WATCH for this While Swan Cygnets are Growing.
To ANY Extent that you can Prevent Angel Wing Deformity
the Time is Before this Condition Develops.
Angel Wing is Generally a Permanent Disability.
The Distal Section the Wing Points OUT Laterally
rather than Resting against the Body.
This is Likely a Diet-Related Health Issues – Along with Genetics..
Processed Foods are not Nutritious nor are they Healthy for Wildlife
and may lead to Disease and Developmental Disabilities.
Angel Wing in Waterfowl is an Example.
To Enlarge Images – Right Click Image then Open in a New Tab.
An Article no longer available, Read:
Swans are Prone to a Condition called “Angel Wing.”
Apparently, so are Geese and Ducks. Aquatic Waterfowl..
As I Read, I found a Number of other Names given to this Deformity..
“Airplane Wing,” Slipped Wing, Crooked Wing, Drooped Wing,
Dropped Wing, Carpel Deformity, Carpometacarpal Deformity,
Flip Wing, Rotating Wing, Sword Wing, and a few other Odd Names.
Various Articles State:
Males develop the Deformity more often than Females.
It seems to Develop on the Left Wing more Often..
Unless BOTH Wings are Affected..
This Wing Deformity usually Prevents Flight.
Unable to Fly from Danger, they are Easy Prey..
This Wing Joint (Wrist) Sags/Twisting Outward in Young Birds..
as they are GROWING their First Primary Wing Feathers.
They are Growing so Rapidly..
In Swan Cygnets, the Angel Wing Typically begins when their
FIRST Primary Flight Feathers are Growing due to their Weight.
Start to Watch at 10 Weeks of Age..
It will be Noticeable by 12 – 16 Weeks.
It is Felt the Weight of the Growing Primary Blood Feathers
cause the Distal-Primary Section (Wing Tip) to Sag Outward
instead of Lying Normally against the Body.
This Sagging puts a Strain on the Joint’s
Developing Ligaments and Muscles.
The Cygnet’s Fragile Bone Structure is not Strong Enough
to Support the Weight of the New Primary Flight Feather
which are Heavy with Blood. (Blood Feathers)
If the Cygnets Wings are in Normal Position by 5 – 6 Months,
there is a Good Chance this Deformity will NOT Develop.
A Beautiful Mute Swan Cygnet Wing – Healthy – Normal !!!
A Nice Summary of Information about Angel Wing is here..
PoultryDVM This Article is for DUCKs..
AS You Read this Article..
REMEMBER Swans need a LOWER PROTEIN DIET..
6 – 8 Percent.. VERY DIFFERENT then a Duck’s Diet.
“IF” Angel Wing is Corrected while the Cygnet is still Growing,
it has a Chance to be Set Right.
If Attention to the Sagging Wing is Delayed until the Cygnets are Older,
then the Deformity will likely be Permanent.
People Unfamiliar with this Deformity, who Observe an Affected Swan
on a Pond, Lake or Waterway.. OFTEN think this is a Broken Wing.
Reporting this to the WRONG People can be Fatal for an Otherwise
Healthy Swan..living in a Public Captive Setting..
“Angel Wing” Waterfowl in Captive Care Generally do Ok..
It is Possible for a Wing Injured or Broken to have a Similar Look..
Look for any Sign of Trauma – Blood or the Whole Wing Dragging.
Ask if the Swan has been like this before or was it Normal before.
These Images are of a Mute Cob that had Perfect Wings..
before he was Injured.
His Left Wing had to be Removed to Save his Life.
Photos can be VERY Helpful to Evaluate Waterfowl.
This Mature Cob’s Wings were Perfect before he was Injured.
To Rescue ANY Waterfowl is Challenging.
Before CALLING for HELP ….
Or Before a Visit to an Avian Veterinarian..
SEND a Photo or Photos to a Knowledgeable Person..
For a Nicer Look and to Help the Swans be more Comfortable,
the Feathers that are Out of Place can be Clipped AFTER their
>>> ONLY After the Blood has Atrophied from the Feather Shafts..
This Young Rescued Male Mute Swan.. had a Grade 2 – Medium Angel Wing.
