Emergency first aid:
What to do if you have found an injured duck:
Catch the duck or goose
Approach the bird calmly and quietly and offer it feed.
When you are close enough – quickly place a towel over the bird gently covering its eyes and neck. Remember to keep your face away from the bird’s head. Eye protection is recommended especially for sea ducks.
Wrap the towel around the carefully around the wings – folding them in their natural closed position.
Evaluate the Birds
Check its temperature by feeling the feet. Warm feet are a good sign – if they are cold you will need to warm the bird ASAP. Place the bird in a pet carrier with newspaper or a towel (use an old towel – it will be quickly soiled) Check the bird’s eyes – are they clear and normally dilated? Can it hold up its head? Check the back of the neck – missing feathers are likely a sign of over mating (gang rape).
Cold birds should be warmed immediately – a covered heating pad can be used – bring the bird out of the cold into a warm area if available. Keep a dry towel around/on the bird until temperature warmers.
Not able to hold up head:
Keep the bird quiet and warm and in a pet carrier or other ventilated container away from other birds and predators. Do not place a deep water container in the carrier – the bird may drown. If bird does not start to recover within a few minutes – it will likely need vet care. Do not offer food or it could choke
Any wounds should be cleaned first with water and then with an antiseptic like Povidone Iodine or hydrogen peroxide. Stop bleeding with light compression (remember birds have hollow bones) Vet wrap makes a great bandage and is available at most pet supply stores. Neosporin can be applied to wounds once bleeding is stopped. Do not wrap limbs tightly – circulation can be cut off. Limit the bird’s activity until well healed. Keep away from other birds as other birds may pick on wounds. If the head is swollen by pecking, or bloody, place cool cloths on the ducks head to cool it off.
Missing Neck Feathers – Over Mating
Many ducks are over mated in the spring and summer and lose feathers out of the back of their neck. Females and males can be badly beaten up unfortunately by aggressive males in the wild. Domestic ducks can not fly off and are high risk for injury. Remove the females immediately and keep them separate from all males until they are healthy enough to return. Monitor breeding and remove if excessive mating begins again. Do not have many males in an area with a small number of females – overbreeding will result.
Other First Aid Info
- Eyes can be flushed with sterile saline solution to clean and clear, no chemicals.
- If you have an eye dropper or clean 1 cc syringe you can try offering a few droppers full of gator aid to the duck being cautious of it breathing in any fluid.
- If the duck is coherent it can be offered gator aid and dry cat food or lay pellets 30 – 60 minutes after bringing the bird to safety.
- Give the duck time to rest after the drive in the car and don’t drive the bird after eating as it can aspirate its food or breathe it in.
- Take the bird to your local rehabber or vet asap.
- Call your local shelter for referrals or local avian vet or wildlife rescue group in your area.