Black spots on chickens' combs

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
381
161
Kootenai County, ID
Hello all!

I could not get a picture tonight unfortunately (too dark in coop) but some of my chickens have tiny dark spots on their combs. Just black, nothing else. They're all eating and drinking and pooping normally and I got 11 eggs out of 12 birds today.

They're 27 week old RIRs and though I try to put things in their 140 sq foot run sometimes they get bored I think. Their coop is the back 7 feet of a 10x20 shed (chicken wire on framed wall with human door separating it from the rest of my shed).

I will try to get pics tomorrow, but thought it odd. It has been below freezing at night and some mornings have seen fog and frozen surfaces, even the steel shed door surface. I don't let them out til about 8 or so (light comes on at 2 and off at 4, and sunset is between 4 and 4:30 right now), but it's still been pretty frosty.

They have a rubber hog feeder for a water dish because it was the only thing I could manage to do inside the coop that didn't leak, and it isn't freezing because shed is insulated (though I do have a 12x14" window open for ventilation plus their chicken door during the day), but it's pretty cold water nonetheless (prob just above freezing- my hands go numb if I have to pick out bits of straw bedding they've kicked in). Could it be frostbite from them drinking? Sometimes a few drops of water here or there goes flying, especially if several are drinking at once.

Thanks!
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
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southern Ohio
Pictures are always helpful to tell if spots are peck wounds or not. Peck wounds are jet black, compared with fowl pox scabs. Just wondering why you would have a light on between 2 and 4, instead of a couple of hours just before daylight? When I light my coop in winter, my light on a timer comes on at 5 AM, then off at 8 AM when it is daylight. Then they go in by 5 PM when it is starting to get dark, and immediately go to roost without being caught in the dark when a light goes off. Many people do not light their coops in winter, but I have found that making sure they have 12 hours of daylight, my hens who still lay will lay through winter. It is a personal choice though.
 

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
381
161
Kootenai County, ID
Pictures are always helpful to tell if spots are peck wounds or not. Peck wounds are jet black, compared with fowl pox scabs. Just wondering why you would have a light on between 2 and 4, instead of a couple of hours just before daylight? When I light my coop in winter, my light on a timer comes on at 5 AM, then off at 8 AM when it is daylight. Then they go in by 5 PM when it is starting to get dark, and immediately go to roost without being caught in the dark when a light goes off. Many people do not light their coops in winter, but I have found that making sure they have 12 hours of daylight, my hens who still lay will lay through winter. It is a personal choice though.

I know pictures are helpful, but it was too dark to get them tonight :(

I have the light run from 2am-4pm so that they have the dusk to get on their roosts, and also because my shed can get pretty dark even in the daytime (especially on cloudy days, which we have a lot of in autumn) and having the light on the entire day really helps me be able to see to collect eggs (nest boxes are rubbermaid totes and inside), not step on a chicken while doing so (they like to crowd my feet- think they're looking for treats or they think I'm the rooster and keep squatting for me- they're bound and determined to trip me...), not step in their water (it's in there so it doesn't freeze- insulated shed- and also so they can eat and drink before I let them out in the morning), etc.

I have a 32 watt/100 watt equivalent 4' LED shop light out there, so it doesn't use a whole huge ton of electricity. Thankfully most of my energy-heavy appliances are natural gas so it's not a drain on us to keep it on 14 hours a day. The heat lamp when they were chicks used a lot more than that lol, and that was on 24 hours!

Plus, my husband said that if we have chickens we don't buy eggs at the store anymore, and I sell the extras to pay for their feed (when people need them, anyway. I've got 4 dozen "sell" (aka larger than the others) eggs in my fridge right now).
 

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
381
161
Kootenai County, ID
My Dominicker is a short chubby bully and pecks combs, I've seen her leave black marks on every one of her roommates. (She was born to bully and was dragging the other chicks arround by the face at 2 days of age!)

So if I randomly hear a chicken freak out for a second in the run while on my way to collect eggs, it's possible she just got pecked by a bully? Due to me having to dog-sit my friend's American Pit Bull Terrier often (to be fair, she's a marshmallow but she's very interested in the chickens. I think she wants to play with them but they do NOT want to play with her lol!) I have 3/4" plywood across the bottom half of it and a 5.5' plywood and 2x4 door, so I can't see the bully in action until I get right up there, at which point they see me and come running hoping I bear treats or will let them out into the yard.

I will see if I have the energy to stand out there and watch them for a bit tomorrow and see if I can identify a bully. I'm running a fever and completely worn out, but hopefully will feel better tomorrow.
 

Bamabexchicks

Crossing the Road
Oct 30, 2018
3,360
19,714
817
East central Alabama
So if I randomly hear a chicken freak out for a second in the run while on my way to collect eggs, it's possible she just got pecked by a bully? Due to me having to dog-sit my friend's American Pit Bull Terrier often (to be fair, she's a marshmallow but she's very interested in the chickens. I think she wants to play with them but they do NOT want to play with her lol!) I have 3/4" plywood across the bottom half of it and a 5.5' plywood and 2x4 door, so I can't see the bully in action until I get right up there, at which point they see me and come running hoping I bear treats or will let them out into the yard.

I will see if I have the energy to stand out there and watch them for a bit tomorrow and see if I can identify a bully. I'm running a fever and completely worn out, but hopefully will feel better tomorrow.
 

CanadaEh

Songster
May 31, 2018
370
647
176
Canada
I have seen those pecking wounds on our cockerels combs, but have never seen anybody pecking their combs. Makes me think it might have been happening at night in the coop when they are wrestling for the prime sleeping spot in the corner of the coop.
 

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