Duck First Aid Kit & Duck Health

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You may have heard the best defense is a good offense.  Well the best way to treat a sick duck is to try and keep it healthy.  Providing plenty of fresh, dry feed (not allowing it to get soggy & moldy), giving them lots of clean water to drink & swim in, and keeping their house & yard clean and in good repair is the easiest way to have healthy, happy ducks.

But even healthy ducks will sometimes get sick, or an injury will require medical attention.  A well stocked first aid kit is something every responsible animal owner should have.  What items might your duck friends need in an emergency?  You will find many of the items that are helpful in a chicken first aid kit (click here to read about my chicken first aid kit) will also pull double duty for your ducks if you keep both types of poultry.

** REMINDER –  I am not a veterinarian, just an animal owner & lover sharing my opinions and experiences. Any advice on caring for animals or diagnosing & treating medical conditions for animals is for informational purposes and should be evaluated by a trained veterinarian.**

Hospital Ward – The first thing you want to have handy is a hospital ward for isolating sick birds.  If you can remove the duck from her flock at the first sign of illness, hopefully you can prevent it from spreading.  You’ll want to keep the sick bird at least 30-40 feet away from the flock.  If you have space in your basement, garage, or shed that could be an ideal place to set up your hospital ward.  Our hospital coop is a mini coop we built out of scrap lumber (click here to see how we built it), but an old dog crate would also work.  Anywhere the bird is safe from predators, is somewhere you can keep an eye on her, and has amble fresh water & feed would work.

General First Aid Supplies – start by stocking your duck first aid kit with general first aid supplies like disposable gloves, non stick gauze pads, a small dropper or syringe, small scissors, small nail clippers

Missing Feathers – A common injury with female birds, especially in spring, is missing feathers along the back of her head.  During mating, the drake will hold onto the female by the back of her neck/head.  Sometimes a drake will have a favorite female and aggressive over mating can cause a bald spot to form, sometimes there are just too many drakes and not enough females.  You should try to have 3-4 females for every one drake so he can evenly spread out his….”affections”.  If the spot looks tender or is bleeding, you should either separate the effected female or separate the male until the female’s head has healed.  If the skin is bleeding, you can spray the area with Vetericyn.  An anti bacterial spray, Vetericyn is used to clean wounds and treat infections.  Vetericyn is safe for almost all animals so it is a really handy product to have on hand for any animal owner.

Foot Wounds – The next most likely injury a duck will receive is to their floppy, webbed feet.  Their feet might be perfect for paddling around a pond, but on land, they can be quite awkward.  If you notice your duck is limping, pick her up and inspect the foot.  She may have stepped on something or otherwise scratched it.  This is another great reason to have Vetericyn on hand.  If it is just a scratch, spray to clean it, pad the area with a gauze pad and wrap with Vetrap.   Vetrap is a self adhering bandage used for animals.  The great part is it sticks to itself, but not to fur & feathers so it doesn’t cause damage when you need to remove it.  If the wound is deeper, you might want to add some antibiotic cream (like Neosporin without pain relief) to the gauze pad before wrapping it.  Do not wrap too tightly, you don’t want to cut off circulation, just keep the wound clean!

Bumblefoot is a staph infection that can be found in both chickens and ducks.  The infection begins as a cut on their foot, as the bird spends her day walking in dirt and poop the cut can get infected.  Left untreated it can eventually lead to blood poisoning and death.  I like to first try treating it by soaking the bird’s foot in warm water to loosen the “kernel” that forms around the infection.  Often after a soak you can wiggle the kernel free.  Occasionally, you may need to use a surgical scalpel to cut it free.  After the kernel is removed, the area should be treated with Neosporin and covered with a gauze pad & Vetrap and changed daily.  You should ALWAYS wear disposable gloves when dealing with bumblefoot infections, to prevent the infection from spreading to yourself, and to prevent transferring your germs to the bird.

If your duck is constantly hurting her foot or won’t keep the Vetrap on, they actually make duck boots for just such an occasion (click here for Party Fowl’s shop with custom booties for chickens & ducks)!  Formed like duck feet, they are basically shoes for your duck to wear while her wound is healing.

Eye Issues – Ducks need to have access to fresh, clean water at all times.  The water is not just for drinking and swimming, but they also must have clean water deep enough for them to dip their whole head in so they can keep their mucous membranes moist (click here to read more about Foamy Eye Disease in Ducks).  If your duck develops foamy eye or has other eye irritations, rinse her eyes twice a day with saline solution.

