Anyone have a wing fall off a chick?

Chicalina

Crowing
Aug 1, 2020
3,508
5,322
451
UK
I have a chick who injured its wing. Must have got it caught in something on about day 4 or 5. It is raised by a broody with 7 siblings. I saw the wing swollen to about 4 times normal size, bright purple, tight skin and hanging down vertically with a small skin tear at the shoulder. I wish I'd taken photos at this point.

I didn't have any facility to nurse the chick indoors, plus I knew once I removed it from the broody she probably wouldn't take it back after any longer than a few hours, so I slathered the wing in Vetericyn gel and decided to leave it with her. I didn't expect it to survive the night. The wing looked inflamed and infected.

The next day, the chick was still alive and observing it through the day it was just pecking the wing constantly, as if it was not part of its own body hanging there. I tried some vetwrap around the wing and body to hold it up and prevent it pecking it, but the broody immediately attacked the chick like it wasn't hers, or wasn't even a chick. The vetwrap I had was bright blue. It's a black chick and if I'd had black bandaging this might have worked I guess. Anyway, i took it off and couldn't do much else. By night, it had broken some of the skin so I Vetericyn'd it up some more and put it back with it's mum. Again, thinking I'd find it dead by morning.

Lo and behold the chick was still alive. The wing was shrinking each day, and I noticed it was hard and shiny like a beetle wing casing. Thinking, this is the Vetericyn gone hard I decided to give it a bath.

This was about 3 nights ago. Got a bowl of warm water and epsom salts and gave the chick a spa day. The little wound was healing and I washed off a load of gunk (dirt and poop) off the wing which had stuck to the sticky gel. One tiny wing feather had broken through but that was all. I took photos and will post them below. The skin at the shoulder looked pink and healthy. The end part of the wing by the flight feathers appears dead. It smells bad and is dry like a twig. The middle part looks ok.

Dried the baby and back under its mum. No more Vetericyn as there is no open wound now and it was attracting dirt and drying and encasing the wing like a carapace.

Fast forward a few days post spa, and the chick is still active and busy, eating, drinking, pooping as normal. The wing has stopped being swollen and hanging down, and is now being held and tucked up almost as high as the other one. Chick is now smaller than siblings. The day or two spent pecking the enlarged wing wasn't spent eating and growing.

I'm as surprised as the next person that this chick has a) survived and b) seems to be almost normal in behaviour and vigour except for the wing and being a little bit smaller.

I'm a bit concerned about the end joint of the wing. I strongly suspect that part is dead. The skin is black, dry and crispy. It has that necrotic smell. I'm unsure on the middle part but think it will probably be OK so long as the little skin wound heals as well as it has been doing.

Has anyone else had a chick's wing tip die and fall off? Should I do anything more? Will it spread like gangrene and make healthy flesh die if the necrotic flesh is not removed?

This little guy is so full of life, I've ruled out any systemic infection (for now anyway).

I've been tempted to do a little surgery but worried about a bleed. So I've left it. Glad I didn't cull the chick on the first day of the injury as I was tempted to do it as a mercy.

If it goes on to thrive then it will always have a stunted wing. I've already noticed the injured wing is much smaller than the normal one. It can lift it at the shoulder though, so those muscles are good.

I've called the little fighter, Nemo.

Will edit and post pics next.
 
I have not had to deal with something like this on a chick specifically, but a long time ago I did see something similar with a seagull that broke its wing due to getting smashed by a big wave at the beach. I tried my best to set the break with what I had on hand (had no way to take it to anyone at the time) but the break must have cut off circulation; by the next day it was obvious it was just going to shrivel up past the break and fall off, which it did on its own except for hanging on by a tiny piece of dry skin which I trimmed. There may be some injury like that underlying your chick's situation. It concerns me though that it sounds like the affected area has died and dried up but is still attached. The smell is also a worrisome thing. There could definitely still be risk of a spreading infection, but it's hard to know exactly what's happening without a picture.
 
