Is my chicken okay

by Dakota Hajek
(Sandy, Utah, USA)




Question

I am writing to make sure the my new chick is healthy and happy.

To begin we bought six chicks, all girls, a week ago from the local country supply store. They were two to three days old when we got them.

When we got home we noticed that this particular chick keep her right wing feathers upwards(See Pictures)rather then flush with her body.It is only 3 or 4 primary feathers.

The rest of her wing sits normally just like the left side. They are attached firmly and not loose and the bone feels fine. She is very active and her droppings are solid and of normal color.

It does not pain her at all to be touched on her wing. She is a Welsummer and the only one of this breed we have. I did research online and at the library and was unable to find anything.

I would rather be safe then sorry though. I want to ensure that she is okay and also if this will be permanent or will go away when she molts.

Answer
This could be a genetic defect called "Angel Wing" or the result of some sort of injury to that part of her wing. Feathers will grow in the direction the root follicle is aimed.

In-breeding can cause all sorts of genetic defects, like crooked toes and feathering faults, as well as internal disorders.

The follicles may have been crimped if she got her wing caught in something and possibly with time and the next set of feathers, she will be normal.

If this is a genetic problem, it will most likely be permanent. If you can see any bruising on her skin in that area, that would certainly point to an injury.

If caused by an injury or genetic disorder, the treatment would be to wrap this wing to her body, hoping to cause correction to the wayward feathers and their follicle roots.

For a chicken this would be cosmetic since sustained flight is not necessary. Wrapping this chick would probably draw unnecessary attention to it and possibly cause the other chicks to harass it.

Without wrapping, other chicks may be curious about these feathers sticking out and harass it anyway.

If you notice other chicks picking on this one, you may want to clip these feathers. Clipping them may encourage an early molt and tell you sooner, if they can grow in correctly without treatment.

If you isolate her from the group, for the purpose of trying to correct the problem, you run the risk of them rejecting her upon return.

If this were my chick, I probably would have tried to exchange it immediately or would assume the deformity was permanent and be pleasantly surprised if the condition corrected naturally.

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