Respiratory Issues – Respiratory problems can arise sometimes hand in hand with foamy eye, or sometimes just on their own, like we would catch a common cold.   Separating the sick bird quickly will hopefully stop the spread.   Give her immune system a boost by adding electrolytes to her water; Sav-A-Chick is a popular brand that is easy to find at most feed stores.  Help her breathing by putting a few drops of Vet Rx under her wing before bed.  As she tucks in to sleep the smell will help like a menthol rub will help clear up congestion when you are sick.

Duck First Aid Check List

disposable gloves

non stick gauze pads

a small dropper or syringe

small scissors

small nail clippers



surgical scalpel

Duck Boots

Neosporin without pain relief

saline solution



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  1. Carol L says:

    Just wondering, would this same apply basically for chickens as well? I don’t have either at this time, but plan to have both chickens and ducks and maybe even turkeys soon.
    Thanks for this article!!

    1. Yes! Ducks tend to be a little hardier than chickens, but basically all the same supplies could be used for each 🙂

      1. Hi Liz, yesterday my brothers dog (pit bull) bit my duck 🙁 and he has a wound on his neck and lower tail and idk how to treat it, Ive been wrapping his neck ( not too tight) and using pads before wrapping it but other than that idk what medication to use on him :/ any suggestions?

        1. If the dog drew blood, you should probably seek veterinary care to prevent deep infections. If you duck is a male and you don’t raise your ducks for meat you can dress the wounds with Furazone on a nonstick pad, then wrap it. It’s an excellent antibacterial ointment. It should not be used in food producing animals though – so not on females if you eat their eggs and not on any animal you someday intend to eat. You can also use Neosporin without pain relief – for animals that produce food or don’t. Usually when I dress a wound, I spray the area with Vetricyn Spray, wipe it down with a clean paper towel, spray again, put Neosporin on a nonstick bandage, wrap with Vet-Wrap, then repeat every day. Good luck!

          1. james lindal says:

            Our female duck was attacked by an unknown animal shes pretty beat up and bleeding has stopped we dont have much money so were going to follow your steps and hope for the best weve had her for a long time let me know if you have any other suggestions Thank you

          2. Poor girl! If you can bring her inside while you are treating her that is really helpful. I like to use a metal dog crate with towels when I need to have a bird inside. It’s easier to treat her because she is right there and also will keep her from getting the wound dirty while it’s healing. I would first spray with Vetricyn, then apply antibiotic ointment, then if it’s somewhere you can wrap it put down a gauze pad and wrap with Vetwrap. Change the dressing daily, or if you can’t wrap it, retreat the wound at least once a day. Good luck!

  2. Debby Tyler says:

    I have a duck that has been limping. I thought she might have stepped on a burr, but when I look at her foot it doesn’t appear to have anything wrong. She is getting worse and she is having a hard time getting around. She just sits in her pen. Is there something else I should do. We have a pool for them and change it every day. We also have small cement pans(what you mix cement in) around the field. She is free to go where she wants inside the fence. We have geese so they are very protective of her. Suggestions?

    1. If you don’t see any outward injuries like cuts, scraps or scabs (check the bottom of the foot to be sure there isn’t a bumblefoot infection), its likely something internal like a pulled or sprained muscle. I would encourage her to rest it, sounds like she is doing that on her own. You can also add some probiotics to her water. Keeping her pool nice and clean is a good way for her to exercise it in a non strenuous way. I have had several instances of limping ducks and with rest they are usually back up and moving about in a week or two. If it’s been more than that, you might want to see a vet.

      1. Debby Tyler says:

        Thanks Liz

      2. Jennifer Hadlow says:

        Fantastic advise thank you so much

    2. Hannah says:

      Check her joints as well. They can get an infection in the joint that causes it to swell. We spent the money on antibiotics and pain killer, but it didn’t help. She just gimped around unfortunately until she got taken out by a friends dog. Feel the joint, if it’s infected it’ll likely be swollen and warm to the touch.

      1. Tami says:

        We have two ducks that have swelling and are warm to the touch in one leg of each duck and I’ve been keeping them in a sick pen and giving them antibiotics. Do you have any other suggestions?

        1. Definitely sounds like an infection so you are doing everything right! The only other suggestion I have would be to add some electrolytes to their water to help their body with the healing. Good luck!

          1. Tami says:

            Thank you so much, I picked up some electrolytes today at Tractor Supply.

