Niacin (also known at Vitamin B3) is a vital nutrient that ducklings need to grow strong & healthy bones.
Anyone who has raised ducklings knows they grow crazy fast – sometimes it seems to happen right before your eyes. In the first two weeks of life, the average duckling gains 7 times their birth weight!! As a comparison, it takes a human baby 6-7 YEARS to gain 7 times their birth weight (and you thought your human baby grew up too fast!)
This super fast growth rate means they need a super amount of nutrition. Feeding your ducklings a proper diet in the first few months really can determine the quality of the rest of their life.
The ideal feed for ducklings is to find a specific waterfowl or duck starter feed. This should have all the nutrients needed to grow healthy, strong ducks. Waterfowl starter feed can be really hard to come by because more people raise chickens than ducks and most chick starter feed is marketed as appropriate for all types of poultry. The problem is that ducklings need 2-3 times the amount of niacin that chicks need.
What if my duckling doesn’t get enough niacin?
Niacin is needed for your duckling to grow strong bones and the effects can particularly be seen in their leg strength. In early stage niacin deficiency, you will notice your duckling is reluctant to walk and move around. They might take a few steps and then plop down to rest. Their legs can appear shaky and they might rock back onto their hocks.
At this stage, the deficiency can still be fixed without any permanent damage. Niacin is not a nutrient that ducks can store in their body so it is necessary for you to provide supplements every day.
The longer the deficiency goes on, the more permanent the damage can be. After a couple weeks, your duckling will start to have bowed legs and will not want to move about very much, as walking can be painful for them.
Depending on the severity of it, their legs can become so deformed or walking so painful that the duckling can die within just a few weeks because it is too hard for the duckling to move to get food & water.
How to supplement your duck’s diet
In the wild, mother ducks are constantly foraging for themselves & their babies. They eat a lot of fish, bugs, crustaceans, amphibians, seeds & weedy greens to get plenty of natural sources of niacin. You don’t have to spend the day foraging for your baby ducks though. There are easy to use dietary supplements that you can add to your duck’s feed.
This is probably the most used supplement for duck owners. Available widely at health stores, natural food stores, or online, brewer’s yeast is commonly used in bread making and beer brewing. It is often taken by humans as a nutritional supplement good for boosting immune & digestive health. Nursing mothers have also found it helps increase their milk supply.
For your ducklings you can mix 1.5 tablespoons of brewer’s yeast into each cup of feed. I like to put the brewer’s yeast right on the top of the feed so they will be sure to get some before it all settles to the bottom. You can also try wetting the feed slightly so the powdery yeast will stick to it (just don’t wet too much at a time, you don’t want moldy feed!).
Niacin (or B3) is water soluble, so you can also buy it in liquid form to mix into your duck’s water. Alternately, buy vitamin B3 tablets, open them and sprinkle the contents into the water. You want to try and get about 500 mg of B3 per 4 gallons of water. This can be tricky because ducks waste so much water, it’s hard to know if they are splashing it around or drinking it!
If you have one bird in particular that seems to be struggling, I would get the liquid B3 and administer 10-20 mg daily to that bird to be sure they are getting what they need on top of the general water supplement.
How long do I need to supplement my duckling’s diet?
You will want to continue with the supplements until your ducks are full grown (around 18-20 weeks). At this time, your ducks will be getting ready to lay their first egg and you will be switching over to layer feed. Click here to read more about feeding your ducks for life
Adult ducks still require niacin in their diet, but the needs are not as high as when they are fast growing ducklings. If your ducks have the chance to free range, they will likely get enough niacin by eating tasty bugs all day long.
If your ducks don’t free range at all, you can add special treats of dried mealworms, crickets, peas, sweet potatoes, chicken or turkey meat, fish, and pumpkin. You can also continue to supplement their diet with brewer’s yeast or liquid B3 at about half the amounts you gave them as ducklings.
I recommend you look into raising insects/worms (as well as doing sprouts for animal feed). Meal worms, soldier flies, crickets, and earth worms are incredible sources of protein and nutrients, incredibly easy to raise, multiply exponentially, and are nature’s perfect food for birds and fish (perfect starter food too). Lots of you tube videos on how to, and most bugs grow on old expired oats/grains/cereals (these can be found free to super cheap and unfit for animals is still ok with the bugs, go organic if you can because bugs don’t like bug poisoned food), old bread, old fruit and veggies (for hydration), etc.
