My rooster suddenly has black spots on his comb.


In the Brooder
7 Years
Aug 8, 2012
Southern Ontario
Just this morning I noticed that our largest rooster has some black spots on his comb. The spots are quite black, round, but not raised. They are not on the tips of the comb so I don't think it's frostbite. I did dip below freezing last night but I imagine it has to be colder than that for frostbite to occur?

Our birds free range all day and at night they sleep in our chicken barn, which is an old roomy structure with straw and shavings on the floor as deep litter. It's normally quite dry, but some rain did come in through a broken window earlier in the week and get the litter damp. Is it possible this has created some kind of infection? I just went and inspected and everything seems dry enough now. There is a window in the roof of the barn which is open 24 hours a day and the door is open all day too.

Our two Rhode Island Red hens also seem to have some small black spots starting on their combs. So I'm pretty concerned. I will try to get some pictures when I get the chance.

In the meantime though, does anyone know what might cause the black spots?
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Okay, here are a couple of photos. The best I could get anyway. You can see one side of the comb, and then the other.

If anyone could give me any advice I would really appreciate it!
Mine hens had something similar earlier and it was thought to be dry pox. They never got more than one or two on each hen that got them. They were only about the size ofmthe discoloration at the bottom of your roo's comb.There is a picture if you go to the thread I started titled"Growth". I checked today, the spots are nearly gone, less than a week later. They had no other symptoms, and one even layed her first egg today. I would read up on dry pox and keep an eye out for any other symptoms.
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Thank you. I have looked at some photos of avian pox, and I don't think that's what it is, since the pox look like raised round bumps, and these spots and flat and irregularly shaped. Although that would be nice if it were that, since it goes away on its own.
Though I'm not a professional at all. I have seen these on my birds and I find they get these on occasion. When the hens end up with them it tends to be from a rooster grabbing her by the comb to reign her in. When my roosters get it, it's either the result of a fight, or a hen turning the tables when he's trying to grab her.

Since it's the winter here (-30C today!), the birds are locked up tight and though overcrowding isn't an issue, when they're used to being able to wander as far away as they want, they tend to get in more squabbles over the winter while 'cooped up'.

I read your post on another forum, and I don't believe it's frostbite at all. My birds, some of which have very tall combs, seem to have little problems until it hits -25C or so. I have a single heat lamp near the waterer so they have the option to warm their heads, however it's not down very low and I do that for several reasons. The main reason is I acquired 2 Dark Cornish and their feathering isn't very tight at all. I read they're more susceptible to cold, so I installed that for them. Secondly, I'm not interested in having them dependent on a heat source in case of any extended power outage in the worse conditions. My coop is an old restored one and it has its issues, however it remains dry and without drafts. I use deep litter as I have a dirt floor and I've found it remains very nice in there despite having one spot that gathers a little snow on a rafter (which the birds will fight to get at, they love eating snow).

In my limited experience (1.5 winters with birds), frost bite looks different, and is more of a blue colouration, much like your fingers turn when frostbite sets in. I'm 99% that this is simply due to rough foreplay or hen pecking issues. Castor oil was recommended on the other forum, but I've also recently found a cureall for both frostbite and scaly leg and that's the old PetroCarb most of our grandparents used to keep around in the red tin. It's an oil based product (so it suffocates leg mites) that's meant for healing cuts, scrapes and rashes. If it's on this property and has at least one leg, it's been treated with Petrocarb at some point. Send me a note if you want to go where to get some.

Here's an excellent article on Avian Pox, and yours looks nothing like this! All the best.
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Thank you Sweetened! I was very doubtful it was frostbite, as our temperatures haven't dipped below -5 C I think. Our property is very windy and I admit there are a few drafts in the barn, but still - it doesn't look like frostbite.

Our head rooster still has spots but they look more scabby. I guess injury is a possibility, but both on him and others, there was also some white stuff which quite honestly looked like mold. So I still suspect it's some kind of fungal infection - but one rooster which had it noticeably is now fine, so perhaps this will go away on its own. Nobody has gotten any worse anyway. Good thing, because I confess I have not been able to catch them to treat them! I need to get better at this, because I noticed a few of them have scaly leg too.

Just noticed my roosters have dark black circular spots on their combs. They are in separate chain link dog runs 10 x 10 that have impermeable roofs, and are now covered in 6 mil plastic. When the weather is warm I raise the sides. There is a heat lamp in a corner in the vicinity of the perch, which is angled so the bird can decide how close to get to the heat. (But cannot get directly under it)

On the Gulf Coast, we've had several spells of freezing, and also 70 degree weather. Their
Coops have been adjusted with each weather change.

Since the boys are not able to get to each other, I'm able to rule out fight wounds.
And my hens, who free range and retire to another coop at night, do not have any spots.

Any ideas?
I would look into the problems the above members posted. (Fowl or Avian Pox, frostbite, or pecking). If it is frostbite, It will be a blackish gray color and generally is on the tips of the comb. The affected points will most generally fall off. Do you have pics of the comb?

By the way, Welcome to Backyard Chickens

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