          2. Tami says:

            The swelling still hasn’t gone away, in fact a little pimple has started to for. On ankle. I still continue to soak foot at least once a day, sometimes twice and apply vetericyn and use triple cream after morning soak and prid after evening soak. Can you give me the name of another antibiotic I can use.

          3. That is too bad. If the home treatment is not working, it is time to seek professional advice and bring them to a vet or at least call a vet for some advice. They should be able to steer you in the right direction

  3. Maritz Pedrayes says:

    Hi Liz, wow! this information sure helps us animal lovers. I learned so much! First time raising ducks. I’ve got a 5 week old little girl that’s been limping for 2 days. She eats, drinks water and sits next to her siblings when they’re around. You can tell she misses them when they disappear since she can’t go around with them as she did before. She lays down all day, can’t walk as much as she tries to. It breaks my heart. Looks like a Bumblefoot, but she’s a bit hardier and moves so much, I’m scare to hurt her. Is there something I can give her to calm her down a bit? She’s making me so nervous. Just something that will make her relax while I take care of the foot wound? Thank you.

    1. Have you noticed a wound on her foot? Bumblefoot leaves a little black scab on the bottom of the foot or in the foot webbing. Gently pick her up and tip her on her back to thoroughly check out the bottoms of her feet (or have someone help you). If you find a cut you will want to be sure it is kept clean (I know, not the easiest thing with messy ducklings!), spray it with Vetricyn and wrap it if she will let you. Separating her might calm her down, but it could also make her frantic to get back to her friends. What are you feeding them? Limping or leg weakness in ducklings can also be caused by a niacin deficiency. If you are feeding them chick starter feed, there is not enough niacin in the feed for fast growing ducklings. You can supplement it by adding brewer’s yeast to their feed.

  4. Dawn says:

    I have 4 month old females And 4, four month old drakes. They are all practicing sex on each other they don’t care if it female in female. I have separated the more aggressive ones from each other. But while they are grabbing the back of there heads they have injured 2 of the females eye. Looks like there eyes are blind, there looks to be a white haze covering there eyes. Any suggestions?

    1. Just to clarify – you have 4 one month old females and 4 four month drakes – so 8 ducks all together? One month old is awfully young for them to be mating, I would definitely separate the females and males until the females are older. They are mature and full grown around 4-5 months so the drakes are ready but the females are not. Drakes can be really rough when mating so they could definitely hurt the babies. You also might want to change up those numbers a bit. You ideally should have 3-4 females per 1 male to avoid male fighting and aggressive over mating. I would recommend either getting several more females or rehoming most of the drakes. When the number of females is not high enough that is when females are most likely to be injured. I would certainly keep the injured girls separate now until they have healed and keep their eyes clean with saline. As far as the female – female mating either you have a rouge male in there or the females are just trying to establish who is the lead hen

  5. Mellissa says:

    We have two female ducks & two males, all the same age (less than 1 yr). 1 female started laying around a lot last week then Saturday she couldn’t walk and the next day she was dead. Today the other female is limping. They`ve been laying eggs daily for about 2 months now. They share an area with chickens but they seam to be fine. Any idea of what could be going on?

    1. Oh no! That is very strange, but I am really not sure what could be causing that. Are they eating, drinking & pooping normally? I wish I had more insight for you, sorry!

    2. Hello. I know this has been 2 half years but just wondering if u ever found out what was wrong with ur ducks? I had 2 and same exact thing happened and one died and I saved the other one but can’t walk at all because both feet have hooked terribly. I syringe fed him n added niacin to his water but still don’t no wat caused it

      1. I am sorry this is happening to your ducks Becky! It certainly sounds like a niacin issue with your ducks (especially if they are under a year). At a certain point, niacin related lameness can’t be reversed, hopefully it isn’t too late for your surviving duck. You can read more about niacin here:

    3. Kristi says:

      Vitamin deficiency!
      Check with your local avian vet to find out what is lacking

  6. Jona Swaford says:

    I have a duck that has had the webbing on one of its feet completely torn off. I have trimmed the loose webbing off and all of the torn skin. We sprayed the injured area with wound kote (the blue spray on). She has been put in a pen near the house so we can watch her. She is now going to have to share this pen with a mom and 13 babies due to the fact that I only have 2 pens that I can put the ducks in. The other pen will have another mom and babies in it later today. I understand that the webbing doesn’t grow back. Will this duck always have a limp? Is there anything else we can do to help the duck? She is maybe 2 months old. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Aww that is sad! You are right it won’t grow back, but you will be surprised by how resilient animals can be. She likely will never be as fast as the other ducks (especially when swimming), but I bet she will get around just fine. Just keep an eye on her while she is healing, keep spraying the wound and keeping her separated as much as possible – you are doing everything right! If you can get her some high protein treats, like mealworms, that will really help her keep her energy up while her body heals

  7. anne tracy says:

    Where would one purchase that wonderful looking duck shoe? I’ve seen a few other options online, but that looks like the best quality one.