The Feathers were in Sad Shape.. He was Clipped to Help his Appearance.
GRADING ANGEL WING DEFORMITIES.
This Young Trumpeter Cygnet’s Wing is Grade 3 – Severe.
He has Learned to Live with this in an Almost Wild Environment.
He gets Support from the Lake Community.
He Swims and Walks – Unable to Fly.
Suspicions and Theories.
Angel Wing – Wikipedia
Various Studies over the Years “Suggest” Angel Wing
May be the Result of a Genetic Weakness ???
And/Or a Diet Too High in Carbohydrates ( Bread ) and Protein
and Too Low in Various Vitamins and Minerals.. like Calcium,
Selenium Deficiency, etc.. are Contributing Factors.
Please do not Feed Quanities of Bread to Birds, including Waterfowl.
Small Amounts of Fresh Whole Grain Bread during
the Winter Months may Generate Energy for Warmth..
Small Amounts of Plain Cereals like Cheerios are Good Treats.
Bread and Angel Wing Deformity..
An Example List from One Article..
High Protein Diet, Hypovitaminosis D, Manganese Deficiency,
Vitamin E Deficiency, Genetic Factors, Excessive Growth Rate,
Restricted Exercise , Incorrect Incubation, Hatching Problems,
Trauma, Weight of Blood-Filled Growing Primary Feathers. (UGH) !!
Most Articles DO came back to the Importance of a Good
Nutrient Balanced Diet..
All Creatures Great and Small Benefit from an Appropriate Diet..
Feeding Swan Cygnets – They are Growing SO Fast..
Having a High Calorie/High Protein Diet is Felt to Contribute
to the Angel Wing Deformity During the Time
the First Wing Feathers are Growing In..
IF Cygnets are Getting a Rich Diet the Primary Feathers “MAY”
become HEAVY and Twist the Wrist Joints Tendons Outward..
This Deformity Begins when Cygnets are Between 50 to 110 Days Old..
After that the Wings should be Safe from Developing Angel Wing.
Unless they have a Genetic Weakness..
It is Advised to Avoid the High Protein Pellets
Until the Primary Feathers are in and the Wings are OK..
Swan Cygnets DO Need a High Protein Diet their First 2 Weeks..
After that their Diet should become More and More Plant Based.
Most Commercial Poultry Feeds have Vitamins (esp. Vit A, E, B-Complexes)
BUT, they are High in Protein.. Too High Out of the Bag for Swans.
Mixed with Corn – helps Reduce Protein to a Safer Level..
The Mazuri and Poultry Pellets.. are TOO HIGH in Protein..
that is Why it is Important to Mix with Corn to Lower the Protein Value..
But, Corn is High in Starch.. Calories..
Supplying Start-n-Grow to Newly Hatched Cygnets
is OK for the First Two Weeks. Then Taper it Off.
In the Summer on a Body of Water where there are
Plenty of Natural Plants Cygnets will Naturally Balance their Diet..
Swans Are Vegetarians
We Share Lots of Vegetables with Our Swans..
ESPECIALLY, Carrots.. for Vitamin A..
Carrots SINK – Place in Shallow Water.
Give them “a Little” Food or Treats.. so you can Visit with them..
To Check that they are Ok.. NO Injuries or Fishing Line Tangles.
Swans Love some of the Natural Lawn Weeds.. ( No Herbicides )
Clover, Dandelions, Fresh Cut Grass Tossed out on the Water.
Avoid Thistles.. or Thorny Plants..
Lettuce is Good, it is LOW in Calories and High in Fiber..
A Head of Lettuce becomes a Toy.. “Lett-Us” Play..
Romaine Lettuce has more Vitamins..
Shredded Carrots are GREAT for Vitamin A..
Often Deficient in a Variety of Waterfowl Ailments..
Slices of Apple, Watermelon, Salad Greens, Green Peppers,
Sliced Cucumbers, Kale, Squash, Zucchini, Broccoli,etc.
NO Onions or Garlic.. or Mushrooms.. Nope..
Save the Pellet Feed and Corn for the Winter Months
when there is NO Natural Cafeteria for them…
SUPPORTIVE TREATMENT: Wrapping or Taping..
