Angel wing and protein levels

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by iamcuriositycat, May 26, 2010.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Okay. I know there has been a lot of talk from time to time here about the causes of angel wing, but never having experienced it, I never posted. I always read them with great interest though.

    And having read them and the convincing arguments that angel wing is caused by carbs, not protein, I decided that this year I would stop worrying so much about cutting down the protein levels for my flock. And now I am regretting that decision and wishing that I had stuck with the Holderread advice, because for the first time in three years of raising ducklings, I have two cases of angel wing.

    Details:

    I feed a mix of game bird starter & chick starter, per Holderread recommendations.
    The birds have access to plenty of grass and weeds from approximately one week of age and up.
    At 3-4 weeks, I have in the past begun gradually substituting small amounts of feed for oats, until they were eating roughly 3/4 feed and 1/4 oats. Always had exceedingly healthy birds.
    With this batch, I kept them on the high protein feed thinking that they would compensate for the protein intake with all the forage they have access to. Healthy birds, some of whom developed angel wing.

    There may be other factors involved, but my birds are NOT on a high carb diet. They have NEVER been fed bread or any other junk food--only high quality feed and forage.

    Obviously, two birds do not constitute a scientific study. But personally, I will be going back to cutting their protein starting around 3-4 weeks. I have raised six batches of ducks & geese, each batch between six and 16 birds, and this is the ONLY time I've ever seen anything like angel wing, or even the dropped wings many people mistake for angel wing.

    Like I said, I'm sure other things can cause angel wing, and I suppose it's possible that something else is causing this problem for me this time, but nevertheless... my personal experience has convinced me to cut that protein.
     
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Ducks do live on a high carb diet, but they are birds and not humans. What really has to be looked at is the kind of carbs. Refined carbs, like bread etc, are a problem. Unrefined, like whole grains or even milled grains, are fine. Not only do they contain the carbs, but they are also full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural fats. That is what makes a big difference. So no worry about high carbs, just worry about the quality of carbs. This also means a carb that is not full of sugar, like yellow corn. Protein has been 100% linked to angel wing. They had a study in Europe to prove it. Ducks are fast growers so you are trying to slow the growth to give their bodies time to build strength and not just size. Something also done in large breed dogs too. You are not starving the animal, you are just buying valuable growing time. 20% protein or higher should not be given beyond 2-3 weeks of age. It can be later given once full grown, but there is no need for more expensive food then needed. Best is around 15%. Sorry about the angel wing. You can fix the angel wing in your birds by wrapping them. They make this wonderful wrap that sticks to itself. I use that on my animals when they have wounds, and you can buy it cheaper at your vet then at walmart.
    BTW you are right, stick to Holderread.
    Katharina
     
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Thanks, Katherina! I've followed Holderread all along (until now!), and he hasn't steered me wrong yet. Wish I hadn't tried something else just because it was simpler! Agh!

    Anyway--I have been reading up on it, and I tried to wrap a wing tonight, but the ace bandage just kept coming off. I'm going to go buy tape tomorrow--I was going to just buy waterproof medical tape--is there something better you suggest?

    Also, can someone post a picture or description of where exactly to wrap so it will stay on?

    What is their prognosis? Is it 100% curable, or is there a chance it might not work? It's not a bad case--both birds just have one wing sticking out slightly to the left. None of the others have a problem, although they all dropped their wings for a while, which is not something I've had happen before. They all have their wings picked back up now. They are 7 1/2 weeks old, Holderread magpies.

    Thanks for any help!!
     
  4. dieselgrl48

    dieselgrl48 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Virginia
    I had never heard or knew about "Angel Wing's"Until We got geese.I had one that had one right feather all cocky to the side and one that had BOTH wing's just sticking out like an airplane.We Had named him Angelo.I finanly had researched some on it.Apparently high concentration's of protien can cause it in some duck's and geese.We had fed the gosling's a gamebird ration at interval's so Im sure that is what cause'd it.I don't buy ANY high protien gamebird or medicated feed for newbie's here now.Animal's survived for Centurie's with out medication's and fluff.You can buy a ton of guppie's or minnows for less than the junk food at feed store and it's what they would eat naturaly.I wish I had known but live and learn maybe I could have fixed my 2 wing's on my gosling's early I had never had any and thought maybe they were just growing out quicker.Hope you correct the wings.
     
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Had to go to my medicine box to find the name of the stuff. It's called Vetrap and is made by 3M. 3M also makes a human version which they call Coban . It is also sold under the Nexcare brand name. Same stuff only cost more. It will not stick to the feathers and you can wrap it in a way that it will not come off. You will love it. It is also water repellent, not proof.
    I would not use medical tape because it will stick to the feathers. Very painful to take off. Other tapes may not stick due to the preened feathers. The Vetrap is the best, and you only need to treat it for one week to get it fixed. Bad cases maybe another week. The nice part is that is will expand with the ducks chest so it can breath. Plus it comes in all kind of nice colors, so your ducks will look fashionable. Our vet always cuts a heart out of a red roll and puts it ontop of a pink or green wrapping. They have more colors of course. A roll is about 1-2 dollars at the vets office. Any vet that performs surgery has it for sure.
    Katharina
     

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