    1. Hi Anne, the photo is from an Etsy shop I followed and I just checked and they are closed now – sorry! But Hen Saver also makes a really nice quality duck boot:

      1. Oh wait! I found her – she opened her own website!

  8. Carey says:

    We have a Blue Swedish duck who has several odd shape bumps on her neck. I have never seen anything like it in my years of raising backyard poultry. I would describe them as tumors. About two months ago she was attacked by a suspected predator and I treated small wounds around her head and neck. We also have drakes on the farm and her mate is quite rough. Could the tumors be caused by mating or an undetected infection from the predator bites? Thank you

    1. I have never heard of mating causing tumors. Could it be scar tissue that has formed the strange lumps?

    2. DuckLover555 says:

      Hello! Hope you are doing well! Me and my friends got 3 baby ducklings but we are not sure of the genders for each of them. Is there a way to tell in babies? I don’t know if this will help but we suspect that the Pekin is a girl, the Mallard is also a girl and the (we don’t know for sure) Pekin-Rouen is a boy. We just want to make sure. Thank you for this website/blog!! 😀 🙂

      1. Hi! Unfortunately it is really hard to tell the sex of ducklings unless you have a lot of experience doing so (it’s beyond even me lol). So you’ll just have to wait and be surprised! Around the third month you should be able to start hearing the difference in their voices – boys have a low raspy quack and girls have a much louder clear quack. Sometime towards the end of month 3 they should also start developing their adult feather patterns. The pekin will be tough because males & females are both white, but the other two should become more obvious. Around the fourth month, the boys will develop a curly feather (drake curl) near the base of his tail, and by the end of the 4th/beginning 5th month the girls should start laying eggs ?

  9. very helpfull and good advice

  10. Hi Liz,
    My kids came home with 3 baby mallards earlier this summer. Which has been a wonderful experience with all intentions of releasing them back to the lake. However about a month ago one ended up with a broken leg and is now quite a bit smaller then the others. She struggles a bit to make it around the pen, eats, swims but mostly sits. So my concern is when we release them back if she would survive & keep up with the others. I can happily keep her until spring when the ducks return and release her then once she gets her size up. ??? Or keep her permanently as this spring we’re getting set up for a few chickens anyways.

    1. It’s hard to say how she would be in the wild. If she is slow, she certainly could be at risk of getting eaten. If you do decide to keep her over winter, just make sure she has another duck friend, or make sure you spend a lot of time with her. Ducks are very social and don’t like to be alone!

  11. I have what I think are two female ducks but not sure. The other day when I let them out if there cage one duck couldn’t walk she kept falling down. I don’t see any injuries of any sort but I think she may have either caught her foot on the opening or her and the other duck got into a fight ir possible mating stuff. Not sure exactly. The injured duck is eating and drinking but she stands in one place or lays down. What is the best thing to do to help her heal? I tried getting a vet here but none deal with ducks. Wow! So it’s the game of read what others post and hope it helps.

    1. It can be hard to find a duck vet! Hopefully you can find some help here. If you have inspected her foot and can’t find a cut, she probably just hurt it coming out of the cage. Like twisting an ankle. Keep an eye on her and hopefully by tomorrow she will be back to normal. If she isn’t you might want to keep her in her cage for a couple days as a way to force her to rest her leg.

  12. Muriel says:

    I have a question. My female duck has cracks on her feet with scabs but no blood, now it has progressed to her bill right above her nostrils the scabs on her bill are getting worse. We have been treating it with Vaseline because We can not get Vetericyn gel where we are. We’ve tried to find information on the internet or in books and nothing. Where we live no vet will treat a duck so we are flying blind here and advise will be welcomed.

    1. In the absence of a vet to treat her, I would try treating the cracks and scabs with an anti fungal or anti bacterial cream, it sounds like she has some sort of infection in her skin. Use a small amount, and use a cream that doesn’t have any added pain relief (it will be formulated for human pain which is too much for a duck). I wish I had more advice, I hope this helps!

