We recently did a presentation on raising backyard ducks for the 2015 South Carolina Organization for Organic Living’s (SCOOL) annual conference. As promised to presentation attendees, this article has additional helpful links, recommended reading, and other resources for duck owners seeking to identify and treat various duck illnesses and health problems.
First off, we recommend that duck owners/parents always have a duck first aid kit on-hand to treat minor injuries before they become problems. We provide a detailed list of recommended duck first aid kit items in our article Duck Health Guide: First Aid Kit Items, Tips and Recommended Reading
Also, we think it’s a good idea for duck owners/parents to do some reading about raising ducks before they jump in. Our top recommended reading list about raising ducks – and identifying/treating potential duck medical problems:
Our favorite, go-to duck book. We probably consult it a few times/month. If you only buy one duck book, it should be this one. Very comprehensive and thorough.
A great text for people looking to raise birds for eggs (or, gasp! meat). Also lots of good info for the backyard duck enthusiast.
We do not have this book (yet), but it comes highly recommended and looks like it’s packed with tons of good info.
Perfect for the duck parent going through an illness. It’s written more for the clinician, but we found it immensely helpful when dealing with a sick hen.
Directed 100% towards the clinician, but helpful if you want to understand what’s going on with a sick bird. Differential diagnoses, recommend diagnostic tests, treatments, etc.
Other Helpful Links & Resources
duck health: diagnostics
- Majestic Waterfowl’s Diagnostic Chart: If your birds are ill, start here. Very helpful in narrowing down illnesses based on symptoms. There is also a wonderful book written by the founder/president of Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary that you NEED to buy if you plan to get pet ducks. You can find it on Amazon.
duck health: legs & feet
- Poultry Podiatry: Really good link on dealing with feet and leg issues. Everything from penicillin injections to dealing with splayed legs to housing issues.
- Chicken Chick: Bumblefoot Causes & Treatment
- Bumble Foot Treatment: Tricideneo
duck health: eggs & vent
- A really handy egg shell trouble-shooting chart.
- Egg binding: facts & helpful info
- Simple Life Ain’t Easy: Egg Yolk Peritonitis: diagnosing. Only an x-ray can tell you for sure if your hen has broken eggs in her body cavity. We were luck when our hen, Svetlanna, was egg bound that her eggs appeared intact on her x-ray films and her WBC was normal, and thus no infection (just discomfort). Based on our vet’s recommendation, we did make the decision to preventatively put her on an antibiotic to prevent infection in the event that an egg broke inside of her (she is more of a pet/family member, than a production animal to us).
- The Chicken Chick, Egg binding: causes and treatment
- Fresh Eggs Daily, Egg binding: how to recognize, treat and prevent
- Backyard Chickens: Guide to treating egg binding
- Chicken Chick, Prolapsed Vent: causes and treatment
duck health: ducklings
- Chicken Chick, Babies: Common problems & solutions
duck health: digestive system
- Augie March, Intestinal blockage: characterized by lethargy, not eating, drinking, hunched appearance, white uric acid or clear water diarrhea.
duck health: general
- Ducks & Clucks: Brief story about metal poisoning
- Backyard Chickens Duck Forum: General, searchable forum. I often look here first if I have a question or problem.
How birds (humans & insects) breathe:
If you made it this far, congratulations! You’ve found one of our favorite things: www.tabletopwhale.com’s infographic.
Birds are crazy-cool animals. But one of the most interesting things about them is the way that they breathe. Birds don’t have a diaphragm to assist with the inhalation and exhalation of air.
Instead they have highly specialized structures called air sacs. These air sacs act like bellows that fill the stationary lungs (their lungs don’t inflate and deflate like ours do) and allow them to TAKE IN oxygen on EXHALATION. It’s this adaptation that enables them to quickly supply lots of oxygen to their bodies thereby allowing them to fly!