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

Foreign Body Ingestion

Ducks in many ways are similar to toddlers, in that they are very curious and like to explore their environment with their mouths. If provided access to small objects that are big enough for ducks to ingest, they will likely be eaten by the duck. Depending on what the duck ate, it can have a detrimental impact on their gastrointestinal system, resulting in inflammation and damage to the digestive system and can cause peritonitis or impaction. Sharp or metal objects pose an even greater health concern for ducks. Many small metal objects are made from zinc or coated with zinc (galvanized objects), such as pennies, staples, bits of hardware cloth, etc.; if consumed by ducks it will cause a highly fatal condition referred to as hardware disease.


Respiratory distress
Head shaking
Difficulty swallowing
Loss of appetite
Enlarged stomach
Weight loss
Sudden death


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Endoscopy
  • Radiography


MethodMethod Summary
SurgeryMay be required to remove the foreign body.



Risk Factors

  • Leaving small metal or plastic objects (nails, pennies, fence staples, wire bits, sticks, string, pieces of wood, small toys, etc.) where ducks can easily access.