A lot of the time, the quality of life for a duck is based on its physical health. To protect itself and those it cares about, it needs to be in the condition to do so.
This can be difficult if a duck has issues regarding its feet, leaving the duck with discomfort while walking, which can leave the duck defenseless in case of danger.
A duck developing a callus on its foot can look very concerning to duck owners. However, a callus that has developed on a duck’s foot can be treated, and some things can be done to prevent the callus from arising in the first place.
How do ducks get calluses?
Ducks, like any other animals, can develop calluses for various reasons. Though they aren’t typically harmful, they can sometimes be uncomfortable for ducks and potentially worsen.
Understanding how this happens will prevent a callus from appearing on your duck’s foot.
Friction and pressure
Like how calluses arise in other animals, ducks can get them from friction and pressure on their feet. This causes the skin to thicken and harden to form a callus to protect itself against friction and pressure.
As ducks don’t have anything to protect their feet, the callus can actually be beneficial by protecting the duck’s foot.
However, the callus can be uncomfortable, so protecting the duck’s foot from forming the callus is preferred over letting the callus form.
Rough flooring can also contribute to your duck developing a callus. Such flooring includes concrete, hardpan, and hardware flooring.
The constant contact with such a hard material will likely cause your duck to develop a callus to protect its foot from the material.
How to identify a callus?
To protect your ducks’ feet, it’s important to recognize a callus. Identifying a callus will allow you to be active in protecting your duck’s health by allowing you to make changes to the conditions that may be causing the callus, as well as ensuring that you’ll know if it’s something worse.
The duck limps or is reluctant to walk.
One indicator that your duck may have a callus is if the duck is limping or reluctant to walk. This alone won’t tell you if your duck has a callus, as this can be caused by a host of other feet and leg issues.
However, if you notice this happening with your duck, it can be the first step to getting you to check your duck’s feet to see if there are any calluses.
Thick and hardened skin
If you see thick or hardened skin on your duck’s feet, this may be a strong indication that your duck has a callus. A callus is a thick and hardened skin that forms from constant pressure and friction.
So, if you see this on your duck’s feet, you’ll know a callus has formed, and you can make the necessary adjustments to your duck’s living conditions if the callus seems to be a problem for your duck.
Black or brown marking
Another sign your duck may have developed a callus is if there is a black or brown marking on the bottom of its foot. That can sometimes be the coloring of the callus because of the thick and hardened skin.
If you can remove that scab or skin and there is healthy tissue underneath, then it’s probably a harmless callus.
Is it bumblefoot?
Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish between a callus and a bumblefoot. A bumblefoot is an infection caused by bacteria due to several injuries on the foot, including a callus that had gotten worse and was never treated.
As discussed earlier, if you can remove any scabbing that reveals healthy tissue underneath, you probably aren’t dealing with bumblefoot.
If there seems to be an abscess with puss, there’s a good chance it is infected, indicating possible bumblefoot.
Is there any way to prevent calluses in ducks?
Instead of dealing with possible calluses on your duck’s feet, you can try to prevent them from appearing in the first place. You can prevent a callus from developing on your duck’s foot in various ways.
Despite how funny the name sounds, you can invest in shoes for your ducks. This will help protect their feet from hard surfaces and stop callus from forming in the first place.
The cushioning in these shoes provides comfort for your duck’s feet, not only if they have calluses, but for other injuries like bumblefoot as well.
These can be found online through various stores and may go a long way in preventing complications with your duck’s feet.
Provide softer flooring
Another thing that can help prevent calluses on your duck’s feet is making sure the flooring in your duck’s living area is softer on their feet.
As stated earlier, flooring that can be too harsh on duck’s feet includes concrete, hardpan, and hardware flooring.
By providing softer flooring for your duck, their feet won’t be subjected to as much of the harsh treatment that harder flooring causes.
Monitor duck’s walk
Making sure you know how your duck is walking can also help prevent calluses from occurring or worsening.
If you see your duck limping and being reluctant to walk, you can infer that something is wrong with its foot or legs, causing discomfort.
Noticing something like this can let you know that you need to make changes to your duck’s living conditions so that a callus doesn’t form or worsen on your duck’s foot.
Make sure they have access to water.
Lastly, ensuring that your duck has ample access to water can help prevent a callus on its foot.
Water provides needed moisture for a duck’s feet that stops the skin from drying out and increases the chances of the skin hardening and a callus forming.
If your duck doesn’t have access to a body of water, a small tub or kiddie pool filled with water will also do the trick.
Treating duck calluses
If you find that a callus has already formed on your duck’s foot, don’t worry. You can do a few things that will allow your duck’s foot to heal properly.
Knowing this may be what helps you to spot and treat a callus before it possibly worsens into an infection.
Let it heal naturally.
One thing you can do is simply let the callus heal naturally. Though a callus may worsen into something worse like bumblefoot, generally, it is very normal and non-threatening and may just go away on its own.
To help the natural healing process, you can make sure your duck has water to swim in and flooring that is not too harsh for its feet.
Moisturize the area
Another thing you can do is moisturize the area. As noted before, this can be done simply by ensuring your duck has water to swim in.
Another thing you can do to help moisturize the area is to apply coconut oil on the affected skin. Moisturizing your ducks’ feet can help soften the hardened skin so the area can heal.
Lastly, you can try and remove the callus from your duck’s foot. If your duck’s callus has been regularly moisturized by a body of water or coconut oil, you may be able to peel off the skin yourself.
If you haven’t already been moisturizing their feet, you can soak your duck’s foot in warm water and Epson salt.
This should help soften the callus so you can easily remove the hardened skin. If you see healthy skin underneath, then your duck should be alright.
Overall, calluses arising on your ducks’ feet aren’t something that you should be too worried about. They’re completely normal, preventable, and treatable and shouldn’t pose much of a problem for you and your duck.
It’s important to understand that a duck having a callus on its foot doesn’t mean something is wrong. Calluses aren’t typically dangerous; it just shows that your ducks’ feet are trying to protect themselves by forming a thick and hardened layer of skin.
However, they can potentially worsen and become infected, leading to something like bumblefoot.
For this reason, you can be proactive about preventing a callus on your duck’s foot. You can ensure their feet are moisturized, their living space has softer flooring, and even get them duck shoes.
If a callus arises, you can remove it or let it heal naturally. Whatever you decide to do, don’t worry too much about a callus on your duck’s foot, as it isn’t something to stress over.