The meal worms are high in niacin and really, all bugs are the perfect food as nature intended (and much much cheaper than buying feed). Side note, the meal worm turn into beatles, and then lay eggs before dying. Birds and fish still love the dead beatles, and they go exponential really really fast (fast enough to never have to buy feed again if you manage them properly and run different batches in different stages).
Kids enjoy the bugs too, and can help take care of them. And it’s not as gross as most would assume (exception to soldier fly larva, that usually involves road kill or old meat/meat scraps, etc.and can smell bad).
-Peace, Love, and Hippy Thoughts-
Great idea! Raising meal worms is definitely on my long list of future plans lol. The birds will all be so happy once I get that done
Hi Paul, do you think dried meal worms will contain sufficient niacin, or do they have to be alive? I have a duckling that I think is deficient. Going to the feed store and pharmacy now to get supplements, but in the mean time I have a tub of dried mealworms that might be helpful?
mealworms, even dried would be an excellent source. Peas, bananas, and rice (brown is higher, but white rice also) are all foods that are high in niacin that ducklings can also eat.
Great info! I hope to have ducks one day
Your site has been an amazing source of info for me! I’m brand new to ducklings and found it extremely helpful! I work at a theme and water park where we have some ducks that laid eggs in fear that our predator raccoons or snakes would eat (and later did with some others) I took home 12 eggs. Of the 12, 4 hatched and I currently have 4 happy healthy imprinted ducklings. We are coming up on 3 weeks and they look more like 6 week olds! Thank you again for sharing all of your knowledge. It’s been a huge help in getting them here and off to a great start!
so fun!! Ducklings do grow crazy fast! 🙂
I have a question I just got some ducklings they are about 13 days old and one is a rouen and its bigger than its friend but he seems very lazy so I dont think the previous owner was giving niacin options are limited where I live but I got some brewere yeast from a vitamin store but I dont know how much to give can someone help.
The label says 2tbsp=16g but the label does not say how much niacin is in the brewers yeast so that’s where I am confused.
The brand is –
now brewers yeast super food reduced bitterness
Hi Jessica, the proper amount for brewer’s yeast would be to add 1.5 tablespoons to every cup of food. I like to sprinkle it on top of the food so it doesn’t all settle onto the bottom
I seem to have one duckling who is struggling a little bit. 3 ish weeks old and is always plopping down to sit. Always walks over his own feet which causes him to trip and ends up just sitting down. Idk If this is normal. None of the other ducklings do that. My question is how do I make sure that he specifically is getting the added supplement? Do I open the beak and add the liquid there? I’ve just started adding brewers yeast to their food a couple days ago.
Yes those are the beginning signs of niacin deficiency and can totally still be corrected so it’s great that you are acting now! When I notice one duckling in particular struggling that is when I use the liquid vitamin B3 because I can use the dropper to put it right in their mouth
How much of the liquid dropper niacin do you give a duckling? Mine are only three days old . Also do you keep them on Starter crumbles until 18 weeks when you switch to egg layer food? Thank you
I use 10 mg for ducklings under 2 weeks and 20 mg for ducklings over 2 weeks with the liquid niacin. Yes, keep them on starter or grower crumbles until they are 16-18 weeks until they are ready to start laying
How do I know how much the dropper is for the liquid niacin? I was going to order it from amazon but again how do I know what 10 mg is with the dropper. I was going to get the herb science liquid niacin. I’m using the brewers yeast but I feel like one seems to walk a little and sit down more then the other two so I figure right in the mouth I know they are getting it. They will be a week old Friday
I use a medicine dropper that has the amounts marked on it
I have 1 ML droppers that I get at work but online it says 10mg in ml’s is 0.01 and not sure where that is on a ml dropper
I went back and checked out the instructions I wrote on my niacin label and I gave them 1-2 drops per duckling, per day. So that is actual drops – not a full dropper. They really only need a little bit because they are so tiny!