  13. I have a baby duck that is showing signs of bowel blockage what can i do

    1. Oh no! Make sure you duckling has lots of fresh, clean water. Ducks need a lot of water to help digest their food so this is always a key step. If you are feeding them treats or anything other than duckling feed I would stop that immediately. Her feed has everything she needs nutritionally and for digestive health. Sometimes too many treats can gum things up. If she is in a brooder box or coop with no access to grit, that can also make anything other than duckling feed hard to digest. Because ducks don’t have teeth they rely on grit to help digest their food in their gizzard. Duck feed is specially formulated to dissolve without grit so if that is all she is eating, grit is not necessary. You can try mixing a little plain yogurt in with the feed. That can help loosen things up internally. You can also use a qtip dipped in Vaseline to clean any stuck on poop from her backside and to lightly lubricate the outside of her vent area (do not stick the qtip inside though!). Good luck!

  14. Cody Coco says:

    Liz.. i have approximately 50 mallards.straight run. There 6 weeks old.. i have them in a 8×10 brooder with about a 4×4 heated hut for them to go starting to have some start limping, then slowly quit and stay in one spot then slowly die stretched out..any idea? Its a wood floor with shavings on it. I change the shavings often.
    Why would they be dying constantly?

    1. What are you feeding them? Ducklings need more niacin than chicks so if you are feeding them chick or general flock feed they are not getting enough. The limping is a big clue for niacin deficiency. They grow so fast they need the additional supplement to support bone and muscle growth. I would recommend you check out my article here:

  15. Jenny says:

    Hi Liz,
    I have a runner duck who has an issue with her cloaca. I have taken her to the vet and they tried different antibiotics and creams, but it did not work, and it was costing me a fortune. Inside her cloaca, she has very thick dead skin in all the folds that peels if you pull it off. It has a bad smell, and it really really hurts her. The vet got me to peel it and put gels and creams. It bleeds a bit when you peel and exposes her soft flesh. Not good. I have not been able to find any information on the net. Have you heard of this before?

    1. wow, no I am sorry that is not something I have ever heard of. Poor little girl, it sounds really painful! I wish I had some advice for you, sorry

  16. Jason says:

    I have a male Peking that has received a puncture wound. I am guessing from an eagle. He is active and has full mobility. He is also very chatty even though he has been injured. We used flour to stop the immediate bleeding. I am giving him a warm bath to clean the wound. He is eating and drinking and we have him separated from his flock of chickens, which he has taken the role of the rooster. Any other suggestions aside from getting him to a vet? None are open till tomorrow.

    1. Do you have any vetricyn spray? It’s good to keep some on hand, it’s a antibacterial spray meant for pets. If you don’t have any of this, you can also in a pinch use antibacterial ointment (like Neosporin) provided you have the kind that doesn’t have pain relief. Ideally, you would flush the wound with water, spray with vetricyn, put some Neosporin on a sterile non stick medical pad, then wrap it in vetrap to keep the pad on. Good luck, sounds like he is in good spirits anyway!

      1. Jason says:

        Thanks. We cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide and then sprayed some antibiotic on it. This morning he was itching to get out. So we let him out, supervised of course and he went straight to digging up bugs. I think he will be fine, but we will keep monitoring him. Did call a vet and they said if he is not acting any different then normal he should be fine and to just keep an eye on the wound.

        1. Sounds like he is going to be fine. Keep an eye on it and clean it out for the next couple days but I think he will be just fine

  17. So we have 4 adult Drake’s and 2 adult Hens and 3 girl ducklings, should I worry about the Hens getting hurt? Any advice would help

    1. It really depends on your drakes. I have 3 drakes and none of them have ever gone after any of my chickens. But I have heard lots of stories of drakes trying to mate hens. If you notice this you need to separate them (hopefully once the ducklings get bigger the drakes would leave the hens alone). Hen anatomy is not compatible with drake anatomy and the hen could definitely get injured. So just keep an eye on them for now

  18. I say hens for girl ducks, not talking about chickens. Any advice on the ratio

    1. lol I see! I wish there were different terms for adult female ducks and adult female chickens! For a year or so I had 3 drakes and 3 hens and all the boys really kept going after this one hen and she lost tons of feathers and had to be separated out all the time because she would be bloody. When we added 3 more hens (so now we have 3 boys and 6 girls) things are SO much better. So I always like to recommend at least 2 hens per drake, and you won’t quite be there once your ducklings mature, but you’ll be a little better than 1:1 anyway. In the meantime while the babies are still young you’ll have to get through this spring mating season with 4 drakes and 2 hens and those are not great ratios. Definitely keep an eye on how things go. If your drakes are older (the first spring is usually the worst, the second is better, and by the third I’ve found they are quite a bit better) you might be ok. If you start to see your hens losing feathers along the back of their necks/heads/wings and especially if they have any wounds that bleed you might need to keep the boys and girls apart until summer when hormones settle down a bit.

