My Duck's wings are drooping

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by animallover94, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. animallover94

    animallover94 In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2010

    For some reason my 2 month old female mallard duck is letting her wings droop. She has been doing this ever since her feathers started growing in. Now her adult feathers are completely grown (and they have been for about 2 weeks now), however she continues to let her wings droop. Other than this she acts completely healthy. Why is this? Please help I can't figure out what is wrong with her.

  2. bock

    bock Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    My ducks let their wings droop a little when they are hot, but they don't drag on the ground or anything. I hope she gets better. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2010
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    If it's not just normal wing spreading to relieve excess heat, nor a sign of some other illness like a respiratory disease, then its most like a developmental disorder of the wing.

    Possibly angelwing (or is it anglewing, I can't ever get it straight). It's a disorder of the wing caused by rapid growth -- the tendons can't support the weight of the feathers and the outer section or possibly two of the wings droop. High protein food and rapid growth promote it, but it's probably genetic. The bird probably won't be able to fly with this if it's a flighted breed, but otherwise it's pretty harmless to them and looks worse than it is.

    When it first starts, it is possible in theory to correct it by splinting or bandaging the wing into position for a couple of weeks to allow the tendons to develop strength before they have to carry all of the weight of the feathers. A few people have luck with that. Most people, from posts I've read on here, have the kind of experience I had trying this -- it's extremely difficult to get the bandaging or slings onto a frightened, squirming duck, and then once you get it on, the duck will do everything in its power to remove it promptly and will usually succeed. I tried a few times and gave up.

    If the feathers are grown in enough to no longer by bloody in the shafts, you could just clip them to get rid of some of the weight -- it might help a little bit, but most of the weight is in the lower shaft anyway which you can't clip out.

    So, basically, it's just one of those things you have to live with. It won't affect the bird's longevity or quality of life, but you shouldn't breed it so it doesn't pass the trait on.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  4. Willowbrook

    Willowbrook Songster

    Dec 7, 2008
    western PA
    Your "problem" sounds very normal to me. Wing feathers on any poultry, but especially ducks, is very heavy. When the feathers start to grow in the weight of the new-found feathers will cause the wing to droop. In some birds, the muscle tone needed to hold the wing in a normal position is slower to develop.
    Your duck is young and two weeks is not enough time to determine if there truly is a physical abnormality, which I have to say, I think is not there.
    Be patient.
  5. zazouse

    zazouse Crowing

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    Quote:Good advice, i have muscovy ducks and they grow so fast their wings droop at times, but they have always been just fine after a period of time
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners 8 Years

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    animallover94, how warm is it where you are, and what kind of shelter are the ducks in?

    edit to add:
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  7. animallover94

    animallover94 In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2010
    Okay thank you all for the information. I don't think it is angelwing because her wings don't stick out from her body they just hang down. (But I could be wrong). I'll keep you all posted on how she is doing. In response to your question, Amiga, where I am the temperature has been about 75-80 degrees farenheit during the day and about 60 degrees at night. Also, during the day the ducks are outside in a large fenced in enclosure with a small pond and plenty of room to move around; we bring the ducks into a barn at night that is warm and well protected. One more thing, within the last couple of days she has been losing a number of feathers on her stomach and chest area and she is looking a little bare (She still has her down underneath). Is she molting or is she too young for this yet?
  8. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    They usually don't go bare when they molt. I suspect a nutrients deficiency in your duck. Get some electrolytes with vitamins into their water. That will help with muscle/nerve and feather development. Also how low are the wings drooping? Are they touching the ground? If yes, then you should consider wrapping the duck. Many people are right about the wrapping, and my injured duck managed to get out twice. I found the best is to use vet wrap and you will need a helper. First you need to wrap the wing/s into the folded position and then you need to wrap the wings to the body. One wrap right above the legs and another coming higher up on the chest. It needs to be tight, but not to tight. This something you will learn as you go. I found it is good to remove it at night so the bird can move and spread its wings. It is very important to fold wrap first, or they will slip down under the body wrap. It does not take long to wrap and you get the hand of it fast. 4 days of wrapping are usually sufficient, and you should not wrap more then 2 weeks because you will not get any further then what you have. My duck with the injury had its wing hang out and down. It kind of looked like angel wing, but it wasn't. I wrapped him for 4 days and he looks good. His wing droops about 1 inch below normal, but he can pull it up into the correct position where it stays for a minute before sliding back down.
  9. animallover94

    animallover94 In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2010
    Okay I guess I didn't really word that right. She is not bare, she is just losing feathers and when she moves I can see her down between feathers here and there. So is she molting? Also, her wings don't touch the ground and she can bring them up to where they belong, but they seem to slip back down again within a minute or two (and she always pulls her wings up to the proper position when she runs). Do you still think I should wrap her?

    Thanks so much for your help [​IMG]
  10. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    My yard was covered with feathers left and right when they were going through their molting. No worry when you don't see any bald spots. You may want to add a little bit of vitamins and mineral supplement into their drinking water. It does help them. I would also wait and see if the wings are getting pulled up. It may be just a growing phase. I worried about it being pulled behind on the ground. So don't wrap at this point. Wing slippage can be permanent, if it is a genetic disposition or caused by a weakness of nutritional value. It does not stop the birds from being normal, but you should be aware that it can be permanent. This is not something you can fix with wrapping. Add a good vitamin/mineral supplement for the next month or so. You only need to give once per week until they are 3 months old. Then you should ad it once per month.

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