Hello! Your website has been a god-send. New chick/duckling mom here. We have a baby ducking that we are raising with our chicks and are starting to be concerned about her niacin levels. I got the brewers yeast and have been giving it to her when we feed her separately from the chicks but she isn’t getting that much I don’t think since we do keep food available in the brooder with the chicks. So my question is, would it be ok if the chicks ingested the brewers yeast and I just mixed it with the food we keep in there all the time or should I just get the liquid niacin to ensure baby Sawsee is getting what she needs..?
It would be ok for the chicks to have the brewers yeast occasionally, but to ensure your duckling is getting enough you would need it in the feed all the time and that will be too much for your chicks. Whenever I raise chicks & ducklings in the same space, I find it easier to just give the liquid niacin to the ducklings
I have a duck that is almost 7 weeks that can’t walk very well. she plops around on her legs most of the time. do you think it’s too late to give her some niacin supplements? if not, what would you suggest I give her?
Hi Dinah,I would definitely give it a try. Get her some liquid niacin so you can be sure she is getting it and it’s not just being scattered on the ground with the feed. Once she starts to recover, you can switch to brewer’s yeast in her feed until she is at least 5-6 months. Good luck!
Did your duck ever recover? Currently battling this now
Thanks for the info! I was able to get a duckling starter grower for my ducklings…actually the one you listed from Amazon. It has niacin in it, should I still supplement with brewer’s yeast?
that is great! If your feed already has additional niacin for ducklings you should be fine! But always follow your ducklings signals, if you notice some lameness it’s a good idea to boost it with brewer’s yeast for a few days to support a growth spurt
Your link to B3 shows me a non-flushing niacin. I have read that no-flush doesn’t work. Do you have an opionion or advice on this?
Hi Erin, excellent question! Yes you want to find no flush niacin as that is more readily converted in the body (if you absolutely can not find non flushing, then that is still better than nothing though). The brand I use is Nature’s Bounty, and I just checked and it seems to be unavailable on Amazon now which must be why Amazon converted my link to another niacin supplement. I’ll have to take a look around Amazon and update my links. thank you!
Hi We are in Australia and our ducklings are new to our home and with in the first week have ended up at the vet with one unable to move. It has been hydrated fed and given a vit B3 injection and antibiotics and now home. The duck can move about a little more but not a lot of movement. It is now eating and drinking by itself. I am going to go and get niacin and brewers yeast today.
But wonder what the chance of recovery is at this stage? Can it survive it it doesnt regain full function of one leg? We are keen to keep nursing it.
We got the duck to the vet at 24hours after it not being able to stand. At that time one of its legs was limp and not able to be used at all. Now has some movement but limited.
Hope we can get enough improvement for a quality of life.
It really sounds like you guys acted very quickly, I bet your little guy/girl will make a recovery. If they don’t, they might still be able to live a full life. We have one duck that is 4 years old now and she was born with a bad leg. She can’t walk normally and needs to take a lot of breaks when she is out, but she keeps up with the flock just fine. She has a strange sort of hop walk and when she falls too far behind the others she sometimes runs while flapping her wings -sort of a fly/run. She seems happy and loves being out in the field free ranging with the other ducks and snoozing in the tall grass. Swimming is especially easy on her legs so she loves to be in the water. Finger crossed for your little one. Your vet sounds like they are excellent, keep up the niacin supplements at least until they are 6 months and maybe even longer for this one if they continue to have issues. Giving your duckling short swim times will be an excellent way to help them build back up leg muscles.
I thought I would update. Our ducking is coming along in leaps and bounds with the niacin supplement. The vet did do another injection last weekend. But our duck is able to stand and walk and has had a big growth spurt. The duck still needs to rest lots after walking but the improvement is very significant.
We are so grateful for your site and the information. We are very grateful to have saved our duck. We love our ducks they are great pets. Thankyou
I am so happy to hear this!!!! Such wonderful news, thank you for the update!
