Angel Wing in Waterfowl

What is angel wing, what causes it and how to manage it.
By sumi · Jul 4, 2015 · ·
  1. sumi

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    Angel wing or slipped wing is wing deformity, where the last joint of the wing is twisted outward. Commonly found in ducks and geese, the causes of angel wing is genetics and too high concentrations of protein and/or too low levels of Vit D, Vit E, calcium and manganese in growing waterfowl's diets. Due to this incorrect diet, the wrist joints of the wings of the affected bird develops incorrectly, twisting outwards, giving the birds' wing the appearance or aeroplane wings, as seen in the above pic. When spread out, the wing may appear relatively normal, but the affected bird will find flying near impossible.


    In adult birds, the disease is incurable and usually leads to an early death for wild birds, as affected birds are rendered effectively or totally flightless. In domestic waterfowl, clipping the affected bird's wings is recommended, to prevent possible injury and should be repeated after each molt.

    In young birds, wrapping the wing and binding it against the bird's flank, together with feeding the bird a more nutritionally balanced diet, can reverse the damage.

    Pic by @PlumTuckered

    For illustrated guide on wrapping for angel wing, please see here:

    To prevent angel wing in waterfowl make sure your goslings and ducklings are fed a proper diet that meets their nutritional requirements and restrict feeding of extras and treats to the bare minimum.

    If you already have/had a case of angel wing in your flock, do not use the affected bird for breeding as the condition can be passed on to offspring.

    Further and recommended reading:

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Recent User Reviews

  1. paddling_pekins
    "Amazing advice! :)"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 13, 2019
    I found wrapping the wing individually with medical tape (not microporous as it comes off in water) works well as there is no risk of suffocation :)
  2. HuffleClaw
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Oct 14, 2018
    very helpful!
  3. rjohns39
    "Nicely Done"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 5, 2018


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  1. Kimmyh51
    I think there must be a genetic component to angel wing, asI have had a number of ducklings, all of who have turned out to be heavier breeds,who have developed it despite being on what should in theory be a proper diet.the most recent batch were feed grower pellets exclusively, along with a poultry premix recommended by my vet which provides all of the above entioned vitamins along with all the b vitamins. The pellets are 15% protein, and as soon as signs of it appeared I reduced the protein in their diet by adding canned cat food (which has meat as the main ingredient but is max 9% protein) rice and alfalfa.
    Only some of the heaver ducklings in the clutch got it (my ducks share nests so though the mums were lighter ducks who dont have angel wing, that doesnt mean the eggs were all theirs) most of each clutch has been fine. Also while I have wrapped the wings in rescued ducks of lighter breeds before and had a 100% success rate in correcting angel wing, with these heavier breed domestics these ducklings wings have been completely resistant to wrapping in place, some in previous years I wrapped for several days, with no change, so then repeated and left another 3-5 days several times and no change.

    Has anyone else had ducks that seemed to be prone to angel wing despite being feed the correct diet, and were also unable to correct by wrapping?

    I do like the look of the wrap in the picture ough and might try that. Ive always used old socks or sleeves of stretchy shirts with holes cut for their legs as sort of body wrap -because the strapping techniques I have read about in some places ould not stay on any duckling ive eve met for 5 mins let alone 3 days. However at the moment i am loathe to put my usual 'outfit' on my affected ducklings as Id have to set up a separate run for them so they didnt go into the pond in the main run in cold weather -I would worry that the wet material would risk them getting too cold. So i might try sewing one of those wraps pictured and attach some velcro and seehow that goes. All the affected ducks are domestic so its as far as I am aware only a cosmetic issue anyway. Thats another reason i think its genetic, i have lots of rescued mallard ducklings i raise on the same feed, and not one of them over the last 3 years has had angel wing.

    All of the birds that have had angel wing that didnt respond to wrapping or diet are descended from one group of birds i was given a couple of years ago,however one of those birds (the parents.grand parents etc of the ducks that have angel wing) had angel wing. But evey single duckling except one (who I may have accidentally given too much protein too as found out after the fact that lne feed was higher in protein that I thought it was) that had this problem of angel wing that doesnt respond to wrapping and develops despite correct diet is a descendent of that one group of ducks.

    My flock is made up of ducks from about 12 differnt sources and ducks who hve been hatched here by those ducks. So out of the 12 differnt sources my ducks came from, all but one bird with angel wing has come from one source. The ducks who have had angel wing ducklings are x bred and all but one were girls. The lady i got them off was told they were khaki campbell but they dont look like kcat all to me, they look more to hve apple silveryard in them and have a tendancy to be quite heavy (I joke that the girls are made for comfort not speed lol)
      laceynoelle likes this.
  2. mamabrumble59
    I hatched 17 ducks in a home made incubator of just a childs tent and a heat lamp 13 hatched and only one ended up with this wing ailment I thought maybe they had interbred Good to have answers I wish I had known about this Technic then great advice
  3. casportpony
    Would it be possible to add some pictures or a video of how to wrap angel wing?
      drumstick diva likes this.
  4. City farm
    Thanks for posting this up! With photos.. It is interesting how much diet can play a role in so many thing's..

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