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Purple comb

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

When I went out to put the chickens up this afternoon part of one of my hens comb looked purple. Just the back half of it. She is molting right now, I don't know if that has anything to do with it. Does anyone know why a comb would be purple?

Thanks,
Michelle hu

post #2 of 11

Hi Michelle,

I would think it's basically a circulatory or respiratory issue. In other words it's blue because blood either doesn't have enough oxygen or because the blood isn't being circulated properly. Chilling (is the weather very cold?) is one way to cut circulation to the comb.

Other things can affect comb colour, though I find when hens are molting the comb tends to go smaller and paler rather than blue.

Perhaps more commonly if the roost area has built up a little too much with droppings, ammonia can harm the lungs and therefore make the combs go dark. That's easily fixed but it does open the door to other respiratory complaints, so it's always a good idea to keep roost sheds fairly clean (so you can't smell ammonia easily).

Blue combs can also be from respiratory disease and from cardiac (heart) trouble, e.g. ascites (also known as 'water belly'). I'm sure there are other possible causes too.

I have a cockerel who had a blue comb of a morning for about 4 months, then it cleared. We're in spring over here now so I guess he's just a bird who doesn't do well in the cold; there may be a congenital lung or heart issue, but it's mild in his case.

Hope this helps, sorry it's not definitive. smile

Good luck.
Erica

Whoops, I'm talking about blue combs, but you're talking about purple... There may be no problem at all, if it's not very dark. Apologies for going off on tangent! smile I'll leave the info here anyway in case others feel it's useful.


Edited by Erica - 10/26/11 at 5:36pm

http://www.permachicken.com Permaculture chicken blog: raising chickens with fewer industrial inputs.

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http://www.permachicken.com Permaculture chicken blog: raising chickens with fewer industrial inputs.

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post #3 of 11

Erica has given you a lot of good info.  Another thing to consider is the presence of parasites.  If a bird has a heavy load of bugs they can become anemic which will lead to a dusky purple comb color.

That being said- comb color is an imperfect indicator of health in birds.  It is not always indicative of something.  Comb color varies widely, for many reasons, and not all of them are related to bird health.

Good luck.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

What should I do? Should I just watch her to make sure it goes back to normal? I will clean there coop this weekend just in case thats it. Do I need to check for worms? If so how do I do that? Should I listen for breathing problems?  hu

Thanks,
Michelle

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

sad oops!!! I don't know how to delete this one.


Edited by dandydoodle - 10/26/11 at 6:22pm
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Oh yeah, this hen has a really large comb for a hen. The front looks normal it is like the back 1/4 of her comb that looks purple. I just wanted to post a couple of pics of her so you can see how big her comb is. Could it have something to do with how large her comb is?

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/68254_img_2162.jpg

post #7 of 11

I see this from time to time in my flock, too. I think it's just hormones.

post #8 of 11

I have a cockerel with this issue.  It comes and goes and he seems perfectly fine (which I know doesn't guarantee that he is).  I've decided just to wait and see--he'll be a year old next week.

post #9 of 11

I would worm them if they are are year old and have never been wormed.  Worming while molting is a great time to do it because you aren't getting many eggs anyway.

Living the good life with husband of 33 years, three grown, married children, 4 grandchildren.  And about 550 hostas.
Raising heritage  LF RC RIR's,  a couple of Marans and a few olive and easter eggers for a pretty egg basket.

Member of the APA and Rhode Island Red Club of  America.
See why worming is so important:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=7474233

Reply

Living the good life with husband of 33 years, three grown, married children, 4 grandchildren.  And about 550 hostas.
Raising heritage  LF RC RIR's,  a couple of Marans and a few olive and easter eggers for a pretty egg basket.

Member of the APA and Rhode Island Red Club of  America.
See why worming is so important:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=7474233

Reply
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Oops


Edited by dandydoodle - 10/28/11 at 7:43am
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