  19. Thank you, we have Cayuga ducklings we think three girls, we named them Alaska, Belle, and Callie. There so cute, We have had ducks for 2 years, I love them, The other ducks are Pekins and 1 mallard. We got most of them last June. We got 2, 2 years ago, a boy and a girl ( Which were also Pekins) the girl died some time after we got the majority of our ducks. Then that fall they weren’t getting very good care, so because of that, and it was getting cold 4 of them died so we had 5 left 2 girls and 3 boys. Then are neighbor gave us her mallard drake because she just got call ducks. So thats are duck story, we named three of the boys, fango, spike,(he turned out crested) and Smith( the mallard)

  20. Kerry says:

    I have a 3 week old Pekin that is sneezing on and off, I’ve noticed at night time she is panting and breathing heavily. I moved the heat lamp up, on the warm side it’s 75 and on the cool side it’s 69. I can hear her breathing loudly when she is panting could It be an infection? I haven’t noticed any drainage coming from her eyes or nose, she seems healthy eats and drinks. There water bowl they can dip there head in and clean there nostrils and they get to swim in a warm bath every other day for 10 minutes or so. It may just be that she is hot but I don’t want to miss if it’s in infection. There are 2 other ducklings with her a Pekin hen and a runner drake she is very bonded to them and seems to stay where they are even if it’s to hot for her, she is also double the size of them. My house is 64 degrees is that to cool for 3 week old ducklings to shut off there heat lamp? She seems to be the only one panting.
    Thank you!

    1. Occasional sneezing is normal, just another way they clear their sinuses. The panting is most likely from her being too hot, as you guessed. Because she is bigger, she has more fat and doesn’t need the heat as much as the smaller birds. For ducklings, I start them off at 90 degrees and then go down about a degree a day (you can’t really be that precise, it’s just a rule of thumb). So if your birds are 21 days old, they would want to be around 69 degrees. The other birds might be ok with you shutting off the lamp, give it a try. If they start peeping loudly at you, they are too cold. Usually around the 3rd week I turn off the lamp during the day and just have it on at night if needed, then by week 4 it’s usually off all the time.

  21. Kerry says:

    Correction I meant to say that her other friend is a Rouen and runner not another Pekin.

  22. Kerry says:

    Sounds good! I will shut it off in the am and keep it off during the day when I can watch there behavior. I can’t get the lamp heat any lower as it is already raised 3 feet above the cage. I tried to find a less watt red light but can’t seem to find one, those 250 W are really strong. To think it’s 3 feet above the cage and still 75 in there is crazy. Hopefully they do good tomorrow during the day with lights off and I will go from there!
    Thanks again,

  23. Kerry says:

    Hi Liz,
    So I turned the light of this am and no one is complaining yet, they are laying together now where before they were leaving space between each other. Out of the 3 ducks I have the pekin always seems to breath fast and heavy. Is this normal? She is eating and drinking. She is the one that is a little more nervous and screams for her duckling friends.

    1. It could just be that she is a nervous duck and when she sees you come near her heart rate goes up. As long as she is eating and drinking and moving around like the others I wouldn’t worry too much. She will most likely calm down when she gets older

  24. Kerry says:

    Hi Liz,
    Forgot to mention is turmeric safe for ducks? I was reading you can make them a respiratory tea with oregano, turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper. I guess the turmeric and oregano is a natural antibiotic. I was thinking if my Pekin was having something going on this would not hurt to try? What are your thoughts in this?

  25. Gabriella Clark says:

    Hi, I found a duck egg in the water, and I dont know how long its been there but i finally took it in, and I put it under a heat lamp for a few minutes (I have it for my bearded dragon) but I tried candling the egg, and it seems to have some kind of white dots, and its very very blotchy. I am very scared and I’ve been doing research for at least an hour straight, and I haven’t found anything to say if it could still be alive. I tried putting it in water, and it sunk. I’m trying to keep it alive. Please help, I’m out of options

