Angel Wing - A Summary


If part of a duckling's wing (or wings) start to grow out from their body instead of folding flat, the condition is known as Angel wing. As the primary feathers start coming in they turn out away from the body instead of folding in under the secondary feathers.  It can be caused by excess protein but, in D's case, it was almost certainly due to Diddy's bullying!
( If your ducklings are on a diet that has a protein content of more than 18%, apparently it is better to get them onto something in the 14% range to prevent it happening in the future. Just giving them less feed and more grass can help avoid the condition arising in a later batch of birds. Once the bird has angel wing, though, only taping can correct it!)

If the problem is left, the duck will always have this part of the wing sticking right out from the body. It won't cause them pain but they won't look so good and I would imagine it might make the others peck at them more (it certainly attracted the attention of our other ducklings!)

As you will see below, we successfully corrected our duckling's angel wing  using sticky tape! This can be done at any time whilst there is still blood in the feathers and the wing hasn't fused (calcified). If you catch it at the right time, the condition can be corrected in four or five days. (If it isn't, then it is worth trying again!)


D's Angel Wing Experience!


The first we knew about D's problem wing was when we noticed it was bleeding. It was already starting to stick out from her body instead of lying flat.

At this stage, there wasn't enough wing to tape, so we waited a few days.

We removed her from the others and soon identified Diddy as the bully as he then started to peck at the others.



Look at the left hand side of the photo. You will see D's wing is growing out from her body. This condition is called angel wing.


From the rear view, you can see the extent of the problem. Notice the position of the other wing which is much nearer to where it should be.


Here is D after being taped up! We used medical micropore tape, taking care to tuck the poorly part of the wing in under the rest of the wing feathers where it should be.

(See the Longshadow Farm site in my duck links for more information. You need Daphne's FAQs page. She tapes each wing separately, which gives the duck more freedom of movement, but - as novices- we found it easier to wrap it right round the body!)

It took D a moment or two to find her balance and get used to walking again. (If they can't walk with the tape on, you can apparently snip the tape near the legs to allow more movement.)


After three days, D's wing has grown visibly and can be seen sticking out from under the tape. During this time, we kept her from the others in a separate pen to prevent them pecking at her (but she was in sight of the others to prevent her getting distressed!)

When she was unsupervised, she just had a little pot of water to dip her beak into, but not so much that she could get the tape too wet!


D wasn't amused with her predicament but still tried to preen and kept trying to flap her wings. (They can't move the wings during this treatment but it didn't stop her trying.)

It seemed tough on the little thing but a few days of frustration for her is worth it to get her wings right for life!


By day four, D's feathers had grown out over the sticky tape on her tummy.


On day five, we cut the tape on the back and across her tummy. We then let her have a swim for a while to loosen the tape. After a while, it was easy to prise it off with no plucking of feathers!



Here is D on the sixth day after we stuck the tape on! As you can see, her wings now lie flat to her body as they should!


If the flights are sticking out perpendicular to her body she probably has angel wing but if she is just letting the wings drop down, they could just be heavy with blood. When the feathers are growing in they are full of blood and they will often let them hang down. Once they "dry", they usually bring them back up into position.


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