I miss my little 'Disco Duck'
Well it's about a week and a half now since Frisco went to Wellington. And I confess.. I miss him....
Probably more than he misses me (if he misses me at all! Maybe my watch strap, but me, not so sure...)
There's no new news on Frisco this week. Currently Craig is researching other options for Frisco in terms of a prosthetic for his leg, as they don't currently have their own 3d printer, and still need to raise around $1100 to buy one..
Frisco is on antibiotics, but for joint infections it's a long course of treatment, and it is way to soon to expect any improvement, which unfortunately, if it does occur at all will be minimal.
At the moment the best case scenario for Frisco is for him to regain the use of one leg, via a prosthetic leg, something which can only occur if a 3d printed leg can be obtained. Otherwise he is left with one stump, and one leg which has severe degeneration around the hip joint.
The vet who saw Frisco in Wellington thinks that the stump wound will eventually granulate new tissue over and will stop bleeding and is not operating on that for now.
If Frisco is unable to receive a 3D leg, he will probably have to return to Canterbury 'as is'.
If that turns out to be the case, I am considering the following options for him:
1: mega vitamin C therapy, as it has been shown in some animal studies to have significant, almost miraculous effects on mobility in arthritic animals (though it was dogs not ducks). I have used it on a couple of other ducks here who had difficult to treat conditions. Both showed significant improvement with I cannot prove is due to the vit C but personally believe is... So I will probably try that.
Otherwise the options are more about tools and environment, ie a 'wheelchair' for Frisco and an environment which helps him move about.
I am thinking about investing some of the funds donated into building a small enclosure here for disabled ('differently abled') ducks.
For a wheelchair to be successful a purpose built space is probably essential, as I don't have any indoor space to house disabled ducks, and the outdoor space, being a rural property, is rocky and uneven, and it would be difficult to build a wheelchair that a duck with only one leg and limited strength in that leg, would be able to move around by pushing against the ground.
I have seen photos and videos of a couple of other ducks who have been given wheelchairs to move about in. Neither duck is in Friscos situation. One was a duckling with major bird defects affecting the hips, and another was a duck with neurological problems meaning the duck could not hold himself up, keep his balance and I think also had some tremors or wobbles.
However the sorts of things they had is what I would like to try and build...and if anyone out there has any engineering skills they think would be useful, or a 3D printer, and they would like to help brainstorm/develop something, please get in touch by messaging be via the facebook page (link on the Uninhibitedducks givealittle page)
So firstly, a wheelchair, and secondly an enclosure to use it in.
My initial thoughts for the enclosure are a space with a smooth probably wooden floor, to make the chair easy to roll. However if the floor is too smooth it may be difficult for Frisco to get any traction with his one leg. So I may have to develop a chair, then try different flooring surfaces.
Once the floor has been decided on, I would like to also build a sort of 'canal' system through the enclosure. A micro scale Venice. A small system of shallow canals that would allow a disabled duck who cannot walk, to swim about and this way, move independently to most areas of the enclosure.
Along the sides of the canal, I would like to put in some sort of planters, and grow plants and grasses that the ducks can forage in, whilst swimming along the canals.
If I can think of a way to achieve it on a budget, Id love to put in some way of heating the water, maybe using an old wetback log burner and some sort of recirculating water system, something that isn't going to be always on, but can be used to warm the watr to allow any fragile ducks, or ducks with no water proofing, to swim in warm water. Also for ducks possibly recovering from surgical procedures, or trauma, or illness, duck who may not be strong enough to maintain their body temperature in cold water.
I would also like to set up planters at wheelchair height, to allow a duck in a wheelchIr to be able to approach the planter and forage in it.
Other items that Id like to put in the enclosure include a 'zip' line type set up, to allow ducks to exercise their wings for flight, or allow ducks who cannot move about on land, move themselves about using their wings in a way that doesn't damage the wing feathers or cause skin abrasions (which 'wing walking' does).
And on the sides and tops of the outdoor part of the enclosure, Id like to have some clear polythene, or glass 'shutters' that could be opened and closed as needed, to provide rain cover and wind protection, so that ducklings and no waterproof ducks, could spend time outdoors when the weather was rainy or windy (or both) without being at risk of hypothermia. Also because this would make my job much easier and would be less stressful for the ducks, if I didn't have to try herd or catch mums and vulnerable ducklings, or injured/sick/disabled ducks to get them indoors when the weather is bad, or deny them access to the outdoors if the weather is changeable and I am not going to be home...
And any other ideas that would allow disabled ducks to live as normal and independent, yet safe and warm, life possible.
I have a picture in my head of how this will all look, but unfortunately God did not bless me with drawing skills and I don't have any apps that will allow me to design what I am visualizing. Nor have I seen any photos on the web of anything similar to what I want to build...