Comb/wattle genes?

Amer

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Nov 8, 2017
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Generally no, if you mean the shape of the comb. Albeit typically, though not always, a larger comb will go with larger wattles.
With a pea comb the wattles are generally smaller, though I don’t know if that is just the gene or a breeder’s preference.
AAE70068-48BF-4FB4-96EB-A96B862DA9EF.jpeg

(Bantam Buckeye, his wattles are very small. The red part in the middle is his throat, next to it is the left wattle, next to that is his earlobe. US Araucanas preferably don’t have wattles at all.)

I don’t think any studies have been done on wattles.
 

NatJ

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Mar 20, 2017
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Dumb question, are the genes that control the comb the same that control the wattles?

Not a dumb question, but the answer includes a lot of "maybes" and special cases, and I think that no-one knows all of the answers!

If a chicken has two copies of the pea comb gene, the wattles will also be smaller than on other chickens. It seems this is an actual effect of the gene, not just breeder preference.

If a chicken has only one copy of the pea comb gene, the comb and wattles are not as small (compared with a chicken that has two copies of the gene.)

Walnut comb, cushion comb, and strawberry comb have the pea comb gene along with the rose comb gene--so they get the smaller wattles, too.

Other than that, it does seem that breeds with smaller combs usually also have smaller wattles, when comparing ones that have the same kind of comb.
Rose comb example: Hamburgs have larger comb/wattles, Wyandottes have smaller combs/wattles.
Single comb example: Leghorns have larger combs/wattles, Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks have smaller combs/wattles.

It appears that, for any particular chicken breed, comb and wattles are both large or they are both small.

Unless the breed has muff/beard (feathers under/around the mouth). This causes the wattles to be smaller, but does not change the comb.

Or unless the breed has a crest (feathers on top of the head). This causes the comb to be smaller, or wrinkled, or pushed forward on the head, but does not change the wattles.

(There may be other known factors, but either I've forgotten them, or I haven't learned about them yet.)
 

Twizzler

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May 13, 2020
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Not a dumb question, but the answer includes a lot of "maybes" and special cases, and I think that no-one knows all of the answers!

If a chicken has two copies of the pea comb gene, the wattles will also be smaller than on other chickens. It seems this is an actual effect of the gene, not just breeder preference.

If a chicken has only one copy of the pea comb gene, the comb and wattles are not as small (compared with a chicken that has two copies of the gene.)

Walnut comb, cushion comb, and strawberry comb have the pea comb gene along with the rose comb gene--so they get the smaller wattles, too.

Other than that, it does seem that breeds with smaller combs usually also have smaller wattles, when comparing ones that have the same kind of comb.
Rose comb example: Hamburgs have larger comb/wattles, Wyandottes have smaller combs/wattles.
Single comb example: Leghorns have larger combs/wattles, Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks have smaller combs/wattles.

It appears that, for any particular chicken breed, comb and wattles are both large or they are both small.

Unless the breed has muff/beard (feathers under/around the mouth). This causes the wattles to be smaller, but does not change the comb.

Or unless the breed has a crest (feathers on top of the head). This causes the comb to be smaller, or wrinkled, or pushed forward on the head, but does not change the wattles.

(There may be other known factors, but either I've forgotten them, or I haven't learned about them yet.)
Thanks for all of the info! I did a cursory glance at different comb types, and just noticed what seemed like a correlation between the two. That makes sense with muff/beard genes and crest genes. I have two cream leg bars and their combs do seem a bit shorter than the other pullets’
 

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