Duck is a cool and gentle domestic bird and it makes a good pet and a good farm bird, they are not mouth breathers, but you might have noticed that a particular duck of yours keep opening and closing mouth, as if it is breathing with it’s mouth, here are the reasons.
A duck is opening and closing it’s mouth because it is hot and need to take in more air to cool down it’s body, it is stressed or it has a respiratory disease which makes it hard to breath with it’s nose alone.
As I stated, ducks are not mouth breathers and so, does not breath through the mouth on a normal condition.
So when you notice this strange behavior, first, find out what is really the reason for doing that and apply my advice if it’s the weather that’s causing it or stress or better meet your vet if it’s a respiratory problem.
Hot weather condition: Many times, ducks do open and close mouth because they are too hot inside and need more fresh air to cool down their body system.
We all know that birds do not sweat because they do not have excretory glands, unlike mammals. And domestic birds, which ducks fall into is not excluded. Again duck is covered with thick feathers which protect it from cold, but during hot seasons or weather, the thick feathers begin to get too hot for it and so, in order to help cool it’s body, will begin to open mouth and close, inorder words breathing with it’s mouth and nose at the same time.
Too much hotness or sunheat can affect ducks’ diet intake, diet efficiency, and weight gain. In domestic ducks, heat stress may also cause a rise in body temperature, blood pH, and panting.
When your duck start acting this way, first of all check if the weather is very hot, or maybe the sun is shining on their coop, making them hot. If you notice that it’s because of hotness of the weather, then there is no cause for alarm, all you have to do is to help them cool their body down, how?
What you will do is to provide them with fresh and cold water, but not ice water. the cold water will help to cool the body temperature down and have them act normal in a short while.
It is always advisable to keep a small pool around ducks. This is because duck is a water bird and do enjoy swimming and going about in water, so while swimming, their temperature will keep to normal.
If the sun is much more on their coop, try to relocate it to a more cool place, it is always advisable to build or locate your coop where trees are, so that the trees will keep the temperature normal, saving your birds the heat stress.
It’s caused by Stress: Another reason your duck might start opening and closing it’s beak or mouth, and breathing with it is because, it is stressed.
like human beings and every other animals, they pant and try to cool themselves down when they are stressed, like when they run, take a long walk or walk under hot sun etc.
So birds are not exempted from stress, more especially domestic birds like ducks.
Ducks can be stressed from walking under hot sun or hot weather, flying and even fighting etc.
When stressed, you duck might start painting and breathing with it’s mouth, this maybe why it is opening and closing it’s mouth.
This is very normal, so I would advise you to take less concern about this, as your duck will be normal when it have rested, or provide cold water to it if you like, as it might help.
Respiratory disease: Another possible cause of you duck, breathing with an open mouth accompanied by tail pumping can also be an early sign of respiratory infections or disease.
Some signs to look out for, if respiratory infections is the cause of the opening closing of mouth are: abdominal heaving and nasal discharge, lack of appetite, bowing of the tail up and down to assist in breathing, and lethargy.
Ducks’ respiratory infections or illnesses are mainly associated with poor sanitation, stagnant and dirty water, and intensely cold or wet weather. Although Aspergillosis symptoms are almost similar to respiratory infections, both respond to different treatments.
If you see you duck opening and closing mouth with hard breathing, consult your vet because the bird might have contacted a respiratory infection. Do not attempt to treat the bird on your own, as your vet will know exactly what to give the duck.
Aspergillosis: Apart from respiratory infection, this might be another reason your duck is behaving that way. The Aspergillus fumigatus causes Aspergillosis in ducks and other domestic and wild avians.
Aspergillosis is deadly and common for baby ducks (ducklings). It normally attacks 12 to 14-days old ducklings. Aspergillosis is highly dangerous as it can cause death in ducklings without even showing any subtle clues.
In older ducks, aspergillosis can be associated with hard breathing and other respiratory issues. Aspergillosis in wild or domestic ducks can be caused by molding straws. Unfortunately, there is no hundred percent cure for aspergillosis in ducks.
But you still have to meet you vet when you notice this in your duck, because your vet will know what to do and the exact medications that will normalize the bird.
Another possible causes of this is your duck is scared.
Sometimes, ducks will start opening and closing or even breathing with their mouth then they get scared.
In this case, there is no need for alarm, just find out the reason for this and maybe relocate them.
From my experience and research, the above reasons might be why your duck is acting strange by opening and closing it’s mouth or even breathing from it’s mouth, first find out what is really the cause and take care if it by yourself if it’s a minor thing and consult a vet if it’s complicated.