Comb size and aggression - is there a correlation?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChicKat, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Has anyone noticed that the larger the comb on your male the more aggressive he may seem to be??
  2. RulingTheRoost

    RulingTheRoost In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2015
    It most certainly seems like it. I've noticed that the breeds that have larger combs seem more dominant then those that have smaller ones. I have an Easter Egger rooster and a white rock rooster, and the Easter Egger rooster is really, really sweet and he has a smaller comb, but my White Rock rooster is very aggressive and has a very large comb. I think it might just be how their bred, because I also have a Dark Cornish rooster and he's meaner than my White Rock but has a comb the same size as my Easter Egger.

    That's a good question, really. I'm interested in hearing the answer, myself.
  3. I haven't gotten to the information about testosterone and comb size but I found this interesting article about experimenting with testosterone with chickens and wanted to share it. Unfortunately the entire article costs $36 to view but the overview is interesting.

    If I understand it correctly the idea that a chick with artificially increased testosterone in the egg will lose more fights and be lower in social rank as an adult because their bodies produce LESS testosterone later in life because of the ARTIFICIAL increase in testosterone in the egg and not that a male chick that naturally has higher testosterone in the egg will exhibit this effect later in life.
  4. This article states that comb size is directly related to testosterone level and that status in the flock is also higher in roosters with larger combs. It also states that hens prefer to mate with roosters that have larger combs. Testosterone levels were also shown to rise in roosters that had won two fights. Unfortunately it also showed that roosters with larger combs (more testosterone) actually had lower quality sperm. Meanwhile roosters with redder combs were found to have higher sperm quality.
  5. Yay RobG7
    Thanks for the research and the links!

  6. So interesting. -- I got an EE that was very vicious to certain hens, the people who got rid of him got rid of him because of his agressiveness. -- His comb seemed large for an EE -- but with no standard of 'average' for an EE there is no way to tell.

    So there is the differences in breeds, and then within the breeds there are differences.

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