and gave it a warm bath and it was still so cold. We held it for a long time and wrapped it in an old sock. Last night we kept it seperate from the other duckling with no water in the pen that it could get into. My son said when he checked it during the night, it was stretched out on its belly with its legs out behind it. He said it looked warm and cozy.

Rutledge, TN

poor little baby! I am struggling with a similar problem with a baby chick. She was abandoned in the nest. probably because she is a runt and her toes are curled under making it nearly impossible to stand or walk. I put little pipe cleaner "stints" on her toes, but she doesn't seem to eat on her own and chirps all day long. I'm going to do my best for her,. but your little duckling has far worse problems. So sorry!

Conroe, TX

Good luck with the chick bluebunn, hope you can get the feet corrected.

Little duck is still struggling, He eats well when we put him in his harness, but just can't stay upright on his own.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

Have you tried opening a vitamin E capsule and giving it to the lil duck?

Bluebunn... I'm sorry you are dealing with that.. but it sounds to me like the mom knew something we don't. Is your baby eating and drinking? You might try making a paste with water and boiled egg yolk and putting it in a dropper to feed it.. but with the bad feet, I'd say more than that is wrong. So sad. They are noisy when they are cold or hungry or thirsty. Good luck!

Conroe, TX

Update on baby duck, he/she died this morning. It seemed fine, other than it couldn't hold itself up, but it really wasn't growing much even though it was eating. I put it in its harness to eat this morning and a while later checked it and he had gotten himself out of it, so I put him in his smaller box which we kept in the bigger box so he wouldn't roll himself into the water all the time and get soaked. A while later my son went to check him and feed him again and he came in and said he was dead.
Really is for the best and at least we didn't have to put him down. I don't think I could have taken that. We wrapped him in a soft cloth and buried him. Bye bye duckie. :(

Richmond, TX

You did your best for him. He never knew he was supposed to be able to stand and walk. He knew he was loved. He probably had a happy if short life and is better off not growing up to be a helpless creature.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

Well, the lil thing experienced love, that's for sure. I'm sorry. I know you tried your best!!

Bridgewater, ME

So sorry, you did everything you could

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

yes very sorry. You did do all you could for it. May have been something internal or neurological that couldn't be seen

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

I'm sorry, it's always hard, even when we know it's probably for the best.
Sometimes it's just not to be. I find comfort knowing I've done everything possible, even when it isn't successful. I hate losing any life, but I know (intellectually, anyway) that all lives are finite, and I cannot control how long they will be with me :(.

Conroe, TX

Thanks all. It was hard to see the poor thing struggle and be so full of life yet not be able to be a "duck" as a duck is suppose to be. I know it's for the best, but still hard.

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