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Old 05-29-2006, 04:27 PM
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Sad day at the duck pond - duckling seizures


I had a horrible experience at our duck pond on the weekend with a duckling I'm hoping someone will read this and might be able to answer my question of what was wrong.

I was watching a family of mallards (mama and 7 babies) swimming around and eating for 30 minutes.. all the babies appeared to be fine as they played and explored.. it was so cute to watch.. they looked all so happy. After awhile while I was standing on the shore I noticed one of the babies approach me (which was odd because they are usually afraid of people) and come onto land. Mama and the rest of the crew were FAR away at this point and he just sat there looking around about 5 feet away from me. I watched him carefully and he started having a hard time walking.. he kept losing his balance and getting stuck on his back thrashing his feet around. I didn't know whether I should handle the little guy or not but my heart was breaking so I turned him around so he could stand again. After a few minutes he walked into a bunch of bushes and got tangled and couldn't move.. I noticed his head kept tilting to one side like he couldn't keep it up.. it looked like he kept dozing off and snapping awake but I knew that wasn't the case. I didn't want to have to handle him again because I don't like interferring with nature or running the risk of the mama abandoning baby if she could smell me on him (I didn't know if ducks were like this because I know lots of other birds are) but I ended up getting him untangled and I took him closer to where his family was swimming. While I was holding him his head balance was getting way worse.. it kept falling from side to side and I knew for sure at that point something was terribly wrong He cuddled into my jacket as I carried him and put him back into the water. He made a couple of chirpy noises and swam back to shore at my feet and sat there.. he couldn't keep his head up at this point. I stood there with him at my feet in hyterics not knowing what to do for the poor baby.. I couldn't track down anyone to help me on the phone or tell me what to do so I was completely helpless and baby was getting worse by the second. I picked him up and put him in a less exposed area slightly under a bush because it was raining and then baby started having violent seizures. I started crying and I asked my boyfriend to watch him while I made another phone call but I found out a local wild bird specialist retired and no longer had a contact number so there was nothing I could do. Baby got worse, his seizures more violent and he was laying on his side with his head on the ground thrashing everywhere, it was absolutely horrible. I knew at that point baby wasn't going to make it but I just didn't have the heart to end his little life so he wouldn't suffer anymore. Within 2 minutes he passed away.. I was thankful it was fairly quickly. We buried the poor sweet baby at the pond close to shore.

My question is does anyone have ANY idea what could have caused this? Birth defect or disease? I know it's hard to tell what happened by just hearing my story but any help at all would be appreciated. He was fine when he was swimming around and it seemed to have happened out of nowhere. I looked online and couldn't find any answers.. I'm at a total loss. I can't stop thinking about the poor baby and I won't be able to stop until I find an answer.

I will never forget this sweet baby for the rest of my life. I cried for a long time afterwards thinking about the cruelty of nature.. I wish I knew what happened
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:42 PM
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Crittercall Crittercall is offline
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I'm really sorry that you had this experience. I know from my days as a rehabber how heartbreaking it can be.

What was the cause? My first thought as I read was low blood sugar (in which case you would take him in and warm him up and give him a little Karo clear syrup or something similar). I'm glad you stood your ground and watched for a while. Momma duck knew that there was something wrong with this baby. That's why she swam off without him.

It's amazing how God builds this device into animals. Most of the wildlife I got was something that the mother had abandoned and it would turn out that there was something wrong with the little guy because inevitably as long and hard as I would try they wouldn't make it. Mere woman cannot undue what Mother Nature has built in!

When he got under the bush and starting holding his head to the side sounds as though he was starting to have neurological problems, and the seizures that followed that go along with that thinking. The problems walking also fit under this heading.

Chrissy, you did eveyrthing you could for that little fellow. Don't beat yourself up over him, but feel free to grieve. I know how your heart feels right now - been there, done that with dozens of animals. And don't stop caring. If you close your heart to the animals you'll make yourself miserable.

Any more questions? I'll try to help.

