Why is My Duck Limping? Causes + What to Do

Ducks add happiness to the flock as they waddle around and play with water. However, this happiness is curtailed if the ducks are limping. Like other animals, ducks can also get injuries or infections in their feet, thus, developing mobility challenges.

Have you noticed that your duck is limping? Or the duck prefers to remain stationary? If so, the duck may be experiencing pain and may require treatment. The limping may result from bacterial or fungal infections, which result in foot diseases. The duck might have injured itself while waddling or lacked the nutrients necessary for strong feet and legs.

To get a solution to your duck limping issue, you first need to understand the various reasons why your ducks limp. Let’s dive into what causes ducks to limp and what to do to prevent the duck from limping around.

6 Reasons why your duck is limping

If your duck is not waddling normally, does not seem playful, and is limping or using one foot to maneuver, it might have a severe problem that requires immediate attention. Here are some of the reasons why your duck is limping:

1. Injuries

When your ducks are waddling around your backyard, they may stumble on sharp objects or get stuck between tight areas. Since their legs are delicate, they may injure or dislocate their hips. These injuries will result in limping and mobility difficulties.

2. Bumblefoot

Staphylococcus is the bacteria that causes the Bumblefoot disease, common in ducks and other poultry. Ducks with bumblefoot usually have abscesses on their footpads, which leads to swelling and redness. This condition inflicts pain on the duck, making it limp.

3. Lack of niacin or nutrients  

Your duck requires nutrients to form solid muscles and legs to withstand and carry its weight. Lack of these nutrients can cause the duck to have weak bones, thus causing trembling and limping while waddling around.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a crucial vitamin that ducklings need to develop strong bones and legs. Free-range ducks can get vitamin B3 from eating worms and insects, but you should include the vitamin in their feed if they are closed. Chicken feeds have minimal to no niacin; feeding it to ducks will cause niacin deficiency.

4. Age

Like humans, your duck’s energy and strength will deteriorate as time passes. The duck may develop bone issues such as arthritis, leading to limping and lameness. With age, the ducks may develop tenosynovitis (tendon inflammation), which causes swelling and aching of limbs.

Another common condition with older ducks is Marek’s disease which leads to infections in the joints and hocks of the duck leading to lameness. Lastly, kidney diseases may lead to limping or losing legs in ducks.

5. Infections

When your duck has an open wound, bacteria can use that opening to enter the body. Bacteria can also affect the duck without entering the body. Infections can lead to swelling feet or sores on the feet’ bottom. The sores and swelling further worsen the condition and lead to lameness.

It may also develop sores if it lives in a muddy, dirty, and damp area. If your duck has a broken leg, then any wound on it can be easily infected. Thus, it will limp due to pain.

6. Other common issues

Ducklings commonly suffer from spraddle/splay leg that makes their legs spread out. This deformity may be genetic, developed during incubation, or caused by raising ducklings in areas that lack traction. Splay The splay leg can lead to mobility challenges and limping.

Your ducks may also have internal issues such as twisted ligaments and ankles, which cause swelling, lameness, and inability to waddle. Ducklings commonly develop these issues resulting from injuries or mature ducks stepping on them.

These injuries can also cause a hip malfunction in ducklings. However, hip malfunctions may also be genetic or may develop during incubation. Hip malfunction causes ducks to waddle unnaturally, limp, and have a slow gait.

What to do if your duck is limping

In most cases, when a duck is limping and having difficulties waddling and playing around, it is experiencing pain. Therefore, you need to check it immediately and reverse the condition. However, if the situation is beyond your experience, contact a veterinary officer to check your duck and advise accordingly.

1. Provide the ducks with adequate nutrients

You must provide the ducks and ducklings with sufficient feeds with vitamins and minerals to ensure they are strong. More so, you should provide clean water for drinking and replace it frequently to get rid of toxins.

You can provide treats like watermelons for ducks since they are rich in vitamin C. This will keep their immune strong and help them heal faster if they have any injuries in or on their legs.

You can also allow the birds to free-range to feed on worms, insects, and grass, thus absorbing niacin and other essential minerals. Provide the ducks with supplements and commercial duck feed to promote their health.

2. Provide a pool of water

If ducks lack water to swim and play with, they may become dehydrated, making their legs and feet to be dry and cracked. The cracked legs cause pain and make the duck limp. You can reverse that by ensuring they have access to a pool of water to dip their legs.

3. Examine and treat injuries or infections

Once you notice that one of your ducks is limping, take it away from the flock and examine its legs to determine if it has any infections or injuries. If the duck has any bruises, sores, or open wounds, clean it and apply antibiotics or other suitable treatments.

Keep the injured duck in a clean area to minimize bacteria infections and promote healing. You can also massage the duck if they have a hip injury or malfunction. Keep observing the duck until it heals completely.

4. Contact a vet

Though you can treat minor injuries and infections at the farm, some conditions require the expertise vets offer. After you examine the duck and find out that you cannot treat it yourself, contact the vet.

Additionally, if you have tried several treatments with no possible outcome, you should let a veterinary officer examine the duck and prescribe the proper medication and treatment program.

Like human beings and other animals, your ducks may develop foot issues. The best course of action is to prevent the problems before they arise. Provide adequate water to drink and swim, and feed them with essential minerals and vitamins.

If foot issues arise, immediately prevent further infections and injuries. Always have a veterinarian check your flock regularly to provide the best advice and cater to your ducks’ needs.