Spinning duck

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Spinning duck

Postby n_holzer » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:27 pm

Hello, I'm wondering if anybody can help me with a problem I'm having with my duck...

I have a 2 year old Mallard drake, and recently he's been spinning in circles, while holding his back feathers in his bill. He had wet feather from last year, during the winter, so I had to keep him away from submergable water, until may time, when I gave him a small tub of water to test the feathers. This is when it started really, he dived in and straight away was swimming in circles. I presumed this was just the excitement of having swimming water again, but the behaviour seems to have worsened. He does it when I open the back door for him to come into the house, and he hesitates so I presume he doesn't want to come in so start to close the door, and he goes to grab the back feathers and spin. He'll also do it when he goes to jump into his pool but misses and then spins. Now it's even started when I go to put him away at night, and as I'm closing the door on him he spins. I'm really worried this is stress related. He lost his friend at the start of may, and for a few weeks was grieving, and it took him a while to get used to being alone, but he perked up a lot and seemed happy. He eats fine, he's on duck pellets, grit, corn mixed with this once a week as a treat, and verm-x daily, as well as iceberg lettuce as a treat. He'll also eat worms and slugs occasionally.
I am currently having a new aviarey type pen build for him, and am planning to get another friend for him when this is all built and he's settled, but I would like to get this problem cleared up first. I'm not sure if this is a behavioural problem due to stress or something, or a symptom of a medical condition, or even a mating routine? He went for a vet check up in may after his friend died to make sure he was in good health, and they put him on baytril as a preventative measure against any illness. I wanted to try this forum for help before taking him to his vet, as he is really not good with travelling, and gets car sick. Any suggestions, or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you :)
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby dorsetduckowner » Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:28 pm

Hi, and welcome to the forum.
You must be very worried and it sounds like you care for your duck very much.
The behaviour is hard to analyse from description alone, sometimes what may sound abnormal may be easily explained from watching a video as it may be a normal behaviour exaggerated, or performed out of context which can happen.
Would it be possible for you to pm me a video clip?
It's molting season at present (I am in Dorset), however some of my mallard drakes have started courtship behaviour which is usually performed on water. What bathing facilities does he have?
When you describe te spinning, is it controlled, how many turns does he make and does he do anything else before or after?
Zo
X
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby n_holzer » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:13 am

Hi and thank you :-),

Sorry for the late reply, but I've been trying to catch his spinning on video, but he's not been performing it for the camera! I don't know if this is because he knows I'm filming him or something.
He does it when he's in his pool and I'm pouring water in; he'll run and leap into the pool and then when I've finished pouring he will just act normal, pruning etc. When he tries to jump into the pool and misses, he'll spin and grab his tail then just stand there. He sometimes does it randomly in the house and ends up spinning until he's in a laying position. He will also sometimes grab the wing feathers and mutilate them nearly. He has a large plastic pool which was actually the base to a guinea pig hutch, so it's deep enough for him to dive under. This is only temporary tho until he has a proper built in pool within his new home. He is also going through moult at the moment. The spinning is I'd say, controlled, I wouldn't describe it as a loss of co-ordination.
I took him to a vet in tiptree yesterday; I got the vet address from a link on here actually. He has already seen robin from millennium vets but I didn't want to take him that far, so decided on tiptree. The vet ruled out an ear infection, as the spinning is not constant. She examined him and said his feathers are lovely, his eyes are bright and there's no mucus in the nose or mouth, and no parasites. It's more than likely stress and possible separation anxiety. She is phoning me back today to prescribe medicine for him. We have been having a few home improvements and I think the change has stressed him out.
He is my best buddy to be honest, I know that sounds sad but we are always together and are quite close. I spose it does cause him Stress when I'm at work and not with him, so in the long run it's going to be healthier for him to have a mate.

Thanks for reading btw :-) x
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby n_holzer » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:16 am

I do have a video but I can't seem to post it, it's saying the extension mov is not allowed?
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby Marigold » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:39 am

Could you perhaps upload it to YouTube and then copy and post the link?
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby n_holzer » Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:27 pm

http://instagram.com/p/rM9MnwykuG/

I have uploaded it on instagram, if you cant open that link then you can try my facebook link, and its the video at the top of the page:

https://www.facebook.com/naomi.holzer.7?fref=nf

:)
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby dorsetduckowner » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:32 pm

Thanks for posting that. I have to say having studied duck behaviour for many years I have never seen this behaviour.
The only advice I can offer is to have him checked over by a vet to make sure there is nothing odd going on with him health wise, as you would with any abnormal behaviour, and monitor him.
Has it progressed from anything less extreme and does he get any kind of attention from you when he does it? can you remember when you first saw this behaviour or something similar and what you did when it happened?
zo
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby n_holzer » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:13 pm

That's ok, thanks for watching it!

It started in May when I gave him swimming water again, and has deffinitely got worse. Most of the time I do kneel down and talk to him to try and calm him, and sometimes I try to ignore him.
The vet thinks it's stress as it started in May, when his friend also passed away. Also separation anxiety from when I go to work and leave him. He's been prescribed anti-depressants to try and calm him, and I am also going to work on some positive associations with him to relieve his anxiety. In the long run though it's a friend that will make him feel better again! X
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby dorsetduckowner » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:13 am

I see you are in Essex, this weekend there are 3000 ducks in Essex desperate need of a home. I posted about it yesterday. Perfect as a companion for him. You could give one of these ducks a perfect life. Would ou consider this?
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Re: Spinning duck

Postby n_holzer » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:24 am

Absolutely yes, I saw this too. Very sad situation! I thought it was the drakes they were trying to get rid of? If it's females then I'll be more than happy to take one on :-)
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