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Old 05-30-2006, 01:36 PM
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Thank you so much for responding I was so scared and confused going through it.. it's the first time I have encountered something like this in nature and I didn't have a clue what to do. I think you're correct in thinking it was neurological problems It was just so heartbreaking seeing mama and family swim away and this little guy swim to shore at my feet. I now realize that it was out of my hands and there was nothing I could to do make the poor baby better.. Mother Nature sure is a powerful thing but I am still habouring angry feelings about the whole situation which I know is part of the grieving process and will pass eventually. My boyfriend said something to me after the baby passed away and we were standing at the pond looking out over the rest of the ducks that made me feel better but might sound a little silly.. he said that the baby came to me because he knew he was dying and he knew I would comfort him and watch out for him in his final moments. I like to believe it because it's something that gives me comfort in thinking and then I don't feel so guilty because I couldn't make him better. Ahhh I'm getting all misty thinking about it again and I'm sitting at work!

I don't know much about mallards so maybe you could answer this for me.. if humans do come in contact with babies when they are away from mama will mama reject them when they go back? I don't know if there is a definative answer but it's worth a shot

Thank you again for the response
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Old 06-05-2006, 08:56 AM
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that was real sweet of your boyfriend and outstanding of you to try and help the baby. Though I would agree with Crittercall. It seems Momma Duck knew something was wrong and left the little one to pass on. Nature seems a bit cruel that way but she had more family to tend to after all.

I think you did great to comfort little duckling at the very least. He was kept safe and put to rest, all thanks to you.
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Old 06-05-2006, 11:54 AM
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Thanks Keritsubo
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:25 PM
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You did well by the baby duck. I think your boyfriend was 100% correct in what he said to you.
As for whether or not Mamma ducks abandon thier babies I am not totally sure but I had read somewhere that since the human scent is all over so much of this world it is unlikely for a Momma anything to abandon thier baby b/c of it. I am sure you can find 20 people (at least) that will disagree with that.

I am glad you took care of him in the end.
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathydip
You did well by the baby duck. I think your boyfriend was 100% correct in what he said to you.
As for whether or not Mamma ducks abandon thier babies I am not totally sure but I had read somewhere that since the human scent is all over so much of this world it is unlikely for a Momma anything to abandon thier baby b/c of it. I am sure you can find 20 people (at least) that will disagree with that.

I am glad you took care of him in the end.



thanks
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Old 06-06-2006, 05:17 PM
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pesticide?


So, I was in the middle of posting a reply when cat walks on keyboard...lil turd. So, if this gets posted twice, I apologize.

I was actually just wondering if the duckling may have gotten into something...some of those symptoms are classic signs of pesticide exposure. Although it would seem a little weird if only 1 got into something and he/she was with mama and the rest of the babies.

Anyhow, I'm sorry you had to witness that...I too would have been hysterical.
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millie121
So, I was in the middle of posting a reply when cat walks on keyboard...lil turd. So, if this gets posted twice, I apologize.

I was actually just wondering if the duckling may have gotten into something...some of those symptoms are classic signs of pesticide exposure. Although it would seem a little weird if only 1 got into something and he/she was with mama and the rest of the babies.

Anyhow, I'm sorry you had to witness that...I too would have been hysterical.



Thanks Someone else I had spoken to mentioned pesticides.. I guess I'll never know what happened exactly
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:54 AM
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HELP me save/befriend Cosmic Charlie


so i came across this forum and this particular thread when in search for a somewhat similiar question i have been asking myself for about a week now ...

mygirlfriend and i have recently moved into a very rural area and have decided tostart raising chickens and a few ducks. all went well for the first few weeks. we really started to take ownership of all the responsibilites we over-looked when initially taking on this new venture.

as we have spent time calling to them and interacting with the regularly (appro. 2 hours a day) to ensure they are not frightened of us and of humans in general. ... we both have family close with lots of young children who love to play and be around the new chickens and ducks.

all has worked well expect for two instances when the larger of the two ducks has had seizures when i approach him ( i think it is a male duck not for sure ) . both times the above description of the siezing duck fits almost perfectly except the dying part. he runs uncontrolled in circles often on his side with both wings fully streched and shaking and twitching, hed rolls back and forth like dead weight. usually ends up on his back thrusting around while he screams out. after about 45 seconds he begin to break from siezing and is very unbalanced and head rolls around. i picked him up the first time and started to pet his chest and speak softly. the next time i stayed clear , but had to pick him up and he ran into the corner of the coop and wedged himself into an odd spot between a support beam and the gate.

how, what, why me ?

he freaks out a bit when others try to pick him up but nothing out of the ordinary like the other duck or chickens.

but when it comes to my approaching him he goes crazy (literally)


Christopher
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