How To Tell If A Duckling Is Blind?

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Like any living creature, there is a chance your baby duck may be born or become blind. Whether they were born that way or blindness developed in their early days, it may be difficult to tell on your own. 

There are various ways to know if a baby duck is blind, including assessing the color or shape of their eyes, their reaction to outside stimuli, and seeing if they recognize food or water right in front of them. 

If you are wondering if a baby duck is blind, here are a few things you should know when trying to figure this out and caring for them afterward. 


How do you know if a baby duck is blind? (5 signs)

There are many ways that you can figure out if a baby duck is blind. Though each of them may not indicate blindness on their own, seeing several of these signs in a duckling will tell you the condition of their eyesight. 

Here are a few ways to tell if a baby duck is blind. 

Sign 1: Change in eye color

One sign that your duckling may be blind is the color of its eyes. Like most other species, having eyes that look cloudy can indicate blindness. 

Though the cloudiness may eventually clear up, the duck’s vision may not improve.

Sometimes, ducks and other bird species have eyes that change color naturally to indicate maturity and not blindness. 

If eye color changes later in your duck’s life, you don’t necessarily need to worry. But if cloudiness can be seen in your ducklings’ eyes, you may want to monitor them or take them to a vet. 

Sign 2: Misshapen or unequally shaped pupils

Misshapen or unequally shaped pupils can be another sign of blindness in baby ducks. This may be a more evident sign that something may be wrong with your duckling’s eyesight. 

If you have a duck and something looks wrong with the shape of its eyes, you should make sure to observe them further to see if other signs of blindness arise. 

Sign 3: Limited reaction to external stimuli

Another sign of blindness is if your duckling has a limited reaction to external stimuli. This may be because a lack of eyesight makes it hard for them to tell when something is around them. 

To figure this out, it is crucial to observe your duckling and gauge whether or not they are reacting to things around them. 

Sign 4: Inability to see food or water

Why causes a duckling to be blind

If your duck has trouble recognizing when food or water is right in front of them, this may be because of eyesight issues. 

A duckling that cannot notice food and water can be in danger for their health and safety, especially if they aren’t being cared for by someone who can ensure they are fed. 

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In their early days, you should be able to see whether or not ducklings can find sustenance that is right beside them, and if not, there is most likely an issue that needs further examination. 

Sign 5: Consistent quacking when newly hatched

Consistent quacking may be a sign of blindness or another issue with your duckling. 

Like many animals, ducks make this noise to signal things such as fear or discomfort, so a blind duckling may try to communicate their lack of eyesight through quacking. 

However, just because they do doesn’t mean that something is wrong. So, you shouldn’t solely rely on this sign to gauge whether or not your duck is blind. 


What causes a duckling to be blind?

A baby duck can be blind due to many things, such as genetics, disease, or an accident. If you were wondering why a duckling may be blind, here are a few ways it can happen. 

Hatch blind or without eyes

A duckling can hatch blind or even be born without eyes; this isn’t uncommon to happen. 

This may have to do with how the duck developed when it was just an embryo or because of genetics. Whatever the reason, a duckling with no eyes is a definite indicator of blindness.

Disease or Illness

Disease or illness can cause blindness in a baby duck, whether having occurred while still an embryo or early on in its development after hatching. 

It is critical to treat ducks early if they show signs of any respiratory illnesses. Many often lead to chronic sinusitis and, later on, blindness. 

Keeping your baby duck healthy will go a long way to help prevent blindness and other possible health issues. 

Aggressive animals like roosters

Accidents or violence can result in eye injuries that lead to blindness. For this reason, knowing who you are mixing your ducks with is essential. 

Aggressive roosters have been known to peck the eyes out of ducks, so always be cautious if you plan to have ducks and roosters live together. 


Can a blind duckling survive?

Can a blind duckling survive

A duckling can survive while blind, but this depends on whether they are domesticated and if the owner can care for them. 

Blindness itself isn’t what is harmful to a duckling, but the hardships that come from not being able to see. 

This may include not knowing when a predator is near, having trouble finding food or water, and not knowing if some place is dangerous to be around because of man-made objects.

Though some say to simply cull a duck if it comes out blind, if you are willing to take care of a blind duck, then it can live a relatively normal and healthy life. 

There are various things that you can do to help protect and take care of the duck. Unfortunately, if a duck is born blind in the wild, the chance of its survival decreases significantly, especially if the duck’s family doesn’t work to protect it. 

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What to do if a baby duck is blind?

What to do if a baby duck is blind

If you have a pet duck that was born blind, you may be wondering what things you can do to help it lead a safe and normal life. 

Here are a few ways to help a blind duckling survive. 

Tip 1: Don’t let them free range

It’s important not to let your blind duck free range. 

This could result in your duck ending up in situations that could be life-threatening, such as encountering a predator or a human-made machine, such as a car. 

Their inability to see these things make it important that you don’t let them free range. 

Tip 2: Keep them in a confined area

Since your duck shouldn’t be free-ranging, you must keep it in a confined area. 

This helps your duck stay protected from potentially harmful situations and provides a constant space for it can learn to navigate using other senses. 

Tip 3: Monitor the social hierarchy of the flock

If you allow your blind duck to congregate with a flock of ducks, keep an eye on the social hierarchy. 

Since the duck is blind, the flock may not be as accommodating to it, leading to it being picked on by other ducks. 

Though sometimes a blind duck may find companions to help protect it, other times they will not. 

Tip 4: Keep an eye on weight changes

Make sure to monitor a blind duck’s weight gain and weight loss rate. This ensures that it is getting the food it needs. 

Being blind may make it hard for them to find their food, and if they are in a flock, it may make it hard for them to access food when other ducks are picking on it. 

Tip 5: Take it to a vet

If you truly aren’t sure about the state of your blind duck and if they are doing okay, take it to a vet or other specialist. 

They will be sure to help your duck and provide you with any more information you may need to care for it. 


Final Thoughts

Sometimes, like humans and animals, a baby duck may be blind. Though this may be worrisome at first, it is completely possible for you to raise a blind duck to live a full and happy life if that is what you are willing to do.

There are various tips for you to find out if your baby duck is blind and many ways that you can help care for it if you so choose. 

Though blind ducks in the wild may not be so lucky, if you are willing to put in the effort to raise a blind duck, you and your pet duck shouldn’t worry. 

Like any animal, if you need further help identifying blindness in your duck or caring for it, seek help from a vet or another specialist.