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Keel Injuries

Keel injuries in ducks results in pain and discomfort in the area of the keel bone (otherwise known as the breast bone or chest area). Injuries may result in bruising, abscess, dislocation, or fracture (brake) of the keel.

Keel Injury Causes

There are several different causes injury to keel in ducks.
  • Falling on the keel, usually a hard or rough surface, and typically must be repeated several times
  • Repetitive friction against the keel (as a result of sliding against the ground or other rough or hard surface.
  • Direct trauma to the keel
  • Prolonged resting on keel, especially in unsanitary conditions.


Feather thinning
Skin reddening
Wound present


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Culture


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.
Thoroughly cleansing and flushing the wound
Oral antibiotics
Anti-inflammatory drugs, usually meloxicam
Topical antibiotics, such as silver sulfadiazine cream (SSD)
Debridement surgery may be needed


  • Use soft, padded surfaces such as rubber mats
  • Use a 'donut' therapy device (or rolled up cloth formed into a ring, to protect the duck's keel.
  • Exercise trauma prevention


Risk Factors

  • Prolonged contact between the keel and solid surfaces
  • Poor feather coverage
  • Repeated trauma to the area
  • Rough, abrasive floor surfaces
  • Birds that spend alot of time resting on the ground
  • Thin or emaciated ducks

Case Stories

Also Consider