Thursday, April 28, 2016

A duck named "Faith"

I stood staring at one of my new ducks, she was crippled, couldn't walk at all, and was dragging herself around the pen, she was eating good, drinking good, and acting normal but it was just how she was getting around that was really worrying me. I turned to the Farmer and said, "This ones name is Faith." He nodded, "Why is that?" I picked her up and held her, lightly stroking her little back, "Because it's going to take a lot of Faith in God to get her better again."

A few weeks ago the Farmer and I began a new journey together, that's right. We got ducks. Everything was great at first.
I just assumed we had two girls and a boy since that was just how they acted so their names are Oliver, Olivia, and Faith (who got her name a little later). The night before dress shopping the Farmer told me that one of the ducks was walking kind of funny, almost like bow legged. Well, I came in after a day of wedding dress shopping and found that one of the ducks, Faith, was unable to walk all together. She was just laying in the corner and when I went to pick her up she tried to move away but when she did she had to drag herself. So I started investigating.. I called the Farmer in there and showed him how she was unable to walk and of course I scolded him a little.  He said she wasn't that bad the night before, at all. So I did what any new duck mom would do and I searched the internet. When I searched I saw that it could be a lack of nutrients or vitamins.

So I went to tractor supply where a guy told me that it sounded like the other ducks were beating up on her, so we separated them and moved them to a nice little chicken coop that the farmer made awhile back. (Faith had her own little area seperated off by a wooden board). We gave faith the probiotics, pedialyte and vitamins that the guy from tractor supply suggested. But she didn't seem to be getting any better, a little more energetic but not completely better.
Then the farmer began researching and found a link to Metzer Farms, the article was almost like a mirror version of everything Faith was experiencing. From the bow legged walking to the not being able to walk at all. We began reading more and we think we may have found what we were looking for, the answer is Niacin.

" If there is a lack of niacin in their feed, initially some birds are reluctant to move about. Eventually their hocks swell and their legs develop a bowed shape. It becomes very difficult for them to move about and they do not gain weight or thrive. In young birds you will see problems within several days if they do not have adequate niacin. If they remain on a low niacin diet, death may occur within two to three weeks as it is just too painful for the birds to move to eat and drink." - Metzer Farms
They also said,
" If you are not using a balanced chick starter designed for broiler chicks or game birds, you may have problems. If you are using a chick starter developed exclusively for laying chickens, it probably does not have enough niacin. Do not make their diet exclusively whole grains, like Chicken Scratch. On very rare occasions, the lack of niacin could be from a mistake at the feed mill." -Metzer Farms
Which I think, our chick starter that we have must've been for laying chickens only. So it would make sense.
"How can I supplement niacin? Niacin can be easily purchased at a nutrition or drug store. Typically the pills contain 500 mgs of niacin per tablet. Assuming a duck is eating about .35 lbs per day (this is how much a Pekin is eating at about 3 -4 weeks of age) , they need 10 milligrams (mgs) of niacin a day. So, theoretically, one pill has enough niacin for 50 ducks. But if you are grinding up a pill and spreading it over pelleted feed, much of it will sift to the bottom and not be consumed. Add a little water to the feed and it will “stick” to the pellets.
An alternative is to add it to their drinking water (assuming they have no swimming water). If they drink 100% of the water you give them, you only need to add one 500 mg tablet to every 8 gallons of water. But we both know that does not happen. If you think they are wasting half their water, then add one 500 mg tablet to only four gallons of water..." - Metzer Farms  
"How long does it take for recovery? Except for the extreme cases such as the picture above, improvement is normally seen within several days and there can be complete recovery. But this requires adequate niacin within 24 hours of the first sign of a problem." -Metzer Farms
"Meats have the largest amounts of niacin, so for ducks that means insects, worms, snails, slugs, small fish, etc. Niacin can also be found in plant material but not as concentrated as in animal sources: wheat, rice, potato skins."
"If they have been misshapen for more than a week, they will probably not recover - even if you provide the proper feed." -Metzer Farms

 So, we bought some Niacin from Walmart (Vitamin aisle), we put it in her water. We will continue to update you on "Faith the Duck" and we will see how she does with the Niacin in her diet. Wish us luck and keep her in your prayers! 

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