Norbie The Duckie Who Wanted To Fly

Norbie is a 3-year-old female Pekin duck who lives as a house duck with the Smith family, in the northeastern United States. They adopted Norbie as a young duckling, from a local pet store in spring on 2014---who has been a beloved member of their family ever since. Norbie’s dream is to one day fly. The problem is that being a Pekin duck, her body is too heavy to fly. However, this hasn't stopped her from trying! Norbie finds every opportunity to practice her flying skills---off of the deck, the couch, and even from ground level. However, her landing can be either Olympic gymnast perfect or a complete crash landing—where it is often the later.

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Where Norbie Lives

Norbie has her own outdoor pen in the Smith’s backyard, where she goes during the day; however, if any family member is home, she is usually provided access to free range throughout the yard. She has her own large size kiddie pool set up for her on the back deck, to bath in at her leisure. As soon as the sky begins to darken, Norbie’s humans will suit her up in her duck diaper, and bring her inside the house ---where she enjoys hanging out with the Smith family. When everyone is ready for bed, Norbie is placed in her special indoor ‘puppy play pen’, where she sleeps.

Norbie’s Trip to the Vet

One evening in early spring of 2017, Norbie’s mom picked Norbie up to give her a cuddle and discovered that she had an injury underneath of her belly. They made an appointment for Norbie to visit with her veterinarian, Dr. Anthony from Hockessin Animal Hospital.

Upon arrival at the animal hospital, Norbie was greeted with eager excitement by the front desk receptionists. Norbie and her mom were lead into a private exam room, where they were soon joined by Dr. Anthony. He initially asked Norbie’s mom some questions about her history and to better understand their story of why they had brought her in to see him. He performed a physical exam on Norbie’s body to assess her overall health status and the extent of her injury. He collected a small sample of the discharge coming from her wound in order to perform a cytology test using their in-house diagnostic laboratory equipment (which is very useful for providing faster results).

Treatment and Management Changes

Based on the exam and cytology test results, Dr. Anthony was able to provide the Smith family with a customized treatment plan for Norbie. He cleaned up her wound and showed Norbie’s mom what she would need to continue to do for Norbie every day for the next week. Norbie’s treatment plan consisted of:
  • Meloxicam - A specific type of anti-inflammatory medication that helps to control pain and inflammation. The Smith’s needed to give it to Norbie by mouth daily for one week.
  • Tricide® Solution – An antimicrobial potentiator that is used to flush the wound bed and control infection. It is intended to be used with a topical antibiotic ointment such as silver sulfadiazine cream (SSD). This was used for flushing out Norbie’s wound and needed to be applied several times a day.
  • Silver Sulfadiazine Cream (SSD) – A topical antibiotic that was used with the Tricide solution to treat Norbie’s wound. Norbie needed this applied to her injury several times a day.
  • Temporary Swimming Restriction – While Norbie’s injury was healing, Dr. Anthony recommended that the Smith’s reduce her swimming access and to make sure that they clean her swimming pool and water frequently.
Dr. Anthony also suggested that the Smith family try to find a way to reduce Norbie’s attempts at flying—as he suspected that her injury was probably the result of her regularly crash landing on her belly. Since ducks, or birds for that matter, have a prominent (“pointy”) breast bone (known as the keel bone) and thin skin in this area, it is prone for injury.


Norbie’s family scheduled a follow up visit for Norbie with Dr. Anthony a week later, for him to check on how her wound was healing. After inspecting Norbie’s progress, he expressed how he thought her injury was healing nicely and recommended that they discontinue giving the Meloxicam but to continue flushing the wound until it was completely resolved. It has been several weeks since her injury, and Norbie’s family are happy to report how her wound has completely healed nicely. They have been consciousness about managing Norbie’s attempts to fly.

About Norbie the Duckie

Norbie Instagram
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About Dr. Anthony Dallatore

Dr. Anthony Dallatore (Dr. Anthony) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 and is the current Chief of Staff at Hockessin Animal Hospital. Dr. Anthony has an interest in exotic animal medicine, internal medicine, surgery and dentistry. Both he and his wife are from the area, being both born and raised in Wilmington, DE.

About Hockessin Animal Hospital

Hockessin Animal Hospital
Hockessin Animal Hospital is veterinary hospital located in heart of Hockessin, Delaware, that has been serving the region since it first opened its doors in the 1960s. The hospital has three veterinary experts--Dr. Anthony Dallatore, Dr. Carolyn Cassidy, and Dr. Janet Mitchell. The hospital offers 24/7 emergency care and has their own in-house laboratory so they can perform offer their clients quicker diagnostic testing results for certain routine tests.

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