    1. egg shells are porous to allow air to come in and out as the baby grows. Ducks do not lay eggs in the water, it would suffocate the baby from lack of air. The water would also wash off the bloom from the egg – the bloom is an invisible membrane that protects the egg from bacteria entering. The egg was either carried there by a predator looking to eat it or somehow rolled away from it’s nest. I have a feeling it’s not a viable egg. The blotchyness is likely just the inside of the shell pattern or it could be the yolk breaking down. If it were in early stages of development you would see veins in the egg while candling it. If there are no veins it hasn’t started to develop yet – and if it had developed far enough to be close to hatching you would see a rather large dark shadow of the duckling taking up most of the egg. It usually takes ducks about 1.5-2 weeks to accumulate enough eggs for a clutch, and until then they don’t start incubating them. Development doesn’t start until they start incubating them. That way they all hatch at the same time

  26. Lori says:

    I have 14 Swedish runners that I raised from from 3 weeks old. No problems other than 1 female has a deformed foot. She gets around fine, just a little slower. I also raised 2 mallards (make and female) from a week old. They did great. At 4 months old they flew over the fence and away. After 4 days the female came back and she has never left again. I think she saw something happen to the male and is afraid to leave the fence. I just got 2 Peking ducklings that were 2 weeks old. They are now 5 weeks old and they seem to have a mass or something on the side of their neck. Any ideas?

    1. Well the good news is your runners shouldn’t be able to fly off! Is the lump on their neck their crop? The crop is located near the base of the neck, it is where their food gets broken down. So often, especially after eating the crop will feel full & sort of hard

  27. Lori says:

    Thank you. It is. That is probably what it is. I will keep a watch on it. I never had this problem with any of my other ducks as ducklings.

  28. Janna says:

    Hi!! This is super helpful and I love your site :). I am raising 4 ducklings for the first time and have so many questions! 2 I believe are Pekins, they were fluffy little yellow guys. Now they are about 2 weeks old but are developing some strange looks on their heads – brownish/ red color almost and looks like they are wet all of the time… almost like a scab maybe? They are acting totally normal and the 2 Khakis look fine. Should I be concerned?? I can’t find anything like this online. Maybe they are a different breed and their feathers are coming in weirdly?? Just not sure if I need to change their environment. It’s hard to explain without a picture but was curious if you know what I’m talking about. Thanks!!

    1. Hmm that is strange, I have no idea what that could be if they are Pekins. Is it possible they are crested ducks? They have little tufts of fluff on top of their head almost like a hat, maybe that could be the cause of the strange feather growth with their crests coming in? White Crested ducks would look a lot like Pekins in the first couple weeks. Since it is both of the ducklings I would say it has to breed related, either they are growing some different color head feathers or a crest. But keep an eye on it, it doesn’t sound like it is harming them in anyway right? If you want you can email me a picture at 🙂

  29. Leighann says:

    Hello, I have 4 hatched Perkins, they are 5 days old. Took them out of their brooder so they can walk and explore. One of the ducklings had pooped and had poop on it’s butt so I wiped it with baby wipe. I think I irritated her bottom. I didn’t noticed it at the time. They also had a chance soon after to play in our backyard with warm water in a baking pan. (It was sunny California day.) after playing outside for over an hour I brought them inside. This is when I noticed her butt feathers not drying. Her bottom looks red and she keeps scratching at it. How can I reduce the irritation?

    1. That is very strange, I haven’t heard of a reaction like that before. I would put some Vaseline on the area, it will help soothe and heal it and the taste will likely discourage her from picking at it

  30. Jamie says:


    Today while out in the yard I noticed that my girl has lost all of her feathers on her back under her wings. It has me worried??? I know her neck missing feathers is from our Drake. Can anyone offer any information? Please and thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Jamie, that is also related to mating. When the drake is standing on her back he often hooks his feet under her wings to steady himself. As he tries to steady himself, or if she is struggling, his claws and feet can rip out feathers. They do make “saddles” for just this purpose. It is like a little backwards apron you can put on your duck’s back to protect her feathers as they regrow

      1. Jamie Speidel says:

        I wasn’t sure if it maybe had to do with that too. It just looked painful, it wasn’t patches it’s the entire section. My poor baby… Thank you for the information.

        1. I had a chicken last season who lost all of her feathers on her back from wing to wing. She unfortunately was the rooster’s favorite. Poor thing. We got her a chicken saddle that she wore pretty much the whole summer before her feathers were back to normal

  31. Emma McMillan says:

    I have a little duckling she started limping yesterday and won’t really walk. Her knee looks swollen but it’s not hot, and it has a little scrape on the side but it doesn’t look very deep at all, the vet told me to tape her leg because it could be trauma but I’m not sure how to do that either? Any other suggestions on what to do, and how should I tape it?

