Can Ducks Die From Shock? An Ultimate Guide To Shocked Ducks

I heard a noise in my barn one day, so I rushed to it, but unfortunately, my ducks were attacked by a predator! He took and killed a team of them and wounded another team, but they are still alive! My ducks were freaking out and they were in really bad shape! They stop eating and drinking and stay amazed!

I checked them out and saw what happened to them. Some of them were bleeding and some of them could not stand as a result of their wounds! I rushed them and healed their wounds. Their condition was very bad at first, but it gradually began to improve, thanks to God.

Shock is a critical and emergency medical condition that leads to an unexpected decrease in blood flow to all organs of the body, which in turn leads to oxygen deprivation of the body tissues!

Shock goes through a variety of stages that get worse and lead to death if not treated promptly. So the key element in treating shock in ducks is a quick response.

There are many causes of shock in backyard ducks including being attacked by a predator, a change in temperature, poisoning, various injuries, severe illness, egg restriction, and a drug reaction.

Let’s dig deeper into these details and learn about the most important information related to duck shock.

Can Ducks Die From Shock?

White Duck

Yes, ducks can die due to shock, the shock is either psychological or physical and represents a degree of danger to ducks, depending on its severity. A shocking event can negatively affect the ducks’ way of life, health, and egg productivity and it may cause permanent effects on ducks.

Can Ducks Have Heart Attacks?

Yes, After a shocking event, the shock can cause a duck’s heart to stop pumping blood properly to the body’s tissues and cells, resulting in loss of blood circulation, lack of oxygen to the body’s cells, dehydration, or sepsis as a result of severe infection. which eventually leads to the death of the duck if left untreated. 

How Do You Know If A Duck Is In Shock?

Symptoms of shock in ducks include the following:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Heavy breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Pale skin
  • Stunned look
  • Freezing in a squatting position
  • Movement refused
  • Weak pulse
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of response

You can determine whether your ducks are in shock or not by the appearance of these symptoms. You must pay close attention to them and try to treat them quickly so that the shocked ducks are rescued.

What Are The Causes Of Shock In Ducks?

Ducks go into shock as a result of several reasons, some of which may lead to the duck remaining in a state of shock for a period after exposure to a traumatic event. The causes of shock in ducks include the following:

Predator Attack

Exposure to a predator is one of the most terrifying events a duck can experience. As it leads to the exposure of ducks to physical injuries and psychological injuries, both of which cause shock to ducks.

Physical shock occurs as a result of injuries resulting from the attempt to escape from the predator such as scratch and bite wounds of the predator that cause bone fractures and severe infections.

It may also lead to internal bleeding and excessive blood loss, which causes the ducks to enter a horrific state. Sometimes the duck’s shock can last for as long as a few months after the attack! depending on the severity of the duck’s wounds.

If ducks are not treated promptly and adequately after such injuries, infection is likely to spread through the damage to all parts of the body.

The psychological effects of a predator attack can severely affect a duck’s behavior and health. As for the psychological effects, it happens to the ducks due to anxiety and terror as a result of the attack of the predator, being in their surroundings, and feeling that it is about to lose its life.

Psychological shock leads to a rapid heart rate and decreased blood flow, which leads to difficulty breathing and may lead to organ failure. The shocked duck often refuses to move or eat which in turn leads to the remaining internal physical influences.

Extreme Weather 

Ducks are more sensitive to changes in their surroundings compared to chickens. They are affected even by minor changes such as changing the color and shape of the usual feeder, adding new birds, and weather changes.

Clear climatic changes are among the biggest factors that lead to shock in ducks. Cold shock occurs in ducks when outside temperatures drop too low.

When ducks are exposed to a cold shock, there is a decrease in blood circulation. here are also symptoms such as:

  • Shivering.
  • Limping from one foot to the other.
  • Having black spots on their foot.
  • Alternating between standing and sitting to hide their legs under their bodies from the frost.
  • Decrease in immunity, and their exposure to serious infections.