If you Think about Support Taping or Wrapping a Wing Tip
Close to the Body..
It is BEST to Ask for Guidance from a Professional..
Try Gentle – Intermittent Support NO MORE then a Week..
DO NOT PUT the Birds in/on any Large Body of Water.
Until you take the Wrap/Taping Off.. Keep them in a Safe Place..
Start with 2 Days.. then Remove Wrap to Allow the Wing
some Time to Move Freely.. Wait 4-6 Hours before ReWrapping.
Many Saggy Wing Tips will Benefit from a Few Days
with this Extra Support.
The Elastic, Self-Adhesive Vetwrap is Great for this.
Wrap the Tape around the Metacarpals (Hand) and the
Radius/Ulna (Primary), so that it is held in a Normal folded Position.
Some Folks Support the Sagging Wing with a Bandanna Tied around the Body.
DO NOT Use DUCK TAPE.. it is TOO STICKY…
I have Used Painters Tape to Hold Wound Dressing in Place.
It Sticks to Itself.. but NOT to Feathers and Skin..
Wrapping TOO Tight or TOO Long MAY Constrict Blood Vessels
which WILL Alter Feather Growth and Even Affecting Bone Growth.
Watch for this Wing Sagging as your Cygnets are Growing.
You Might be Able to Help..
We Brought Little “Hannah” into our Lives when she was 10 Months Old.
Our Little “Hannah” came from a Farm of Very Poor Care..
She had a Very Minor Wing Tip Twist. Just “a Little Angel Wing.”
She Matured into a Very Sweet “Maiden” Swan..
I have Observed more “Angel Wing Deformities”
then I have Worked with them.
I do know a BackYard Domestic Waterfowl Rescuer
that has Successfully Corrected Ducklings Wings,
that Start to Develop “Angel Wing Deformity.”
I have Done Lots of Reading along the Way.
Which has Contributed Greatly to my “Basic Understanding”
of this Waterfowl Syndrome..
I SO WISH I Could Find this Article ONLine Again..
It has been Taken Down.. BUT, I am Posting this FYI..
Just as I Found this Article… Copied into my Notes..
Debra Bourne.. in this Outline Summary..
has Included the Many POSSIBLE Contributing Factors
that “Might” Result in the Development of Angel-Wing.
**********READ this FYI… Angel Wing is NOT a Simple Topic..
Water Fowl Angel Wing – GENERAL INFORMATION
Disease Author Debra Bourne
Summary Disease WATERFOWL
Deformity developing during growth,
resulting in one or both wings sticking out from the body.
Alternative Names (Synonyms)
Slipped wing Flip wing Dropped wing Carpal deformity
Tilt wing Carpometacarpal deformity Valgus carpal deformity
Heeled-over wing Rotating wing Sword wing Spear wing
Straw wing Reversed wing Aeroplane wing Airplane wing
Drooped wing Dropped wing Crooked wing
Disease Type Miscellaneous / Metabolic / Multifactorial
High protein diet, hypovitaminosis D, manganese deficiency,
vitamin E deficiency, genetic factors, excessive growth rate,
restricted exercise, incorrect incubation, hatching problems,
trauma, weight of blood-filled growing primary feathers.
Accommodation construction Calorie/protein intake excessive
Daylength-incorrect /abnormal Restriction of normal movement
Non-Infectious Agent associated with the Disease
Manganese-deficiency Protein (Dietary)-excess
Vitamin D-deficiency Vitamin E – deficiency
Detailed Clinical and Pathological Characteristics
Deformity of one or both wings in which the affected limb
turns outwards and the bird is unable to fly.
One or both wings initially droops and later turns outwards.
The condition is permanent if not corrected in the early stages.
The left wing is more commonly affected than the right wing.
Initially becomes apparent while the flight feathers are growing,
with the weight of the primary feathers appearing to be
too great for the carpal joint muscles, leading to drooping
of the wing tip.
Primary flight feathers may become damaged.
Extension of the wing may allow a return of the carpometacarpus
to normal orientation; examination may show a slight
(e.g. less than five degrees) decrease in range of motion of the wing.
