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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30346
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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We have a mallard hen as a pet and she is spinning in

Customer Question

Customer: Hi, we have a mallard hen as a pet and she is spinning in circles acting like she is trying to pull feathers from her tail. She has already molted a month ago. What could be wrong with her?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: We rescued her from the road about 6 years ago and she had a broken wing. We took her to our local vet and he said the wing could not be healed they took an xray and she is not egg bound, could she have worms? we dusted her for lice and the vet gave us pain meds for her but she is still spinning around like crazy and acts like she is in distress.
JA: OK got it. Last thing — Bird Veterinarians generally expect a deposit of about $18 to help with your type of question (you only pay if satisfied). Now I'm going to take you to a page to place a secure deposit with JustAnswer. Don't worry, this chat is saved. After that, we will finish helping you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Is she circling in a particular direction?

Can she be distracted to stop (ie when you offer food)?

Is she actually trying to get to her backside? Any changes there or to her stools?

When did she see the vet (since your history is unclear)? Is she on pain meds now? If so, what are they?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My husband called the local vet and he prescribed metacan droppers for pain 1 dropper each for 3 days. We gave her one dropper 3 hours ago. she will spin around and try to bite at her wing feathers like she cant reach them and then she will bite her breast or bite at a chair or my pant leg whatever is available. Then after awhile she will finally lay down and sleep and then get up and do all this again. She has never had a mate, is that anything to do with this behavior?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

So, can you confirm she hasn't had an xrayed or examined recently?

How long has she been on the Metacam so far?

Again any loose stool, swellings or changes around the vent or where she is targeting?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

I have not heard back from you regarding my further information request on her case. Now I have been called away to tend to one my patients and am not sure when I will return. So, I will now opt out for another colleague to aid you. You do not need to reply as it will confuse the system and make it hard for my colleagues to see your reply. If none are able to aid you, I will check back when I return and leave my thoughts based on your further information.

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'll follow up for Dr. B for you. Does your duck have ready access to water in which to swim and feed? Spinning is a feeding behavior in ducks. It creates an eddy which brings food up to the surface of the water. I might conjecture that your duck is demonstrating aberrant feeding behavior. It would be interesting to see if her behavior is induced by placing her in water.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She has a kiddie pool filled with water and she swims in it every day but recently she acts like she doesnt want to go in it. We also have a water pan in the kitchen that when she comes in the house she likes to get in . She keeps trying to bite her wing and tail feathers. She is finally quieted down and sleeping, it is 9pm here but I she still gets up every once in a while and does this behaviour . We will give her the 2nd dropper dose of pain med the local vet gave us tomorrow morning and see if she improves. Thanks for getting back to us.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We turn off the lights in the kitchen and she sleeps near our beagle while I work on the computer at night. She is really quiet then and sleeps well.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'd love to see a photo of her with your beagle. Can you upload a photo(s) to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if you can see the icon) or you can use an external app such as

Her biting at herself isn't consistent with feeding behavior unless her mentation (mental status) is truly altered. Her behavior isn't typical of any of the common diseases of ducks that I see. 'Tis a mystery. Please keep Dr. B and me posted.