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Pale comb, dull feathers, no other symptoms

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

One of my 3 hens (2 years old?) has a pale comb and her feathers look dull, almost as if she's dusty.  She's been like this for probably two weeks.  I have another hen that usually looks just like her and her feathers are still shiny (visible in the picture).  She hasn't lost weight and she's not acting lethargic or anything.  Apart from the comb, I wouldn't think anything was wrong with her.  This morning I noticed a couple of dark spots on her comb too - small, right on the tips.  I've seen some runny poop on the floor of the coop, though I don't know for sure who it's from.

None of my hens are laying eggs due to the cold weather and because I haven't put a light in their coop yet.  It has been very cold here.  I'm in Northern MN.

This morning I gave them Wazine-17, which is all I could find locally.  I've owned them for 4 months now (they came with my hobby farm I bought in August) and haven't wormed them before.

Could it just be molting or because of the weather and not laying?  My other two hens and one rooster all appear normal.

Thanks for any advice!

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Forgot to post the picture.

post #3 of 10

Could be any number of illnesses,  or just that she is going into molt. 

Here is a website with descriptions of symptoms and possible causes


post #4 of 10

Hi, sledzepplin.

I'm no expert (have had my chix only since May) but have been keeping an eye on one of my birds because her comb had faded and her feathers had gotten dull. (Otherwise she seems healthy - is very active and a good layer.  As with you, the other 2 birds are perfectly fine.) Through a LOT of reading online I determined that this was most likely parasites and just began worming - I'm using a "natural" product for this. The product was designed for human consumption and says you can give to kids and pets, so I'm giving it a try.

No black spots, though, except where the RIR was pecking her comb - could this be the case with your bird?

post #5 of 10

I would be looking for mites.  They can suck all the blood out of a chicken, also a certain type of lice can too.  Karen

RUNS WITH CHICKENS               


            Marek's FAQ  Nambroth's really BIG one!


            How to send a bird for a necropsy    by Casportpony







RUNS WITH CHICKENS               


            Marek's FAQ  Nambroth's really BIG one!


            How to send a bird for a necropsy    by Casportpony






post #6 of 10

In the winter the birds resources are all aimed at temp regulation...often this will lead to a compromised immune system and allow parasites  or disease causing organisms to overwhelm the bird.  Giving a nutritional supplement (Avia Charge 2000 or a Rooster Booster general supplement if you cant get the Avia Charge) will help...

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies.

McChix - what product are you using?

I'll look for the Avia Charge and/or Rooster Booster too.

We often give them fruit and veggie scraps.  I gave them a little cat food which has been mentioned in other posts.  I also read about giving them garlic which I might try as well.

post #8 of 10

I'm so glad you asked this question.  I was just about to post basically the same exact thing, and oddly enough, the chicken I'm worried about with the pale comb looks identical to yours!  Looks like I'm off to the feed store to see if they have any of the supplements mentioned above.  I'll also have to look into worming, since I've never done it before and was under the apparent misguided idea that that was more of a warm weather worry.  My girl also has some blackness on the tips of her comb, but I think it's due to a touch of frostbite.   I feel terrible about it, but I've been covering it with bag balm pretty much daily and she seems to be okay otherwise.  She's laying an egg every single day and seems to be eating just fine.  I actually can't wait for summer, not for me really, but for the chickens.  I can't help but think they're all a bit miserable right now, since we have about 2 feet of snow on the ground and they can't do any running around.  I'm going to post a seperate post because this same hen is also starting to get a little mean to my RIR.  I don't know why this has suddenly begun, as they've always gotten along so well and pecking order never seemed to much of an issue.  Trouble in Chickenland!

post #9 of 10

So did anyone find out if this works, I have a Buff that is doing that SAME thing, I am interested to find out, what everyone did, and what was the cause? 


post #10 of 10

My hens are doing the same thing but it's the layers that laid first that are doing this and they are molting so that may be the reason for the pale combs. The chickens that laid later in the year and are younger are not going through this.


As far as the black spots go, it's probably frost bite.


I have a rooster that I gave to a neighbor and he stays outside or in a hen house that is very cold and drafty. His comb has black places on the tips now .... he's been frost bitten because our temperatures here got down into the teens a few nights and mornings.


I have read on this forum or somewhere else that Mothers Vinegar that you can purchase at the grocery is good for the digestive system. My hens seem to like it. I put 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a gallon of fresh water and pour it into a plastic bowl separate from their other water. (DO NOT put the vinegar in a metal can, use plastic).   Especially in the summer they like to drink it. :)


And if you are looking to 'worm' your chickens, you had better read the instructions carefully. Most wormers I have read about tell you to DO NOT USE THE EGGS for 2 weeks after you worm them and you will have to worm every chicken.



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