About a week ago, a friend mentioned that she knew of a duck that was having a rough time. It was being kept among some chickens and was suffering from a quite a bit of pecking attack. The owners couldn't keep the duck as they had nowhere else to house her and were worried that it wouldn't survive if left in the brutal environment that can be a chicken run.
My friend only mentioned it in passing, but I happened to be on the lookout for a duck, that is, a female. As we have two drakes and one duck already (peking), I am concerned that come breeding season, the two males will be too much for our lovely duck to handle. The poor hen-pecked bird happened to be a female, so we are now the new keepers of her.
I have never been exposed to any pecking wounds, our girls only just giving the 'token peck' when someone pushes in first for the food bowl or the juiciest worm. It was actually quite a shock to see the damage on our poor bird and evidence to just how cannibalistic chooks can be. It's not their fault, it's in built into their genes. They're just behaving the only way they know how, but it wasn't pretty for our new duck. The feathers had been plucked out from her tail region and two sections on either side of the tail feathers had raw flesh exposed, which hadn't had a chance to heal because of the constant pecking from the chooks. Apparently, once raw flesh is exposed, chickens just keep pecking and pecking at it....ugh!
So. Our little friend has been in the 'hospital' all week - a sectioned off area at the end of our chook pen that has a cat carrier for a bed/nesting box, and her supply of food and water. We believe she is a Muscovy around 12 weeks old. The pink colouring on her tail is the antibacterial spray that I have been using to treat her wound. She is eating well and getting plenty of rest, so fingers crossed she will make an exit from the hospital in the next week or so, once I am satisfied with her progess.