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Follicular Cyst

Feather follicle cysts are a type of cyst that has formed containing feather follicles packed with fluid, semisolid or gaseous material. They can develop in any tissue, but are most frequently found as hard nodules or lumps on or directly below the skin of the duck.

Common causes of cysts in ducks include:
  • Damage to feathers
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Tumors
  • Infections
  • A defect in the cells
  • Blockages of ducts in the body which cause a fluid build-up
  • Parasites
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions
If damage occurs on just one side of the follicle, it can cause asymmetric feather growth, in which it is not able to break through the skin. As a result, it will curl back within the follicle and fill with keratin, instead of producing a feather.

Treatments for cysts

The treatment for feather follicle cysts varies depending on it's location, size, and impact on the bird's comfort level.


Abnormal lumps on or directly below skin


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Ultrasound
  • CAT scan
  • Biopsy - Done to confirm whether it is cancerous.
  • Histopathology


MethodMethod Summary
Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own duck "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
SurgeryFeather follicle cysts may need to be drained or surgically removed by a veterinarian. Cysts are drained or aspirated by insertion of a needle or catheter into the cavity.




Risk Factors

  • History of previous damage to the feather