Finding this article saved my ducklings life! We got 2 welsh harlequins on a whim when we got our chicks this year. We werent planning on it, so hadn’t done research and listened to the clerk at the farm store who said they could eat chick starter. After 2 weeks I noticed my little girl not walking much, or sitting down after 1-2 shakey steps. I googled and found your site, and we switched the ducks into their own brooder with their actual duck feed pellet. She didnt grow as fast as her brother and still sometimes has a shakey leg, but I believe making the switch to a niacin supplemented food saved Clementines life! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Yay!! I am so happy to hear this! I wish farm & feed store workers would tell people how important supplements are for ducklings, but so many don’t! Nice job duck momma, I am so glad Clementine is happy & healthy now 🙂
New duckling momma here. I bought the duck starter that you have listed from Amazon. Should I also add the B3 to their water in addition to the nutrients that they are getting from their food? How about the brewers yeast?
I have a duckling that seems to be wheezing occasionally. They are only a week old. Any suggestions? Thank you so much for your help!
If you are feeding them duckling feed, you don’t need to supplement with b3 or brewers yeast because the feed will already have higher niacin levels in it. If you notice leg weakness, adding some brewers yeast is a good idea, but in most cases the duckling feed will be enough. Wheezing wouldn’t be a symptom of niacin deficiency. Do they have water they can dip their whole head in? Ducks need to be able to submerge their whole heads to clear their sinuses. They also need to have water with their food in order to digest it and so it won’t get stuck in their throat. If they have plenty of clean water, it could also be dust from bedding shavings aggravating her lungs
Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! I have a 5qt Poultry Drinker that has a decent lip on it for the ducks to put their head/ beak in the water. Do you think that is sufficient? Also, I use the EcoFlake bedding which is a small soft pine shaving. Should I use a larger pine shaving? The pine shaving sometimes gets in their water and food, so I don’t know if that is an issue. It’s the same shaving I use with my chickens.
I’ve found that most poultry waterers aren’t quite enough for ducks to really get into. I will admit it ups the mess factor but an open water bowl (I like to use a small single serve casserole dish). Pine shavings are fine to use – but some birds are more sensitive than others to the dust. I would lean more towards the water than the shavings being the culprit.
Thank you so much! I will make the change right now! I appreciate your duck wisdom! Have a wonderful evening!
Thankyou for replying. That is very encouraging. We have had some little improvements today. And given some feed with brewers yeast. And have some niacin tablets for the water.
He had a bath today in a baby bath and enjoyed that. He needs a daily bath/swim cause he is laying a lot and getting dirty. He is inside in the warm with his buddy they are inseparable. They even had to stay together at the vet.
Thanku again ?
So good to hear! He is lucky to have a good human looking after him. Great job!
Hello! Your website has been great and I am so glad I found it. I feel horrible. I had no idea about niacin. My daughter got her duck at Tractor Supply on April 16th. We noticed her Peking duckling was struggling with walking but just thought it was overweight. Yesterday we finally changed her diet to Purina Duck Pellets that has niacin and did purchase the capsules. The duck doesn’t walk much, walks on his feet and is bowed legged. Is it too late for the niacin to work? Should we open capsules and dust on Their food or water or will that be too much niacin? Thanks for your time!
Definitely keep giving her niacin, I don’t think it should be too late for a full recovery, but even a partial recovery is better than nothing. Feed with niacin is good for ducklings as a preventative, but if I have a duckling struggling I will still give them additional supplements. I would sprinkle the capsule in their food or water at least for a couple weeks. Hopefully by then things will be looking much better. Try to encourage the little one to walk as much as possible and if you can give it some swimming time that is great for building leg muscles.
Thank you for addressing the niacin deficiency. My poor little Pekin duck is like Annette’s, My daugter got the ducks on 4/8/2020. Same thing noticed that he stumbling some and thought he was getting overweight or possible birth defect. As I researched found out about the deficiency. I feel horrible too. None of these places tell you about the possible common problem. I hope the duck can make a full recovery.
Unfortunately most shops just tell you to treat them like chickens which isn’t usually enough. I hope your duckling can recover too!
It’s awful and i still feel terrible. Thank you for the help. She has been on 500mg of niacin in her water that she shares with the other duck for a week now. I think i see a little of an improvement. The weather has not been great here so swimming and exercising has been limited since her feathers still aren’t all the way in. She has the best personality and I’m hopeful that she will get better.
