I received a call from my feed supplier. Another customer had ducklings presenting with angel-wing deformities. Jason said the other customer was feeding the same thing I was and asked if I had ever had issues with wing-deformity.
Yes, I definitely have, but not in a long time. Angel-wing deformity can be generic, but more often than not, it is caused by: 1) overcrowding in the brooder or pen and/or 2) feeding too much protein.
Overcrowding is generally easy to rectify, but the wing deformity is usually permanent, in this case. Crowded ducklings pick at one another and the wings are the easiest body part to latch on to and pull.
Good nutrition is critical for proper development and good health in all birds, but especially in early development. When angel-wing deformity occurred in four or five ducklings some years ago, my research took me to Dave Holderread of Holderread Waterfowl. His expertise in waterfowl disorders is the best I've found and he has a booklet dedicated to wing disorders which can be ordered from his website, https://www.holderreadfarm.com/literature_page/literature.htm. I applied his recommended feeding plan and once my affected birds went through their first molt, only ONE was left with an angel-wing deformity. Since that time, I have consistently used the same feeding program and have not had one occurrence of angel-wing.
My twice-a-day feeding program is based on the season and this is my recipe (based on Holderread) with my preferred brand of pellets (links provided below):
Breeding/Laying season (4 parts Purina Specialty Flock Raiser Pellets; 1 part Triple Crown re-cleaned oats--with any other brand, make sure you purchase clean oats that are not dusty; and 1 part Mule City whole wheat)
Cool/Cold weather season (2 parts Purina Specialty Flock Raiser Pellets; 1 part Triple Crown re-cleaned oats; and 1 part Mule City whole wheat)