The 9 Comb Types

An illustrated guide to the 9 different comb types
By Lothiriel · Feb 13, 2012 · Updated Jun 13, 2015 · ·
  1. Lothiriel
    1. The Single

    The single comb is the most common. It is a simple straight row of spikes beginning at the bird's nostrils and sweeping back its head.

    "Pearl," winner of the single comb contest, owned by elsasmom


    Click here to see more single combs!

    2. The Buttercup

    The buttercup comb is quite the novel headgear for poultry, and is reserved for the breed that carries its name. In appearance, the buttercup comb has a very small single comb in the center, with a larger one on either side.

    "Cookie", a Sicilian Buttercup hen owned by Alexandra33



    Click here for more Buttercup combs!

    3. The Pea

    Pea combs often have 3 rows of "peas" side by side, although sometimes there is only 1 row. The "peas" are little bumps, usually quite uniform in shape and size. As the bird matures the comb grows, sometimes losing its neat, ordered appearance and becoming a large blob on the head.

    "Louie," winner of the pea comb contest, owned by moomee56



    Click here to see more pea combs!

    4. The Rose

    Rose combs are usually rather flat and close to the bird's head. Sometimes it will form a point and extend further back than the rest of the comb.

    "Puddin," winner of the rose comb contest, owned by shepan2:




    Click here to see more rose combs!

    5. The Strawberry

    Strawberry combs are very similar to rose combs, except that they form no point and are not as flat. They are raised higher and sometimes resemble strawberries, hence the name.

    "Dink", owned by sdktpatterson



    Click here for more Strawberry combs!

    6. The Cushion

    This type is also similar to the rose comb, only cushion combs are rounded and smaller than the rose. They also have no point.

    "Jaylin" an EE owned by Alexandra33



    Click here for more cushion combs!

    7. The V

    Breeds with V combs have the appearance of little devils, with their long red "horns."



    Click here for more V combs!

    8. The Walnut

    Walnut combs look almost exactly like their namesake. Big, pitted, and round, they can grow to shocking size and nearly cover their bearer's face.

    "Elliot," winner of the walnut comb contest, owned by BarnGoddess01



    Click here to see more walnut combs!

    9. The Carnation

    The Carnation comb is somewhat rare and found on the Empordanesa and Penedesenca breeds. It is a single comb with two side sprigs on either side of the back of the comb.



    Share This Article

Recent User Reviews

  1. Bonniebooboo
    "Wonderful pictures and drawings."
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Dec 1, 2018
    Love the article and all the pictures. So glad you were able to get so many good pictures for the article. Big thumbs up!
  2. ronott1
    "Excellant article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Aug 23, 2018
    Love it!
  3. HappyDancin'
    "Nice art & pictures!"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 23, 2018
    Thank you! Lovely art and photos! Good descriptions...I'm left wanting a bit more information and breed examples...


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Abriana
    What a great article!
  2. chicken4prez
    Beautiful page 1st place for me!
  3. artblueggwanter
  4. Shahann
    Great post. LOVE the drawings. Thank you for the explanations.
  5. EggSlayer
  6. UrbanChickenKid
    That was really good! I have to learn all this stuff for 4H and this really helped
  7. hililyhilo
    Lothiriel - This was super helpful and your drawings are excellent! Thank you!
  8. ChickenCanoe
    Lothiriel, I really appreciate your work. Thank your for your recognition of the carnation comb.
    Actually there should be more than 2 side sprigs. 2 would qualify it but the back of the comb should open up like a flower or resemble a crown (king's crest]. The front of the rooster's comb stands tall as a single comb. The hens, on the other hand, have a comb that flops over to one side with the same side sprigs at the back.
      Stampin.Hannah likes this.
  9. Chickenfan4life
    LOved this article, and the drawings were very nicely done!!! :D
  10. chicknfun
    Great drawings!!
  11. vickichicki
    Thanks for this article. The links to see the comb on various chickesn helps too, so you can see the variations in sizing and colours. Would be great to see a page like this with chicks on it too. I have some I can not work out what combs they have.
    When they eventually start maturing, I can make my determination based on this page. Thanks!!!!
  12. Marty1876
    This really is a good article. I love the hand draw pictures too, they really make it easy to see the comb. I remembered you wrote this and I read it several monthes ago, and I wanted to find out what kind of comp our Bantum Barred Rock has. Kind of looks like a pea comb too me, or maybe a strawberry. Thanks for the great article, lothiriel!
  13. Lothiriel
    skyangel, I only have about 2 actual photos up so far. Eventually I'll be adding more.
    I don't know about the comb color depicting if the eggs will be healthy, but I do know that when a hen's or pullet's comb is a nice bright red then she is laying (or about to lay).
  14. skyangel
    I was searching information about the combs, and this page seems to be a great source of information, but only a few of the photos are showing up? I was told that the color of the comb will depict whether the eggs will be healthy or not?
  15. jlquick30
    Very helpful for a newbie chicken owner. Thank you!
  16. willowbranchfarm
    This is fantastic. Great job.
  17. Daloorashens
    very interesting, thanks!!
  18. Lothiriel
    You are all very welcome. :)
    @ Lady Ressler -- I really have no idea what purpose combs serve! Possibly something like heat regulation, similar to cattles' horns, but I'm not sure. Sorry I can't help with that!
    BTW, I'm hoping to get drawings of the carnation, pointed rose, and a better buttercup done this weekend! I'll be updating soon! I'm also adding the winners from the comb photo contests as they get announced, and linking to the threads for more photos. :)
  19. GalloHiro74
    wow! there is much different types of comb. nice drawings
    Great tutorial on the combs and wonderful artistic drawings!
  21. Lady Ressler
    Being a visual person, these drawings were fantastic to reference to. Thank you. I have one question for you though, what is the function or purpose of the comb? I have always wondered that. Thanks again.
  22. DOnSoCalOC
    Excellent! Thank you for the wonderful drawings.
  23. jreynolds
    Very helpful! Thanks for the illustrations :)
  24. qeqivah
    Newbie here and thank you very much for the info!!!
  25. WhitePenny
    Great job! Thanks for the pics. I'm pretty new at this, though we did have chickens when I was growing up. All we had were the single combed variety. I keep reading about all of these different kinds of combs, but I didn't have any pictures to go with them. This helps a lot. The chicks I got this spring will all have either single combs or rose combs. I love the pictures of the Buttercup, the V-comb and the Walnut! They make me laugh. Now I'm going to have to try to find chickens with those. Will make great conversation pieces! LOL
  26. Jnet
    love the drawings! thanks!
  27. partsRheavy
    Neat drawings!!!