Ok, so here are the pics I took post bath 3 days ago. Some it is still a little wet, some after it dried. I tried to get some under the wing too.
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I have not had to deal with something like this on a chick specifically, but a long time ago I did see something similar with a seagull that broke its wing due to getting smashed by a big wave at the beach. I tried my best to set the break with what I had on hand (had no way to take it to anyone at the time) but the break must have cut off circulation; by the next day it was obvious it was just going to shrivel up past the break and fall off, which it did on its own except for hanging on by a tiny piece of dry skin which I trimmed. There may be some injury like that underlying your chick's situation. It concerns me though that it sounds like the affected area has died and dried up but is still attached. The smell is also a worrisome thing. There could definitely still be risk of a spreading infection, but it's hard to know exactly what's happening without a picture.
I'm hoping the end bit will recover but seriously think it won't. If it dries up and falls off that is the next best thing. Like your seagull rescue.
 
Since these pics were taken the wing has shrunk more which is good because the inflammation has subsided. But the end bit is shrivelled, which is different. I'll go outside and get some more pics shortly.
 
Based on the swelling it could be something that happened right above that at the end of the humerus. It doesn't look like it's going to drop off easily though from those pictures. If you have a vet nearby, even if it's a dog & cat vet I would call see if they would see the chick anyway. An avian or exotics vet would be better but also harder to find. If the whole lower part is dead but something is stopping it from falling off it will probably need to be removed but I have no idea how to go about something like that safely.
 
Updated pics just taken. Out of the 3 wing sections, top (shoulder to elbow), middle (elbow to wrist) and tip (wrist to fingertips) only the top is fine. The shoulder moves around well, but the elbow and wrist are fused in one position and won't bend. They did move 2 days ago. The middle and tip are both necrotic. Black, stiff, and hard.

Is the gangrene spreading or is this just the extent of the damage showing itself with the flesh dying?

Will the healthy flesh stay healthy?
 
Is the gangrene spreading or is this just the extent of the damage showing itself with the flesh dying?

To me it looks like the latter (extent of damage just becoming clear), since the line of color change appears to me to be roughly the same as where the swelling started earlier on.

This may not be on the right path, but is there any chance something constricting the arm? If birds get a hair wrapped around a limb, it can be extremely hard to see once swelling sets in around it or if the bird grows and it sinks into the tissue. It can often look just like a faint, straight line depression wrapping around. The bit I've highlighted in yellow looks like it could be indented a bit but hard to tell. If there is a clear indentation there, DON'T simply remove anything that's causing the constriction as that would open the healthy tissue up for infection. The red item I circled also looks strange although it could be something just stuck in there; I can't tell what that is so highlighted it anyway.
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Will the healthy flesh stay healthy?
Unfortunately it's not a certainty while there is that amount of dead tissue attached. I'm pretty sure everything above that yellow line I drew will have to be removed before that can be assured, but either someone else will have to give instructions for that or a vet advice is needed. In the case of the seagull I mentioned, it was a bit easier because the the tissue contracted formed a barrier by shrinking around the break, but here it doesn't look like there is a place for it to do that.
 
Just had something very similar happen to an EE chick. On day 4 or 5 we noticed that the wing feathers were not growing any longer on one wing. No swelling etc. noticed - it was the outer two wing sections shriveling up. Next day the other chicks noticed and became little velociraptors. We quarantined her and cleaned up the small amount of blood left after they ripped the shriveled parts off. Put on antibiotic ointment and let it heal. That was just over a week ago, those chicks are now 2 weeks old. The skin is healed over but the other chicks start pecking at the stump when we tried to put her back with the others. So I tried to put her in with a different set of chicks a week younger, they did the same thing immediately. Other than the missing wing she seems healthy enough other than a minor balance issue occasionally. She has kept up in growth with the other chicks her age. Hoping after the feathers around the shoulder start coming in better, I can put her back with the others.
I would like to know the possible causes for this as well. I am guessing an injury of some sort.
 

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