Thursday, 24 January 2013

I think my duck has rickets... please help.

Over the past few days, I thought my duck had duck depression. She wasn't all flappy and lovely, she wasn't keeping herself clean and beautiful like she normally does... she wasn't even coming to greet me at the gate...

Then yesterday, she couldn't even walk at all. She laid an egg where she sat, not in her normal home.

It's tick season here, so I searched and searched for a tick, and that's no easy feat on a duck, and I couldn't find anything.

I then searched for mites in her bedding, nothing, but I sprayed anyway. I made sure she had no cuts or broken bones in her legs (as best I could) and I made sure she was eating and drinking, which she was when I put her over to her food.

Next I put her in a warmish bath and let her swim around a bit, and she has fine use of her legs in the water.

I've attached the following to help with diagnosis, although I'm fairly sure it's rickets. Other opinions would be great.


Check list was taken from here.

Please answer these brief questions below, so we can help you as soon as possible.

Age:9 months
Breed: Muscovy Duck
Sex: Female

Your Location- country, state (different areas/climates have different problems)
ANSWER: Queensland, Australia

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? - As much detail as possible please.
ANSWER: Cant use her feet, shuffling along on "elbows"?

Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.
ANSWER: Slighly runny, greenish colour, stinky, but normal. No worms.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling
ANSWER: None seen

Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying

Condition Changes?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering
ANSWER: Drinking and eating, although I think she's lighter than normal. Breast bone feelable.

Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness

Agility Changes? - eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels
ANSWER: Lethargic. Not walking at all, but you can see she's trying to.

Describe your usual worming routine and products. Do you have a cycle that you use eg. every 3 months, or every six months?
ANSWER: Have never wormed the ducks

Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc

Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather
ANSWER: It's been very hot here lately (temps 35C) but I've been putting ice in their fresh water every day, and they have plenty of shade, and dusty areas. She lives with two chickens, and they get along well.


I'm new to duck ownership, and this one was thrown on me. I feel horrible that I think she's missing something in her diet that's making her so sick.

I have some questions:

1) What do you think it is?
2) What are some natural/home remedies that I can do to add vitamin D and calcium in her diet.
3) Am I supposed to feed ducks differently to chickens?
4) Any links that might be of use?
5) Actually, any information at all that's useful to duck ownership.


These two pictures show her trying to walk... see how she's on her elbows and not her feet?



  1. Here is some info......But I would get her into your vet asap.

    1. Thank you so much for the information Jamie. The first link was invaluable. I tried her on the mixture stated, and at first she wouldn't eat, but is now eating it well. She looks much better today. While still not walking, she's moving more and her eyes are clearer. Thank you once again.