Symptoms: Labored breathing (which can also be a symptom of pneumonia).
Cause: Airborne spores from moldy feed or hay, which should be avoided unless replaced at least twice weekly without fail.
Treatment: Aspergillosis can be treated with fungicides - but these are expensive and unlikely to be successful. Avoid this disease by good management. Aflatoxin poisoning may show similar symptoms. In this case, the molds that grow on cereal grains and oilseeds produce toxins which are very damaging for ducks. Store food in dry, cool conditions. Never use moldy food, never.
Symptoms: Loss of muscular control of legs, wings and neck, sometimes called limberneck. Birds are unable to swallow.
Cause: Toxins produced by Clostridia bacteria in decaying animal and vegetable waste. Avoid problems by keeping ducks out of muddy/dirty areas, and stagnant water, especially in hot weather. Bacteria multiply rapidly in warmer temperatures with anaerobic conditions (no oxygen).
Treatment: Give affected birds fresh drinking water. If necessary, introduce water into the mouth and throat. A crop tube could be used with the advice of a vet. Add Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) to the water. Recommended amounts vary from 1 tablespoon in one cup of water to 1 ounce per 50 fluid oz (2½ pints) of water.
Symptoms: Red blood in the droppings; birds thin because coccidia attack the lining of the gut and nutrients from food are not absorbed. Birds may be ill for weeks.
Cause: Ground dirty with droppings of birds which carry coccidia. Coccidia are protozoa and cannot be eliminated with antibiotics. More likely in summer in hot, wet conditions.
Treatment: Anticoccidial in the drinking water. The coccidiostat added to poultry (hen) grower pellets is not a treatment. Coccidiosis is not a common disease in ducks.
Symptoms: If birds are listless and suffering from pinkish droppings in hot spells in summer, this is more likely to be a bacterial form of enteritis.
Cause: Inflammation and bleeding in the gut can be produced by bacteria or duck viral enteritis. DVE is rare, but will kill most affected birds. Prompt treatment with a vaccine (obtainable from Holland, through your vet), is the only known solution (at press time). The bacterial disease is probably transmitted by the wild bird population.
Treatment: Bacterial enteritis is easily treated by using soluble antibiotic powders such as aureomycin and terramycin in the drinking water. No other water should be available. Move the birds onto clean ground a couple of days after treatment has commenced and treat for eight days.
Symptoms: Hot leg. Swollen ankle or swollen hock.
Cause: Bacterial infection.
Treatment: Antibiotic injections such as Tylan 200 or Baytril. Other treatments may be reccommended, seek a veterinarian's advice.
Symptoms: Dirty vent. Infestation may not be readily noticed.
Cause: Birds do not have enough water for keeping themselves clean, particularly at the vent during hot weather in summer. Injured birds may also have fly eggs deposited at the injury.
Treatment: Pick maggots off affected area. Use ointment, then fly spray. Check the birds each day for several days. Fly eggs already on the bird will still hatch.
Symptoms: Birds scratch a lot. Northern mite lives on the bird and sucks its blood.
Cause: Mites may be caught from other birds at shows, and from new birds you have introduced. Infestation is far more likely if the waterfowl are kept on the same premises with chickens. Lice are insects and also live on birds. They live on the feathers and are grey in color instead of red.
Treatment: Use pesticides such as pyrethrum or Ivermectin, a systemic treatment for pests. Flea spray or powder convenient and an effective way to treat for lice or mites. Part feathers and apply powder to birds, avoiding the eyes. Repeat every 3-4 days if infestation is not cleared. While treating birds, to help prevent reinfestation, a little powder may be dusted on immediate surroundings where mites breed: under nesting material, cracks and crevices.
Symptoms: Lack of coordination, loss of weight.
Cause: Lead shot from cartridges of air gun pellet. Lead-based paint ingestion.
Treatment: Make sure the source of lead cannot be accessed. Provide grit for the birds so that they do not pick up bits of lead for the gizzard.
Symptoms: Loss of appetite, increased thirst, watery then green droppings. Loss of coordination.
Cause: Bacteria in the environment.
Treatment: Prompt treatment with antibiotic may save larger birds. Eliminate carriers, such as rats.
Symptoms: Males - the penis is dropped externally from the body. Females - the lower part of the oviduct protrudes.
Cause: This condition is most common in overweight older hens and in early laying birds with low bodyweight. Poor muscle tone is another cause.
Treatment: Seek advise from a qualified avian veterinarian.
Symptoms: The birds sits hunched up, and bobs its tail up and down to assist in breathing.
Cause: Bacterial infection, especially in spells of intensely wet weather. Symptoms of Aspergillosis are similar, but will not respond to antibiotic treatment.
Treatment: A long course of antibiotic such as Tylan 200, in the case of a bacterial infection. Consult your vet, infection is difficult to resolve.
Symptoms: Weeping nostrils and puffed up cheeks.
Cause: Bacteria in the environment infect the sinuses.
Treatment: Appropriate antibiotic injection such as Baytril or Tylan 200. Treatment should be immediate to be effective. Daily antibiotic flushing of the sinuses by a veterinary surgeon is required until the swelling resolves. If treatment is delayed and the cheeks harden, there is no known cure.
Slipped Wing / Angel Wing
Symptoms: The primary feathers of the wings in young birds turn outwards. They may also just drop.
Cause: The ducklings are fed a diet too high in protein and grow too fast. The blood in the quills is too heavy for the wings to support.
Treatment: Feed growing birds a lower protein diet while they develop the primary feathers.