Hi Liz so my babies are about 6 weeks moving outside since it’s going to be warm now on a regular basis and they have so outgrown being inside ha. I have a larger feeder for outside so my question is do I keep doing the 1 1/2 tablespoons of brewers yeast per cup of food all the way to 20 weeks or do I decrease that amount at all as they get older? Also with going outside at night is the best thing to do is lock them up at night inside there house instead of leaving them loose and is it ok at this point of age to not leave them food while locked up in there because then you have to leave water also and I know that will be a mess inside the house. Thanks so much I know I ask a lot of questions just want to make sure I do right by these babies! I appreciate all your help love this site
You are doing a great job! Yes keep up the brewers yeast at least until they are full grown. Even as adults I’ll occasionally supplement some in their feed, but it’s most important while they are still growing. You should lock them up at night to keep them safe from predators unless they have a run that it totally secure (covered on top, all sides with hardware cloth including buried in the ground). And they will be totally fine if you take the food in at night, they can make an awful mess with water in a small space.
I have 6 ducks and 2 seem to be struggling, one of the two is bull legged and the other one walks a little weird. I believe it’s a niacin problem but when we self quarantine them each morning so they can eat some feed with a niacin pill sprinkled on top they refuse to eat and I don’t know how I can get them to reach their daily niacin amount.
I would sprinkle the niacin in the general feed so everyone gets it – it will help the two that are struggling and keep the others from developing problems. Then I would buy liquid niacin (also sometimes sold as liquid vitamin B3) and give the two struggling ones 1-2 drops per day right into their mouth. Separating them from their friends is likely just stressing them out because it’s different and they miss their friends so they aren’t going to be ready to dig into the food.
Recently I had a 2 week old gosling that was limping on his left leg. The next day he was walking on his hocks with both feet curled up. Called Metzer and found out it was a niacin deficiency. I was not aware that geese and ducks needed more niacin than what was in chick starter. Metzer had told us that it sounded like it may be too late. The only niacin I could find was 500mg tablets. I crushed one and measured out the powder to 15mg. I dissolved this in about 3cc of water in a syringe, pried open his beak and slowly gave this to him. I did this twice daily. I would lay him on his back on my lap. I gently stretched his legs out and massaged his legs and spread his webbed feet. I also crushed a 500mg Niacin tablet and dissolved it into a 4 gallon waterer for all of the ducklings and goslings we had. New niacin was added every time we had to change the waterer. After 3 days of syringe applications, I’m happy to say he was back on his feet. Wobbly, but walking. At 4 weeks now, he is doing great!
That is amazing news!!!!! Great job! I am so glad you stuck with it ❤️
I have a question can I use the powder niacin mixed with water to give to duckling directly. I am having a hard time finding liquid
Yes that would also work
Liz, I have two 5 week old Peking. One is very large and the other hasn’t gotten as big but has been extremely active. Now today, all he wants to do is lay down, he will barely stand or walk where prior to today, he ran a lot. Should I give the Niacon drops and brewers yeast? I am so grateful for your website and knowledge as I am a brand new duck mom.
I would definitely give him drops for a week or so and also supplement some brewer’s yeast in the feed for both of them. Sounds like you caught it early 🙂
Thank you so much Liz! Joey is my 8 year old daughters duck (and very first pet that she has ever had) and she is so worried about him. Both ducks eat the Starter, so I ordered the Niacin drops and Brewers Yeast that is as listed here on your website. Thank you again! ??
Liz, we have been giving Niacin drops and Brewer’s yeast since Wednesday. Joey is still laying around and sleeping a lot and still won’t walk more than 2 or 3 steps without falling but can stand longer. We have to hand feed him 3-4 times a day. His mate keeps putting her neck around him and hugging him. How long should it take to see a change?
You should be seeing some improvement if you have been doing this for 4 days now. It sounds like he is getting worse if you are having to hand feed him because he can’t stand to eat. Do you have a vet nearby that will take ducks? It sounds like he might need to be seen by a professional
Any advice would be welcome, we have 3 ducklings now 17 days old, on day 15 we took them outside for most of the day and they all walked around and swam just fine.
