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Procedure for Improving Wet Feather

Ducks are especially prone to wet feather if their health is on the decline or if conditions for normal preening are not favorable. Once the cause of the condition has been addressed, here is what you can do to improve the situation until the duck's next molt arrives.

This procedure should not be followed until you first try to give the duck the opportunity to remedy the problem on its own. Give the duck access to a clean water bath every day or two and see if the situation improves. If it does not, you can try this procedure.

Place the duck in a lukewarm bath, soap it up with Dawn dish soap, and gently wash it all over. Do not scrub feathers, but gently work the soap through the feathers, working in the direction of the feathers -- never against.

After bathing and thorough rinsing, comes the somewhat tiring part of blow drying. It takes a LONG time to dry and fluff out a duck's feathers, but you don't want it to catch a chill, so it is necessary (unless it is a hot summer day). Remember to keep the blow dryer far enough away from the duck and don't keep it blowing on one spot for too long, or you will burn it! The duck will most likely actively help out with the preening as it begins to dry off. What you've just done is removed all of the oil from the duck's feathers. This means it can no longer repel water. This gives it a starting place to begin preening. The duck no longer needs to struggle to clean its feathers, you have done this for it! Now the duck can focus its energy on re-oiling its feathers, which is a slow but steady process.

After the bath, keep the duck in a very clean, dry place for a day or two. It should have access to a small bucket of water -- just large enough so the duck can keep clean by splashing and oiling and preening, but not so large that it can swim or immerse itself in the water. On the third day DO allow the duck to immerse itself in a pond or tub (without soap!) and let it swim for about 10-15 minutes. After that, place the duck back into a dry, clean, pen to preen and oil (or blow dry if necessary). Do this every day or two for a week until you begin to see improvement in the feathers.

It is important to understand that it can take a week or two to begin to see results. Improvement may only be very slight at first, if noticeable at all, but it can slowly improve over weeks to come. You may not be able to determine right away whether or not it did the job. Do not repeat this procedure. If it's going to work, it will work with one soaping. This procedure requires time, patience and devotion in order to have a chance of effectiveness. It does not restore feather quality, so full improvement tends to hinge upon the next molt. It does not work in every case, so if you do not see improvement, then you will need to wait for a full molt to improve the situation.













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