Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Small Miracles

Picture taken two days ago
Yesterday my daughter found one of our ducks laying near the gate to their pen not moving. I had just come in from working out in the yard and was in the kitchen making dinner when I looked up to see her picking up a limp almost lifeless duck and walking towards the house. I rushed out to see what had happened. Our duck had classic signs of poisoning. Paralysis of the wings and legs, unable to hold its head up, unable to swallow, and shallow breathing. We immediately took her into the chicken coup to the table and I had my daughter go mix up a Tablespoon of Epsom salts in 2 cups of water and grab the eye dropper. For the next two hours my daughter, her friend, and I took turns sitting with little miss duck and forcing the water in even though it appeared she couldn't swallow it. Most of it just went out the side of her mouth and down the front. We watched helplessly as she twisted her head back onto her back and had convulsion. Apparently some of the water was getting in because she started pooping everything out. Not a pleasant thing but necessary. That was the purpose of the Epsom salts. But it didn't seem to be helping and if I had been able to put her to sleep quietly I would have. I couldn't figure out what she could have got into. None of the others were sick. I was afraid she had wandered over to the neighbors fence where the neighbor is carefully growing a row of alder trees (considered a weed here) complete with chemical fertilizer and slug killer. I don't use anything in my yard that an animal, wild or tame, can't eat. Since we live near a wetlands and on an island, I also don't want to be the cause of chemical run off that pollutes the water. In all fairness I can't point a finger at the neighbor. There are other things in the environment that can make a duck sick and I have no proof the duck was anywhere near those trees. However there is now a makeshift fence up to keep my ladies from wandering over behind the neighbors fence.

At 9:00 I decided to put her in a basket and bring her into the house. I sat her on the coffee table where I could watch her. I was sure she couldn't live another half hour. Her breathing was down to about 4 times a minute and was raspy and sounded like she was drowning. By this time she was laying flat and couldn't move at all. It was just a matter of waiting for the end now. When bedtime came and she was still barely living I put the basket in the small bathroom off of the laundry room and went to bed knowing I would be burying her in the morning. The cat got me up at 2am to let her out so of course I went to see if the duck was gone yet. I turned on the light to look and saw her just laying in her bed flat. Looking very dead. But when I reached in to touch her to see if she was breathing she jumped, feebly flapped her wings and stood up swaying like a drunk! I couldn't believe it. Maybe it was just a startle reflex the last bit of energy before the end. I took the basket back into the kitchen to see if I could get her to drink out of a little bowl but no luck. Still couldn't swallow. She did poop the biggest stinkiest poop ever though so after adjusting her bedding so she didn't have to lay in it (undignified for a dying anything) I returned her to the bathroom and went to bed.

This morning my daughter got up at 6:30 for school and came down stairs to find miss duck standing in the living room with one of the cats staring daggers at her. She just waddled slowly over to her and my daughter was yelling at me that the duck was walking. She was also quietly quacking by the time I got my rob on and out the bedroom door. First thing I asked as I quickly scooped her back into the basket was "is there any poop on the floor?" Apparently all that nasty stuff was gone cuz there wasn't a mess anywhere thank god. We tried fresh water again and she drank like gangbusters. Then it looked like she was looking for food so I went out to the coup and got some poultry food, moistened it with a little water and she ate that dipping each bite into the water dish. I can't believe she is up and about. I will take her outside later to see how she does with the others but right now she is resting in her basket with a towel over it to keep her in. She is our miracle duck for sure. My daughter calls her her birthday duck.

1 comment:

Polliwog said...

What a story!! I'm so glad she recovered.

I was just telling a friend about your wonderful blog, as she has started a blog about her chicken raising adventures. So thought I'd introduce you to her blog too.

Steph's blog is at:
http://www.snoqualmiechickens.com/