New Arrival: Very Sick Girl

This is the new girl who arrived today. She is a fawn and white Indian runner duck, and she is very sick.

She swallowed a very large piece of metal at least a week ago, and the metal has been poisoning her ever since.

Young ducks are especially attracted to metal objects. You may remember that we lost a duck to metal poisoning years ago when she found a way under the deck and ate two staples. I am not sure how this little girl managed to swallow such a large piece of metal, but it could be fatal.

She is so weak that she doesn’t try to get away or even move when I pick her up. And her legs fall into odd positions when I set her down, so I had to tuck them into a normal sitting position for her.

Here is a little video of her. You can see that her eyes still look bright and clear, so that is a good sign. When ducks are dying, their eyes tend to close up a bit and you can tell how terrible they feel. She isn’t eating, but she kept her medication down and she is drinking water and quacking a bit. That is also good.

She is probably the weakest duck I’ve ever rescued though, so please keep her in your thoughts. If she can survive and regain enough strength to have surgery on Tuesday to remove the metal, she might recover.

The back story on her that we know so far is that some people found her (or maybe she was a pet?) in Lynnwood, WA a week ago and tried to take her to a wildlife center. The wildlife rescue can only take wildlife, as every rescue must limit the kinds of animals they can take, or they’d all be overwhelmed and out of funds. And she is a domestic runner duck, not a wild duck. So the wildlife center volunteers told the people they would need to find her a vet because she’s a domestic duck. Well the people didn’t do that. They decided they’d just see if she got better on her own, and they didn’t know she had swallowed a big piece of metal. Then yesterday when it looked like she was dying, they took her back to the wildlife center because they didn’t know where else to turn. The wildlife center called me and I agreed to take her in and care for her, so they took her to the vet who took an x-ray today and found out what’s wrong.

It’s tough to be a domestic duck in the world. Especially with the urban farming craze. People get ducks and chicks and don’t realize how expensive their care can be. Then when things go wrong there is really nowhere to turn. Some end up at the Seattle Animal Shelter, which isn’t that well-equipped to deal with farm animals. Others end up surrendered to vets, who also don’t have funds to fix dying pets. They get dumped at parks where they’re easy prey to a number of predators including dogs, or if they survive they can mate with wild populations and screw up an entire flock with domestic genes.

We’re happy this girl landed here, even if she doesn’t have a happy ending. It’s no time of year for a little duck to be alone in the world. She is resting comfortably in a box next to Lester, who is chatting with her a bit. We hope she’ll start eating and gain some strength, but if she cannot, at least she is safe and comfortable.

We’ll share her name as soon as she tells us what it is.

Happy holidays from all the ducks and clucks (and the furball),


23. December 2011 by Silly Human
Categories: New Rescues | 11 comments

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