Slipped Wing, Crooked Wing, Drooped Wing, Airplane Wing, Carpal Deformity, Valgus Carpal Deformity, Dropped Wing, Flip Wing, Straw Wing, Spear Wing, Tilt Wing, Rotating Wing
Angel wing is a condition in which one or both of the duck's wings are twisted or projected outward, at varying degrees, from the body. Angel wing happens more often in geese but it also occurs in ducks, especially the Muscovy duck breed. If angel wing is corrected while the duck is still growing, it is often easily treatable; however, if treatment is delayed or the condition is not recognized until the duck is older, then the deformity remains permanent. Ducks are most at risk of developing angel wing when they are between 8 to 12 weeks of age.
What Causes Angel Wing?
Angel wing is thought to be caused by the rapidly emerging primary feathers growing too fast and becoming too heavy before the metacarpals are strong enough to support them. As a result of the additional weight stress, the bone rotates outward. Ducks fed a high-protein diet (over 16% crude protein) or excessive carbohydrates (usually bread) as their flight feathers begin to emerge are at a higher risk of developing angel wing.
What Does Angel Wing Look Like?
An early indicator of angel wing is the visible drooping of one or both of the duck's wings. In severe cases, the wings can project at an angle greater than 60 degrees, making the wings appear similar to 'angel wings'. Sometimes one or both of the duck's primary feathers are damaged. Affected birds might also demonstrate a slight reduced range of motion of the associated wing. Angel wing tends to affect the left wing more than the right, and male ducks are more susceptible than females.
Angel Wing Severity
A method of classification for the severity of angel wing in geese was developed by a group of researchers at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan (M Lin et al., 2016).
|1||Slight||Primary feathers are projecting away from the body at an angle less than 30°.|
|2||Medium||Primary feathers are projecting away from the body at an angle between 30° and 60°.|
|3||Severe||Primary feathers are projecting away from the body at an angle greater than 60°.|
How is Angel Wing Treated?
If angel wing is treated early enough, when the duck is still growing, then it can usually be corrected with appropriate therapy and diet changes. Treatment consists of wrapping the affected wing(s) in a figure 8 with vet wrap as soon as angel wing is suspected. The wrap should be checked daily to ensure the bandage remains in tact. Most ducks should begin to show improvement within a week. Concurrently, diet modifications should be made. Ducks should be switched to lower protein diet with crude protein levels no greater than 16%. Bread and other high-carbohydrate food items should never be fed to ducks or other waterfowl.