Affected birds are unable to fly.
Progressive lateral (outward) rotation of the distal
carpometacarpus; third and fourth metacarpals involved,
with displacement of the distal bone laterally.
Proximal portion of metacarpals may appear normal,
with rotation developing distally.
Articulation of distal metacarpus with the first phalanx
of the third digit is normal but malpositioned.
Sometimes slippage of the propatagial tendon
over the carpal area.
Development of the condition appears to begin
when the primary flight feathers are growing.
WATERFOWL Not life-threatening in a sheltered situation,
such as in a captive collection or on a park lake
where safe roost sites (e.g. islands) are present.
In the wild an affected bird, being unable to fly,
would be unlikely to survive.
General information on Susceptibility / Transmission
Thought to be related to excessively fast growth in relatively
slow-growing temperate and tropical species.
Overfeeding, both a too-high protein diet
and too-high energy diet is thought to be important,
and a relative vitamin E deficiency
(too low for the high growth rate)
has also been suggested as being relevant.
Canada geese fed high protein levels (20%) developed
the condition more frequently than those fed
lower protein diets (J1.20.w6).
A possible role of incorrect incubation conditions and/or
hatching problems has also been suggested.
Mechanical damage to the wing may precipitate the problem
in some cases.
Angel wing has been reported more commonly
in geese and swans than in ducks.
Temperate and tropical, naturally slower-growing,
species appear more susceptible.
Slipped wing has not been reported in species which breed
in the high Arctic and have naturally very high growth rates.
The possibility of genetic predisposition has also been considered.
Domestic breeds, which have been bred for rapid weight gain,
appear more susceptible.
Males may be more susceptible than females.
The reason for the disproportionate occurrence affecting
the left wing is unknown.
Disease has been reported in either the wild or in captivity in:
Cygnus atratus-Black swan
Cygnus buccinator-Trumpeter swan
Cygnus olor- Mute swan
General Information on Environmental Factors/Events
and Seasonality Environmental factors which may predispose
to the development of slipped wing include:
Long lighting periods provided for tropical and temperate-
breeding species (by providing excessive time for eating).
Small enclosures, either absolute or in relation to the
number of birds being reared (insufficient room for exercise).
Excessively high temperatures during rearing (energy not being
used to keep warm, therefore more energy available for growth).
Regions/Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease
has been recorded UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, USA
WATERFOWL Diagnosis is by clinical examination.
Radiographic examination may confirm a bone deformity.
Related Techniques History and Documentation
Similar Diseases (Differential Diagnosis)
WATERFOWL Broken wing (wing droops).
May be seen in association with Calcium / Phosphorus
/ Vitamin D Imbalance, Manganese Deficiency, Vitamin E
/ Selenium deficiency.
General Nursing and Surgical Techniques – WATERFOWL
Taping/Supporting the feathers up to the wing for several days
(three to seven days) may be effective in early cases.
Taping must be removed after a maximum of seven days
to allow for wing growth.
The level of protein in the diet should be decreased and
Cosmetic and sometimes flight-worthy correction may be
achieved surgically by osteotomy, insertion of an
intramedullary pin into the radial metacarpus and realignment
of the distal limb (see: Surgical Correction of Angel Wing.
Pinioning of the affected wing may be an appropriate treatment
where the wing tip is being damaged (see: Pinioning- Adult).
Environmental and Population Control Measures
General Environment Changes, Cleaning and Disinfection
Avoid excessive growth rates, particularly of temperate and
tropical species. Restrict protein level to e.g. 16-19%.
Never use turkey grower crumbs (may be 26-28% protein).
If using crumbs with relatively high protein level,
ensure diet includes substantial amounts of other,
low-protein items e.g. greenfoods such as grass, lettuce.
Encourage exercise: give sufficient room for movement.
Food and water bowls may be kept apart to encourage
movement between them.
Restrict Day length for low-latitude species:
use brooder lamps which do not give off light for lower-latitude species.
Organized and Compiled by Linda M. Sweger – UpDated August 2023
If I had a Magic Wand ! I Would FIX ALL their Wings..
Beautiful Mute Swan Wings