Domestic Waterfowl Club.

Illnesses Poisons



Plant poisons ;

Numerous poisonous plants, chemicals and metalscan cause nervous signs in free-range ducks when eaten in sufficient quantity.The presence of a poisonous plant does not necessarily mean that poisoning by that particular plant has occurred. Normally ducks discriminate against most poisonous plants, provided they are fed a well-balanced ration or have access to other greenfeed. Accidental ingestion of the odd poisonous seed and leaf ordinarily does not produce any adverse reactions. Only when the poisonous plant becomes a substantial part of the diet, or when minute quantities are consumed regularly over a long time, may signs be evident. The amount of plant material that will produce signs of poisoning depends to a large degree on the nature of the toxic principle, the part of the plant ingested and its stage of growth, soil and weather conditions and the general health of the flock.

So far the club has dealt with ducks that ate a marijuana crop and were all lying semi unconcious ( dark room and recovered) Ducklings  drinking quantities of alcohol ( same solution) Ducks eating prescription medicines ( not so good) Goslings attacking willow and stripping a tree in hours. . . clever geese as aspirin comes from willow to them a natural medicine . Oak leaves also stop scours, tree ivy is a tonic so often their browsing is sensible

Chemical poisons

Lead. Some commercial preparations of lead thatwere used in paints and garden sprays, as well as metallic lead in the form of spent shot, can cause leg paralysis and a green-stained vent.,

Feed Also be careful with the ducks’ feed. Store it in a cool, dry place and never use feed that has gone mouldy. Ducks can get aflatoxin poisoning from a mould that grows on grain. Ducks are very susceptible to the mould’s toxin and even small amounts can be fatal.

Mercury and other heavy metals  is another source of poisoning. It may be ingested by eating contaminated fish, weeds etc or along with seeds that have been treated with pesticides containing the element. The use of organic mercury pesticides on rice fields was responsible for extirpating White Storks from Japan; substantial mercury pollution of lakes and streams already exists in some areas from prior commercial use. As this is also a human poison any contaminant that kills birds kills you, it is rare but if in an old mining or commercial area and birds start dying in quantity ask for a vet check for 'heavy metals'.

Phosphorus. The yellow phosphorus used in bait for rodents and also in matches and fireworks can be poisonous to ducks if enough is consumed. Signs include depression, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, muscular weakness, paralysis, coma and death.. . . also often sicked up onto feathers

Antifreeze solutions (ethylene glycol). Ducks gaining access to this chemical may consume large amounts it is sweet and sugary tasting thus irresistable, resulting in depression, muscle weakness and death.It is also poisonous to cats/rats/foxes and other mammals and some have used it in the past to stop cats taking pigeons etc

Diazinon. This is an insecticide normally used on sheep, pigs and chicken runs. It is highly toxic to ducks. Signs of poisoning include inability to stand, tremors of the head and neck, and eventually death within 24 hours of exposure.

Salt. Four to six grams of salt can be fatal to growing ducks. Signs include great thirst, diarrhoea, weakness, partial paralysis and intermittent muscular spasms. So keep crisps OFF the menu

Medications. Any medication can cause losses and side effects when applied wrongly. Ducklings are particularly susceptible to nitrofurazone and furazolidone, and levels above 0.01 per cent can produce paralysis and other nervous signs. A characteristic of furazolidone poisoning is that birds have convulsions when forced to move. If sulphonamide compounds are given in excessive amounts or overperiods longer than prescribed they will cause a stiff gait as well as other signs which means medicating either via food or water for coccidiosis or using commercial medicated  chick feed can only be done with care and knowledge. Uk food does not contain  a large quantity of coccistat medicine now but some countries still retain it henec the online blurb of chick crumb = poison = 99% hogwash just read the label

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