Saturday, 31 July 2021

Doris Hydrotherapy

After only two and half weeks since the crippling crash injuries on Doris the mother duck, it was time to extend her rehab therapy. 

She has been confined to the coop and aviary up until now and had her splint removed 4 days ago. The badly fragmented joint will never allow proper use of the leg, but I think given time and therapy she will have a meaningful life. 

Today after her usual medication I opened the aviary door and observed her progress. She has watched Disco and Donnie using the garden pool for a week, and first out today were her ducklings. 

She followed, hopping slowly to the edge and then taking the plunge! It was great to watch, short video below of first encounter with the hydrotherapy pool !

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Doris The Duck

Since the Trust is likely to b keeping the injured duck for some time, I thought it about time to give her a name. As we already have Disco and Donnie, seems like Doris should be about right. 

After the morning pain relief, antibiotic, and physio, today she touched the ground a few times with the gammy foot, hopefully this will increase in time. Short video below of Doris and her ducklings having a lettuce salad.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Gammy Leg Duck

With trepidation, I removed the bandage splint from  the ducks leg this morning. She was relieved and able to at least move the upper leg. 

However, she would not put her foot down...yet. I gave her some pain relief before releasing her into the aviary to rejoin her ducklings. Considering the joint bone was badly fragmented, I suppose her condition is to be expected. It can take 6 weeks for a fracture to heal completely, but I don't expect this to happen in her case. I will continue with some pain relief and physio. 

The ducklings will have to be kept for at least 6 weeks in any case before release to the river. 

We can only hope that she will get at least some use out of the gammy leg!

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Duck Rehab

After ten days intensive care literally cooped up, it was time to allow the ducklings into the aviary. Having doubled in size they needed space and water, as did their injured rehab Mum.

The good care and feeding has payed off with her strength improved she managed to get out through the hatch on one leg! 

With careful hops she eventually got into the water tub for a good bath. Her ducklings had a great time too, watched by Disco our resident duck in the garden.  

My previous experience of duck leg fractures tells me that the fracture will have already callused and fused together. I have been supplementing her diet with cuttlefish shells for calcium, in the hope that it helps. Removal of the splint bandage this coming week is the real test...I am dreading it, yet eager for a successful outcome - for she cannot survive long with one leg. Short couple of videos below showing the brave mother duck first venture out of rehab coop. 

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Tough Times

Tomorrow I will give the injured duck a final dose of pain relief - anti inflammatory, and hopefully allow the final healing of the fractured bone. 

Resetting the leg forward has been more comfortable for her, allowing a little use of the toes It has been a tough time for the brave mother duck, with the added stress of her ducklings in a confined space. 

They are growing and some still persist on climbing on her back, unaware of the discomfort they are causing. 

                        In a few days I'll partially open the coop to the aviary, just enough to let the ducklings explore the outside safely, where Mum can still see them and call them back when she wants. I designed the aviary and coop with a sliding access door. My hope is that Mum will retain at least partial use of the fractured leg, enough to move around the aviary and get in and out of the water. Whatever happens, the ducklings will have to stay for another 8 weeks until release to the river. Mother duck will have to make a full recovery in that time to stay with them, otherwise a life with me, Disco and the Trust lies ahead. Short progress video below.

Monday, 19 July 2021

In Good Order

Slim, Sue and the cygnets are proving to be a great holiday attraction on the riverside. Swans are particularly impressive when travelling in single file in good order. 

They have a structured lifestyle which are the envy of many parents, I suspect. 

As always I get asked many questions about their eating habits and diet, and of course their condition. 

One thing that often causes alarm and raised eyebrows, is when they tuck a leg up onto their back. 

This looks a little disturbing, but in fact is absolutely normal and all swans do it when relaxing, using only one leg. Unlike us, their joints are different and can swivel to allow rapid change of direction in the water. 

Meanwhile back home in the coop, the injured duck enjoys the company of her ducklings as she recovers. I have a half hour of mayhem every morning, catching her to clean out the coop, and give her the pain relief medication. She is a wild bird, and does not want to be handled or away from her brood, and kicks up a huge fuss. calm is only restored when returned to her babies !

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Road To Recovery

Having reset the leg, have now reduced the pain relief to once a day, this should also reduce the stress level for both of us - as catching her is awkward. 

The road to recovery should be as calm and stress free as possible from now on. She is comfortable, dry, and everything close by within easy reach. We should know in a couple of weeks how her future may unfold. Short video below, ducklings having a preen on Mum.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Duck Casualty Update


The visit to the Vet this morning was not good. After a look at the broken leg, the Vet opinion was negative and first option was to Euthanise. The break is bad and right at the leg joint. 

No doubt, unlikely to have full use of the leg again. However, having been here before with hopeless cases, I did not agree to have her Euthanised at this stage, and would rather give her a chance, however slim. 

Having bandaged up the leg and she is now comfortably back home in a spacious coop with her ducklings. I will administer  pain relief twice  day and keep a close eye on her progress. If she was suffering, I would have her put to sleep. 

Further consultation with our Avian adviser and another Vet, I decided that this mornings setting of the leg in a backward position would be  a literal drag if left as is. Setting the leg in a forward sitting position would be more advantageous and allow her to move around better. With my previous experience on the use of vet wrap, I reset the leg in a forward position this evening. Another trip to the vet tomorrow for antibiotic  to prevent infection is now required.

 Even permanently disabled, she might survive quite happily with Disco as a companion. Meanwhile, she is comfortable and has the joy of her Ducklings, and they have her.


Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Road Casualty Duck


Emergency call tonight after a mother duck with 10 ducklings was hit by a vehicle at the St Ninian roundabout. Prompt action by some drivers and taken in by Lyndy Geddes at the scene, until I arrived. 

Have the duck now in care, until attention at the vets tomorrow morning. The right leg is broken just above the joint and she has a flesh wound on her back.  I gave her some pain relief anti inflammatory, and have immobilsed the leg temporarily.

 The wee ones have been clambering over her back, causing her some pain. I am hopeful the vets will set the break and she will recover OK.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Two Months Old

Cygnets are 2 months old and like peas in a pod...except for the little one which lags behind. 

Seems like it's always last to the food and first to finish, also stays mainly on the outside of the brood. 

The biggest ones intimidate it, but I'm hoping this is a phase that will pass in time. Still no real sign of Sue starting to moult , but should start this month. 

Meanwhile Donnie and Disco have both moulted together at home, and look pretty happy together with their offspring gone to the river. 

The Mother duck with 9 ducklings on the river,  is still surviving and thriving. Short video below.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Coming On

All the new broods are coming on nicely - except for one of the cygnets that appears to be the runt of the family. 

                      It might have been the last to hatch and has never really caught up yet, hopefully it will over the coming months.

 Meanwhile they are flexing their tiny wings, and should be casting their downy fluff for feathers soon. 

Slim, showing just how far they have to grow !  

Currently numbering 16, the ducklings are also growing, with the ever present Mothers keeping a watchful eye for dangers. 

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Fishin & Surfin

Goosander and chicks are enjoying summer life on the river. 

The abundance of seasonal incomer fish, like tiddler flounders, and other small species, can be caught easily by the chicks. 

Goosanders belong to the sawbill family, with serrated edges to their pointed bill giving a firm grip on fish. 

Surfing on Mums back and fishing are the order of the day !..Ain't nature wonderful !