However, cold shock can kill ducks if warm conditions are not created and taken care of immediately. But if the ducks are moved to a warm environment, they will gradually recover depending on their age, weight, diet, and health status of ducks.

Also, hot weather causes heat shock to ducks. Where the duck’s body is unable to maintain its normal body temperature due to the significant increase in the external environment temperatures.

Symptoms of heat shock include panting, lethargy, metatarsal pallor, and diarrhea which may lead to death if not dealt with and the ducks are moved to a cool place.

Miscellaneous Injuries

Ducks can go into shock from many different things, such as being hit by something hard or being trapped in a confined space, such as being caught in duck wire. Or jumping from a high place or landing on something sharp when jumping down.

If there is a bodily injury, Significant blood loss occurs and slows the duck’s heart rate, leading to shock.

Open wounds may lead to infection and septic shock resulting in blood infection. Signs of septic shock in ducks include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and shivering. If not treated sooner, ducks suffering from blood loss or infection are likely to remain in shock for a longer period and may die.


If the duck ingests anything containing heavy metals, such as lead, zinc, toxins, or chemicals, whether in the food or water, it may cause the duck to develop blood poisoning and lead to shock.

If the poisoning shock is not dealt with properly and the venom is extracted from the duck’s body, it may lead to the death of the duck. If the source of the poison is in the food or water, it could affect the entire flock of ducks if the shock is not treated immediately.

How Long Does The Shock Last?

From several hours to several days, and it may take longer, depending on the severity of the shock and the health care that the duck received after the shock.

Treating Shock In Ducks

So, what are the steps to treat shocked ducks?

1. Provide A Comfortable Environment

Wrap the injured duck in a towel or an old cloth to protect it from any painful bumps so you can move it to a new place calmly. You should separate the shocked ducks from the flock and place them in a safe, comfortable, and warm place.

In order to avoid having to move and pass through the herd when a member of the herd is exposed to it. Provide it with a comfortable bed with an easy-to-reach source of food and water.

Shocked ducks should not be fed any food until they start moving and give any normal signs. So you avoid further complications if they are not ready to eat now.

Keep shocked ducks in a warm place, especially in cold shock. You can wrap them in a blanket, towel, or old jacket, or place them under a heat lamp if necessary.

2. Wound Care

If there are any external wounds, you should wash and sterilize them well with large quantities of warm sterile saline solution or 0.05% chlorhexidine and put sterile cotton on the wounds to stop the bleeding.

3. Call Your Vet

You should call your veterinarian to examine the shocked ducks, even if there are no symptoms of wounds or external trauma. As there may be internal bleeding or invisible internal fractures, the veterinarian will be able to diagnose them.

4. Add Electrolytes And Vitamins

Nutritional Substances should be given to support the recovery of ducks after shock and to replace what was lost during bleeding. You can add vitamins and electrolytes to their fresh water to help keep them hydrated and restore their balance and strength.

Don’t give him electrolytes on your own for more than 3 days in a row unless your vet allows it. You can also put pain relievers in their drinking water as instructed by your vet.

5. Antibiotics

If a duck is bitten by a predator, whether it is a cat, dog, or any other animal, it will be necessary to put them on antibiotics immediately. Where the mouth of these predators contains a huge number of bacteria that are transmitted to ducks through wounds and scratches.

You can use penicillin for its effectiveness against Pasteurella multocida, thus ensuring the elimination of predatory bacteria from any predators. Pasteurella multocida is a frequent bacteria commonly found in the oral cavity of cats, dogs, and carnivores in general.

6. Always Be Prepared

If you are raising any type of bird, not just ducks, you should prepare a first aid kit so that you can deal with any chock immediately. You can prepare gauze, antiseptic solution, vinyl gloves, and blood-stopping powder for small cuts.

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Doaa Salah
The shy one (too shy to put her photo) and the only girl in our team! Doaa is a veterinarian who is passionate about writing content. She knows a lot about animals and birds, as she has been studying them for many years now. Her goal? She is researching and learning to convey to you all the knowledge she have and what's new about farming.