On day 16 my fiancé took them out again but one of the ducklings would barley walk maybe 1 or 2 steps but than stops. The lame duckling is still eating. We separated her because her sisters were stepping all over her in the brooder.
We gave her peas, brewers yeast in the water, brewers yeast in the food and a few drops of nutridrench directly to her. Is there anything else we should do? How long until we should start to see improvements?
Definitely keep all those steps up, it might take a couple days to see improvement.
We are raising 2 ducks and 4 chickens in separate brooders with the plan of them all living in the same coop and run. Even though we have been giving the Ducks Brewers Yeast in their chick feed from day one one of our ducks started to have leg problems at four weeks. Took her to the duck vet, but unfortunately they did not know very much, just said we should have been giving separate duck feed. Immediately started giving the B3 drops and putting extra niacin powder in feed and water. Shes doing better now thank goodness, but still not at 100% yet – it’s been about a week. My question is about the amount of B3 drops, it says that one dropper full is 20 mg of niacin. Therefore I have been giving her one dropper full a day, your blog says you should only give 1 to 2 drops. Is that for if they’re much younger? that makes it sound like I’ve been giving way too much, although my understanding is they cannot overdose on it. She is now five weeks and additionally getting the extra niacin powder in her food and water. Also, when I put the ducks and chickens together in their coop within the next week or so is it OK for me to continue putting some of the niacin in the communal food and water for the chickens will eat it too? It will be impossible to give them separate food and water when they’re in the same coop and run. Thank you for your help!
Hi Jeannette, you are right they can’t overdose on it as they can’t store it in their body. Anything they can’t absorb will just be excreted out. So if your duckling is still struggling, I would keep doing what you are doing. It also won’t hurt the chickens for when you mix them together, so totally fine to keep mixing in the brewer’s yeast once they are living together.
Hello Liz. My husband bought 2 beautiful paws on the Tractor Suplay. Both were doing very well, walking, swimming and recently one of them from one day to the other just didn’t walk anymore. I feed them duck feed and I was unaware that there was a problem with the lack of niaciine. When I found out, I started treating immediately, but unfortunately she never walked again. She can move around a little with the help of her wings. I’m always with her around to make sure she doesn’t get hurt and to feed and water. When I need to move it, it vocalizes a lot. I would like to know if she is in pain, because I don’t want her to be in pain.
That is really hard to say. They often make a lot of noise when picked up just out of stress, so it’s very possible she is just stressed out by being picked up. Have a vet take a look at her, they should be able to tell you if she is in pain or if it’s something she can live with.
Thanks very much Liz
i have a duck that might have Niacin Deficiency how can i treat it?
Hi Mary, if you are talking about a full grown duck (over 20 weeks) they generally don’t need extra niacin. But if your duck doesn’t have access to free ranging and bugs it might not be a bad idea to supplement with brewer’s yeast in her food. Do you know if she got niacin supplements as a duckling? If she didn’t and you are seeing issues with her legs as an adult, unfortunately there is not much that can be done to correct any lameness if it is from niacin deficiency during growth. The damage has been done. Niacin deficiencies really need to be addressed early on to avoid permanent issues. I have a duck that has a lame leg from birth and she manages to get around just fine (she is 4 years old now). She can’t really keep up with the flock and mostly just hops on one leg, and I do think it’s getting worse as she is getting further into duck middle age, but she for the most part has been able to live her life with her disability so it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. If she is an adult duck that has walked normally up until now and is just suddenly exhibiting signs of lameness, I would look more into possible injuries like a break or a sprain.
what about full grown ducks?
full grown ducks (over 20 weeks) don’t need as much niacin as they do during their fast growth during the duckling stage. It won’t hurt them to get extra niacin through supplements but it isn’t necessary. Especially if your ducks have access to free range time, they get a lot of niacin naturally through foraging for bugs
Hi Liz, is there a specific brand of brewer’s yeast (human grade) that is safe for ducks. I’m not sure which kind to get. I was told I should get one without sugar but I am struggling to find that. Please help if you have any info.
