Angel Wing - Too much protein? Or...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Wifezilla, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Or is it really too much sugar aka refined carbs??

    Most sites blame it on too much protein, but that doesn't make sense. A duck in nature is going to get tons of protein by eating bugs, worms, frogs, etc...

    This site does mention commercial feed being the cause, but commercial feed is mostly carbohydrates...
    http://www.domestic-waterfowl.co.uk/page10.htm

    This site mentions there are two competing theories...one being too much protein and the other being excessive sugars/carbs....
    http://www.petsgator.com/pets-health-care/bird-diseases.html

    True, I have a natural bias against refined carbohydrates, but I was curious about anyone else's thoughts. It looks like the sugar theory fits more with a duck's ancestral diet.
     
  2. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator~~~~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

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    Angel wing, while can be hereditary, is usually caused by too much protein or too high protein feed for too long in ducklinghood.

    Ducklings in the wild supplement their bugs etc with grass and other plant material to so their diet is balanced.
    Domestic ducks don't have that choice, They eat what is given to them and don't often have the opportunity to go out and forage like wild ones do, since they are in a brooder for several weeks.
     
  3. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

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    Remember that Ducks self regulate their diets. Wild ducklings, while having much access to bugs/worms/etc will not eat more than they need to survive. Domestic ducklings (who are usually in a brooder or box) only source of food is their feed. After about 8 weeks old the protein levels in their feed need to be reduced by their human caregivers to prevent angel wing. (also remember at this point ducklings are not eating very much scratch aka carbs)

    The protein causes the quills of the flight feathers to grow to big too fast. The tendons in the actual wing dont grow as fast, and can not accomodate the weight of the quills. They become weak causing the feathers to jut outwards.

    Carbs do not cause this growth in quills.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  4. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    From Metzer Farms....

    "She has found that waterfowl that normally mature in the Arctic environment do not show any angel wing because of their naturally fast growth. It does appear, however, in those species that come from a more temperate environment where they grow slower under natural feeding conditions. But by feeding them unlimited, high protein, high energy feed, they grow unnaturally fast and their wing weight seems to outgrow the strength of the wing to support it. Further proof of this is from another article that said "If their wings start drooping they are put on a diet of alfalfa pellets (instead of Chick Growena) until the condition clears up.""
    http://www.metzerfarms.com/angel.htm


    By putting them on Alfalfa to clear up the condition, they are not reducing the protein amount, they are reducing the carbohydrate level.

    While they mention high protein and high energy as the problem, the alfalfa treatment suggests to me that the "high energy" part of the equation (i.e. carbs) that is really causing the problem.
     
  5. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator~~~~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

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    That's interesting.
    Try it and let us know what you find. I only know what I have learned in my years of rescue and any other info is welcome. [​IMG]
     
  6. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

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    I think it might be a little genetic also.. In as much as some blood lines might more prone to it.. I raised several geese last summer all together all the time , same feed.. only one came up with angel wing,and it was both wings...
     
  7. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Hi Terry, I don't have any ducks at this time, so no angel wing problem as of yet [​IMG]

    It is just one of the things I ran across when reading up on ducks since i will be getting some soon. The inconsistency between the description of the problem and the solution really struck me. The more I read about it, the less it made sense.

    The biggest cause of angel wing seemed to be in areas where people were feeding the ducks. People don't give ducks protein...they give them bread! So, how in the hell can protein be the problem when this condition is showing up where people are feeding them (basically) sugar?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  8. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:my geese did not get any bread, they were started out on unmedicated chick starter and cracked corn .....
     
  9. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator~~~~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

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    Good question. I think that since most ducks in parks (which is what I think you are referring to) are dumped ducks, usually after Easter or spring chick season. They were probably fed wrong as ducklings. Angel wing develops early. So the problem was likely there before they were being fed bread...one extreme to the other. (Poor ducks and geese [​IMG] ) From too much to not enough.

    I had one rescued pekin who was raised on cat treats, dried shrimp and worms. [​IMG] Talk about your protein levels.
     
  10. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    also, people are more likely to dump defective birds
     

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