    1. Hi Emma, if you think the scrape is the cause of her limping, spray it with Vetricyn to clean the wound, then put on a clean, nonstick gauze pad and wrap it with Vetrap. What is she eating? Leg weakness and limping in ducklings is often related niacin deficiency. If she is eating chick starter or a multiflock feed, she is not getting enough niacin and her diet needs to be supplemented (most duck owners use brewer’s yeast). If the deficiency isn’t corrected as a duckling, it could cause lifetime lameness. You can read more about niacin supplements here

  32. Elise says:

    Hello, one of my duckling injured its bill today. A flap of it is hanging off, it bled for a short time. Has this happened to any of your ducks? What did you do? Thank you for any help!

    1. Oh no! Poor little guy! I have not had this happen to any of my ducks, but I know with chickens with minor injuries to their beaks you can use muslin fabric and superglue to patch the beak back together. Probably best to consult a vet on this one though – good luck!

  33. Kerry says:

    Hi, my pekin has been limping for a few months now. My child was chasing her to try to pick her up and she has been limping every since. I’ve checked the bottom of her foot to make sure there is no foot injury. It’s the very top of her leg where that round joint is, Its swollen and noticeably larger then the other side. It feels like it’s all swelling in there. She seemed like she was getting better this week but she decided to run when she heard a bigger bird above and now she is limping bad again. She is getting around eating/drinking and keeping up with the other ducks. Is there anything I can do to help her? Thank you!

    1. You might want to keep her in a small pen or in the coop for a week or so to force her to rest it. She probably just has a sprain, but you don’t want it to get worse with her running around

  34. Hi…I have a 3 week old Chinese Geese duckling that looks like the hip may be something wrong with. He was out of the cage and someone’s child took him and just through him back. I was to late to help him cause the mom wont allow me close enough to get him out. Today I noticed that he struggle to walk and if he sit down the leg is straight to the back and when he get up and walk the foot is bent inwards and looks bowed to the outside. Please can help me to help my little “baby”.

    1. oh no! Poor little one! This sounds like something that should be handled by a veterinarian though. Hopefully it’s just something like a spray or pulled muscle that just needs some rest, but unless he is examined by a professional you won’t know if he has something broken that needs to be set so it can heal properly

  35. Aubrey says:

    Hi Liz, I have 2 straight run ducks (1 I thinks a Pekan) but we are not sure of the genders or type. We have tried to put them both in our chicken run with other baby chicks and teenage chicks but they don’t get along. The ducks are going up against the silkie chick rooster (the roosters will be gone soon) and hogging all the food and water we have tried to give them more and more time together but that doesn’t seem to be working. Do you have any advice for us? We really don’t want to have to give away our ducks. Please help!

    1. Ducks can definitely be resource hoggers – especially with the water and they also tend to throw food around. Do they get time to free range and do they get along ok while out of their enclosure? It sounds like your guys are still sort of young so you might still be keeping them in an enclosure? I think ducks & chickens get along best when they are allowed to have lots of space for bug hunting and foraging. Your ducks are also likely bigger right now than the chickens because they grow so much faster which can make them a bit intimidating for the chickens. But once they are all grown (especially if you end up keeping the rooster around) size will be less of an issue. Do you notice there is a time in particular that the issues are happening? Is it first thing in the morning when you feed them? You might want to get a second feed & water bowl so everyone can have a place at the table. Whenever you introduce new birds to each other there is always going to be some bumping of heads as they all figure out who is in charge and where everyone fits on the pecking order. I usually find it’s best to let them work it out among themselves. Once they are all big enough to defend themselves (over 10 weeks or so), as long as they are not drawing blood or keeping others from the food & water I let them work it out. If someone is getting hurt or kept from the food you need to separate them. Having mixed ages makes it trickier. You might want to keep the baby chicks in a separate place until they get bigger so they don’t get stepped on or pecked

  36. Allie says:

    I have a 6 week old baby duck (don’t know sex) last night, it couldn’t get out of my pool (ducks have taken it over). I got it out & brought it in. Wrapped in warm towel & held til it was breathing well. It has been limping for about 10 days. One leg is swollen & painful. This article was extremely helpful. What if there’s no outward sign of injury? The whole leg & foot is swollen. Walks as if it’s dislocated. I’m afraid if the hawk doesn’t get it, this will. Only one left of 11. Mommy lost 11 eggs to racoons in June & 12 baby’s to hawk in March. She stays close to this one.