Chicken anatomy question (comb & wattle)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gmc, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. gmc

    gmc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 24, 2007
    Clay City, KY
    I wasn't sure if this was the place to post this particular question but I have noticed differences in size, color of my layers combs and wattles. I have a young flock that is just starting to lay and it appears that the two laying have deep red combs and wattles large in size. Is this an indication of the layers ability to produce? Should this be the deciding factor when choosing which chickens to keep early on when thinning down the flock? My small flock is mostly white rocks and there are differences in this respect to appearance. Some have small pale combs and I'm just curious if this means anything at all. All comments are welcome! Thanks.
    gmc
     
  2. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

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    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    You don't want to cull on point of lay. But when you have mature hens, yes, this is something you look for. Big red comb and wattles, soft abdomens and large moist looking vents are all indications of a hen in lay. Non laying hens will have small pale combs and wattles, hard abdomens and a dry puckered looking vent.
     
  3. gmc

    gmc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 24, 2007
    Clay City, KY
    Thank you for the reply! My flock is about 22 weeks and soon I will start to cull the non producers. I am a little crowed in the chicken lot......
     
  4. mlheran

    mlheran Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've noticed that, like turkeys, chickens can regulate the color of their combs and wattles to a ceratin extent. My bantam roo, when he first challenged a bossy standard hen, had vividly red comb and wattles; but as soon as she pecked him one on the head his comb and wattles were a very pale pink. In fact, usually the top hens in my flock have the reddest combs and the lowest hens are much paler -they all lay very well, I think it's just a dominance/display issue. But I'm sure there are many more people with more experience than me that know the answer!
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well, since it is winter, and they are only 22 weeks old, it might not be the best to cull so early. Some of my best long term layers started later, while the early starters ended up having laying problems as they aged, with my earliest starter at 16 weeks, now not laying at all.

    It is a good indication of how healthy they are as big red combs are a good thing, as falling pale ones or shriveled ones mean something is wrong. I've never seen them change colors on demand, except when over exerted and tired they turn a bit purple.
     

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