Given space, adequate food and access to plenty of water waterfowl can live happy, healthy lives. There are, however, some things to look out for.
Bumblefoot is a fairly common occurrence in just about all fowl. This occurs when they get a piece of grit or even a small cut in the bottom of their foot. The result looks similar to a callus forming over the site. Left untreated this can be uncomfortable for the bird and result in limping and even bone infection. This can be prevented by eliminating any hard surfaces in the ducks’ area and allowing plenty of swim time.
Waterfowl are built to be great swimmers. This means that they are not always so great on land. Problems with the hip joint are also not uncommon. A veterinarian educated in the treatment of waterfowl can tell you if a limp is something that the bird will get over in a few days or if treatment is required.
You should also know that the blood of birds does not clot nearly as well as other species. It is best to always have some form of styptic powder (there are options made specifically for birds) on hand to stop bleeding in small cuts or scrapes. Serious cuts our bites should be brought to the attention of a qualified veterinarian.
One thing that often looks more serious than it is for the bird is molting. A certain times of year ducks loose many of their feathers and grow new ones. This is often timed with the changing of the seasons. Suddenly seeing a large number of loose feathers blowing around the yard can be concerning. And if only one of your flock is molting or they are molting to the point of having patches of skin showing, it is best to consult with a qualified veterinarian.
A veterinarian should also be immediately consulted if you see any of the following:
Bright green poop
Stumbling, falling or head weaving
Open bill breathing when none of the other flock are doing so
No longer eating or drinking