No. 2 fuel oil was fed to mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) ducklings in concentrations of 0.5 and 5.0% of the diet from hatching to 18 wk of age to assess the effects of chronic oil ingestion during early development. Five growth parameters (body weight, wing length, ninth primary length, tarsal length, and bill length) were depressed in birds receiving a diet containing 5% fuel oil. There was no oil-related mortality. The 5% fuel oil diet impaired avoidance behavior of 9-d-old mallard ducklings compared with controls or ducklings fed 0.5% oil. Open-field activity was greatly increased in 16-wk-old ducklings fed 5.0% oil. Liver hypertrophy and splenic atrophy were gross evidences of pathological effects in birds on the 5.0% oil diet. More subtle effects included biochemical lesions that resulted in the elevation of plasma alanine aminotransferase and ornithine carbamoyltransferase activity.