Attention! This is a potentially life-threatening condition for your bird and possibly your flock. Time is of the essence, contact your veterinarian immediately.Find me a Vet

Broken Leg

Leg Fracture

Broken Leg in Ducks Overview

Ducks are highly susceptible to fracturing their legs. Sometimes it may be obvious, in such cases involving an open fracture. Other times, such as with closed fractures, it may be more difficult for duck owners to recognize. In cases where the duck has fractured a leg, they will usually present with some degree of sudden lameness, and have difficulty walking and have a limp to their step. The only way to confirm whether the duck has broken the bone is by bringing the bird to your veterinarian, who will take radiographs. Radiographs will show where the break is (in the bone), the type of break, the bones involved, and it's severity.

Most cases of leg fractures in ducks are caused by getting chased--usually by a predator. Sometimes it can be caused by other ducks or animals chasing them, such as a domestic dog or cat, or even by people. It is important never to chase your duck or try to capture them by grabbing one of their legs. Ducks have very delicate legs and should never be chased or attempted to be captured by their legs.

Ducks which have suffered a previous leg fracture are at a high risk of developing arthritis in the injured leg.


Difficulty walking
Reluctance to stand or walk


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Radiographs


Chicken Therapy Chair
Vetafarm PolyAid Plus
MethodMethod Summary
Splinting and RestSplinting the leg combined with rest and supportive care may all that is needed for mild, uncomplicated fractures. However, the only way to know for sure is by taking radiograph images. So regardless, call your veterinarian.
Orthopedic surgeryMay be needed in some cases. Your veterinarian may need to remove the excess bone and realign the bone so that the injury can heal properly.
Physical therapyYour veterinarian will provide a customized rehabilitation schedule for your duck. This may include different combinations of physical manipulation exercises, aquatic sessions in the water, and/or other methods to gradually allow the duck to build back up strength in the injured leg.


  • Ensure ducks are securely protected from predators
  • NEVER try to capture a duck by grabbing them by their legs
  • Don't let domestic pets chase your duck
  • Separate flock members that don't get along and chase another duck away constantly



Risk Factors

  • Not providing ducks with protection against predators.

Case Stories

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