Clinic Stories

Parental Guidance Suggested

Mrs. G brought her duck Chip to the office, unable to walk after a male duck had aggressively mounted her. The owner was concerned that it was due to nerve damage but I could tell on examination that one of the legs was broken. Xrays showed that in fact both legs were broken at the femur, explaining why she was not walking. This was my first case of rough sex in a duck.

It is not easy to deal with broken legs in birds. Their conformation makes it impossible to splint. Internal repair is possible but expensive and quite tricky, first because birds do not do well under anesthesia and second because their large bones are thin and connect to their respiratory systems.

It didn’t look good for Chip but Mrs. G took her home to try to nurse her back to health. She built a nest to support her and fed her by hand. Each day she would allow her a brief swim in a kiddie pool to help maintain some strength and flexibility. Four weeks later Mrs. G called and very excitedly announced that Chip hopped from the nest, waddled down to the pond and swam as if nothing had happened.

Chip has continued to function normally including laying eggs. Criminal charges were never filed against the drake.

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