Yes, you want to try to find one that is as natural as possible. I use Solgar brand, I usually just order it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00014DZL6/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thcaco06-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B00014DZL6&linkId=739ef668e9f28192e07f181a1ad6ff38
I could really use your knowledge, I have a pekin duck that has an issue lately. He is refusing to stand and I have been giving him b3 in their water. He falls on his left side and is breathing through his mouth in a pant. I am not sure what else to do for him. He normally is running around with my other ducks, and lately he has to be tube fed because he refuses to eat much. He drinks but acts like he doesn’t want to. It’s been 2 weeks since these symptoms started. I am having a hard time finding a vet. In rural Missouri that treats ducks. Someone recommended I feed a higher protein/calcium feed and give my ducks a vitamin, but not sure what to give, or how much,or often. Can you give this beginner some advice? Please.
Oh no! Poor little guy! It certainly sounds like a vitamin deficiency. I would switch to giving him the liquid B3 right into his mouth everyday that way you know he is getting enough. If he isn’t drinking a ton, he might be getting enough of the supplement in his water. Keep up your efforts of getting him to eat several times per day. If you want to temporarily switch to a high protein feed you could do that, but don’t keep him on it after he is up and walking around. Too much protein can lead to angel wing in ducklings. They don’t need calcium until they start laying eggs. I would stick with his normal duck or chicken grower pellets, maybe wet them down to make it easier to eat. But definitely start the direct B3 and add brewer’s yeast to his & all the duckling’s feed. If you can find a vet that would be ideal, but I know it can be hard sometimes to find a vet that takes ducks. If he seems stable enough, you could let him swim in the tub or sink (supervised) for short periods to help build up some muscle tone while he recovers. Good luck!
My white duck is 1yr and a few months old, she is having a hard time standing. She stands for a second and falls, she puts her wings out to balance and sits, she is scooting to her food and water she does try to stand and I have put her in the bath tub with her mate to use her paddles so she doesn’t loose muscle. I don’t know what to do, reading the posts I have separated her into a big dog crate in my garage with a heat lamp, bedding, food and water. I bought apple cider vinegar and put 2 tbsp. to 2 gallons, and have been giving her poultry vitamins from TSC directly into her mouth for the last 2 days. I just went and bought niacin capsules 500mg and opened the capsule up to sprinkle on her food but it seems she’s not eating it. She is a free range but we live in the north east and she has not been out of the cooped area to get her regular bugs and such. I did let her out the other day just once, because it was beautiful and I felt bad, with the rest of the chickens and her male mate and I think she and him were digging in the puddles which might have contained ice melt salt from the heavy ice we got this year. Do you have any suggestions on how to clean her system out if it’s from the ice melt or any suggestions on if I should do the dropper niacin, instead of powder, along with her dropper vitamins? I don’t want to see our girl not frolicking in the yard once the weather breaks and the salt and such get rinsed away from the rain. Please any recommendations would be so helpful. Thank you.
poor girl! Have you ruled out injury in her leg/foot? Sounds like you are giving her excellent care. Salt alone is very harmful to ducks, and they can actually overdose on it and die. Plus ice melt has other chemicals that are definitely not great for her to ingest, so that could definitely be the issue. The good thing is she wasn’t eating straight ice melt, it would have been watered down after being in the puddles. Keep up exactly what you are doing, making sure she stays well hydrated will help flush her system. You might want to add some electrolytes to her water if the vitamins you are giving her don’t contain them (many poultry vitamins are a mix). Ducks will drink about 1 liter of water a day, so if you think she isn’t drinking that much you might need to help her out with the syringe. You could try floating things like peas or shredded lettuce in the water to try and entice her to drink more. I would try to get the niacin into her somehow, either by getting the drops or mixing up some of her feed with a little water & the niacin and spoon feeding her. If she isn’t getting better in a week you might want to take her to the vet where she can get a full exam and possibly an IV fluid vitamin mix
Ok, Thank you!
Hi, I have two Black Swedish mixed ducklings who are both about 1.5-2 weeks old. One of them is completely fine, but the other one is starting to show niacin deficiency symptoms. Bow legs, sitting down after walking a few steps, more lethargic than is normal. I have started giving them nutritional yeast in their water and feed as of today. Will his legs correct on their own after the niacin takes effect, or will I need to splint them? Is it too late for his legs to fix? I’m not sure. Will he need to become a “house duck” and be taken care of all the time? Help!