    Check out Google Books for a bunch of old-timey poultry magazines from the early 1900's that are now out of copyright and are free. There were SO many poultry fanciers then and I am sure there are a LOT of breed descriptions and drawings available, even for rare as well as not-so-rare breeds. Just go to Google Books and search for terms that are specific like "comb Wyandotte" or " "comb Mille Fleur".... Back in the early 1900s ppl didn't have so many distractions and almost everyone had chickens so a lot of ppl became very knowledgeable about chickens.

    Got the APA 1915 Standard as first result for "comb Mille Fleur" and Google has even indexed it so you can jump to whatever breed you want. Mille Fleur&f=false

    During the 1950s with the rise of refrigerated trucking and industrialized henhouses and broiler houses, the interest in traditional breeds dropped off as Americans became accustomed to caged supermarket Leghorn eggs and CornishX meat.

    Now with the revival of backyard chickens its fascinating to re-visit the old literature from ~100 years ago before industrialized production.

    I'll bet you will find inspiration!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :)
  28. Lothiriel
    @queenchick16 -- Polish have V combs. You can barely see them under the crests though! I was quite astonished when I found that out.
    @parkerpeeps7 -- Try posting a photo of him - maybe in the comb contest main thread - and someone could help you figure it out.
    And again.... You all are so flattering. :D Thank you!
  29. parkerpeeps7
    Hi guys, one of my roosters has a comb that fit into none of these categories. I'd like to submit it to the contest we are having but don't have clue what category to put it under.
  30. Talbott Poultry
    Awesome drawings, picture perfect.
  31. SubruralGirl
    Wow! Very informative. I had no idea! Great drawings too! Thanks!
  32. Chicks & Chickens
    Awesome! Great info and definitely amazing drawings as well. I'm sure this will help a bunch! :)
  33. StarLover21
    ^She did!
    Great job!
  34. laughingdog52
    Thanks for clearing that up! Great Job!!
  35. queenchick16
    What type of combs do Polish chickens have???
  36. CatDaddyAlbert
    Very nice!! A lot of work went into this and your efforts are appreciated,
  37. Chicksandhorses
    Those are excellent drawings!! your very VERY talented! I couldnt draw something like that. :D
  38. sunny & the 5 egg layers
    Excellent Job, Lothiriel!
  39. gg706
    VERY educational! Thank You for your time and effort creating the drawings and posting them for everyone. GREAT JOB!
  40. luvinmychickens
    Those are beautiful, Lothiriel! That helped me a lot. You seem to help me a lot, to be honest! You helped me with the Aussie information, and now this! Wonderful job. :D
  41. Lothiriel
    Illia, thanks for that pointer. I'll fix that when I update with new drawings.
  42. goose chick
    wow what an artist!!! just beautiful. :)
  43. Gresh
    Nice work! This definitely serves as a good comb guide for those who are starting with chickens.
  44. chicosrevenge
    Great drawings!
  45. Illia
    Nice article but you have the Buttercup comb confused. True buttercup combs should literally be a cup-like shape where it looks like two single combs were fused together at the back and come around in a cupping shape, practically able to hold water. A butterfly or leaf comb is more what you're thinking, which is the appearance of two single combs side by side, not joined or only partly joined at the back.
    Also, Rose combs should always have a point at the back, the length and direction of it just varies per breed as does the flatness of the comb itself.
  46. quatfaux
    Lovely drawings! Loved the commentary, too.
  47. Chicken Fresh
    nice job!
    im a straight noob and this is new helpful info to me
  48. Lothiriel
    Fluffballs, yes, I need to update with another rose comb (with a point) and a carnation comb. I've been busy lately and haven't had the time to sit down and do them. I hope soon though!

    Thanks everyone. :)
  49. Fluffballs
    What about carnation combs?! You had that as one of the types of combs in the comb picture contest.
  50. ratRose58
    that was very helpful, i never knew what any of the combs were called

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: