Comb size on a hen?

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by Kolijah, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. Kolijah

    Kolijah Out Of The Brooder

    39
    5
    34
    Dec 29, 2014
    West Virginia
    So possibly a dumb question! Comb sizes on chickens... do they mean anything (like indicate age or anything else?) or is it just cosmetic? I was just given two more chickens. The one in the back is LITTLE... an itty bitty little chicken (she probably weighs 3lbs or less) but she has a giant floppy comb- way bigger than any of the other chickens (it almost covers her eye on the side it lays down on- you can't see it in the picture).

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,495
    3,890
    506
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    That’s not a dumb question because you didn’t know, but no comb size in hens doesn’t mean anything regarding age. Comb size is controlled by genetics. Comb shape is controlled by genetics. Whether it stands up or flops over is controlled by genetics. How many points a single comb has is controlled by genetics.

    Whether the comb is bright red or duller in color is controlled by hormones. A comb that is bright red indicates a hen that is probably laying or getting ready to lay. A duller comb means she is not likely laying.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,545
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Combs can indicate a lot. Your hen in question looks to be a brown Leghorn. Leghorns are bred to have larger combs, and the floppiness is often a characteristic. Leghorns started in the warm Mediterranean area, so the larger combs allow more blood to circulate to surface area.
    Combs are often a good indicator of overall health. I was taught they are mostly an indicator of sexual maturity and reproductive health. Pullets have small, pale combs until they reach sexual maturity. Hens that are molting or broody have pale, sometimes shriveled looking combs. An ill bird often has a pale comb. A healthy layer should have a nice red, plump comb like your birds do.
    That pretty Leghorn girl should flood you in big white eggs, and she'll do it on hardly any feed. Not always the best birds for pets, they're kind of flighty, but great layers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  4. Kolijah

    Kolijah Out Of The Brooder

    39
    5
    34
    Dec 29, 2014
    West Virginia
    Thanks for the answers guys! I was trying to google and find my answers but nothing was coming up... cool to know that size and shape are just genetics. My friends had about 30 chickens... but they've come from all over the place and are mixed and matched. I went in and just picked six of the chickens without knowing much about them- but I picked the little guy above specifically because I thought her comb was adorable (I know... great criteria for picking my first chickens out- huh?).

    I've had four of them a week and a half, and I've had the two in the first picture for two days now. I'm getting an egg every other day right now (got my first egg four days in).

    I know the two RIR girls are laying (because I've caught them both). But I'm still trying to figure out if my Australorp is a layer and if the black sex link below is laying... or if they're too old (no idea how old these guys are)... the black sex link has a duller comb and has a bit of a different stance than the others where she stands up more... any thoughts? This is the best pic I have of her that shows the comb color.

    I'm going to attempt to look at their vents once they calm down and adjust a little more... just trying to look for other hints as well since while I'm being patient. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    23,607
    1,331
    396
    Jul 24, 2013
    x2
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,545
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Your bsl looks like my older girls that are taking the winter off. She could be in the 18+ month range and taking a break. I bet she'll start laying by Easter.
    I'm going to try to attach a pic...New to my device so we'll see how well I'm learning! It should show different comb styles of different breeds.

    [​IMG]

    Woo Hoo!! I can be taught[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by