It sounds like you acted quickly. The good news is that when you catch it early it almost always will correct itself and he should grow up normally!
Hi, my husband recently talked me into bringing home these 2 baby ducks that he found while out fishing last week. They just waddled right up to him and let him pick them up. At first I told him no so he brought them back to where he had first seen them and they followed him half way to his fishing hole before getting tired and wandering into the bushes. On our way back to the car we heard some chirps from the baby ducks. As we got closer these to big yet still baby ducks (no feathers yet) came up to him and chirped til he picked them up. I gave in and said ok mommy bring them home with us. Well neither of us have ever had ducks before. We got dried worms from a friend and have been mixing it with some other food my husband brought home from the store. Everything was fine m besides one was always tripping over it’s own feet. Now that same one as of this morning will only take a step or two before laying down. It still eats and drinks on its own. Is this the niacin deficiency? There aren’t any animal stores or bird vets in this small town and no way to get the niacin stuff. Is there things around the house or grocery store (small town store) that I can feed the duck to get it better again?
It certainly sounds like niacin deficiency. Niacin is a vitamin humans need also (it is vitamin b3) so if you look in your grocery stores vitamin section or at a pharmacy you should be able to find something. You can usually buy a B Vitamin complex in liquid form (so a mix of all the B vitamins). It comes with a dropper doses for humans, but you can use the dropper to give just a drop or two in each birds mouth daily. If it is a well stocked pharmacy they might have brewers yeast, which is what most people use to supplement ducklings. Humans use it as a dietary supplement and nursing mothers often use it to boost milk production. If you can’t find either of those, peas are a great natural source of niacin or tuna (find one packed in water)
I have a two week old Pekin duckling that has been rolling since hatch. Very active tries hard to stand gets a few steps in then falls but not very often. It gets where it wants by tooling and scooting. I’m feeding it duckling feed I bring it out to forge for bugs it swims. I just don’t know what else to do it’s such a fighter.
If the problem has been present since hatching it’s most like a birth defect or genetic so I think it’s unlikely it will ever walk normally. But as you have seen if it has a strong will it will totally figure it out! It sounds like you are doing a great job caring for her – keep up the duckling feed and I would give some additional niacin just in case (extra won’t hurt her, it will just pass through) and the bugs are great for protein. All of which will help build her as strong as possible. Swimming is a great low impact way for her to exercise and build some leg muscles. Keep up the good work!
I have a 2 month old duckling and have noticed the same thing. I have niacin tablets (500mg). She is in with chick’s and refuses to get far from them. They share food and water. They only thing the chick’s don’t share with the duck are mealworms. Can I sprinkle the crushed niacin on the mealworms? If so how much?
You can, but it might be more effective to just give the duckling niacin drops right into her mouth. That way you can be sure she is getting some
Hello Liz, I have a almost year old call duck boy that has got issues with walking at the moment. It started a few weeks ago when I noticed he was struggling to walk in his outdoor run and sitting down most of the time. I now have him in an indoor run with chippings and hay to walk on. I’ve checked his legs and feet for any other damage but couldn’t find any. Also I’ve tried giving him Nutri-drops but they haven’t had much of an effect. He has still full of life and very tame but just struggles with walking.
P.S. I’m from Devon in the UK.
Thanks a lot for all your information – its much appreciated as a fellow duck and chicken keeper!!!
Hello! If he is eating typical duck layer feed at 1 year old he should be getting enough niacin from there. Supplementing is really important when they are under 6 months though, so if he wasn’t supplemented as a duckling he could just have some lingering issues with weakness for the rest of his life. If he has been totally fine up until now and his diet hasn’t changed I would lean more towards an injury, maybe he pulled a muscles or something inside that you can’t see. You are doing everything right – keep him safe and try to encourage resting by restricting how far he can explore. Nutri-drops can heal his body as he tries to heal. I had a duck that was born with a leg that never worked quite right, she lived to 7 years old and had a full and happy life, so even if his walking issues never go away, he could certainly still have a great life!
Thank you so much. He has basically recovered now!!