Pale color Combs ?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kkkcc, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. kkkcc

    kkkcc New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Jul 22, 2011
    I have been told that if a chicken's comb is pale in color, that the;y are sick ! I have 4 hens that are about 2 years. I have one that has lost lots of feathers (feathers all around the coop) she felt like a porcupine to pick up. She has now stopped loosing feathers and is now sprouting pretty new ones! She eats well and her eyes do not look cloudy. But her comb is paler than before, and lighter than the rest of the hens. Is there anything I can do.
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Molting can take a lot out of a bird, sometimes when they molt the comb is not as bright as usual, they also generally don't lay when molting. That said, pale combs can also be attributed to several other things including being anemic from mite/lice infestations, carrying to heavy a parasite load, or other illness.

    If she is otherwise active and eating and you have them on a regular preventative program for parasites then I'd probably chalk it up to the molt.

    When they molt you can help them out by providing a little more protein to help grow all those new feathers. Feeding a higher protein gamebird or flock raiser feed with oyster shell on the side is an option as well as offering good protein treats like hard boiled or scrambled eggs, meal worms etc.
     
  3. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,200
    42
    191
    Jul 21, 2012
    Northern California
    I agree that she is molting. :)
     
  4. swga

    swga Out Of The Brooder

    66
    4
    31
    Jun 13, 2012
    Another thing that helps perk them up when the combs get pale is a mix of electrolytes and vitamins that you can add to the water. The feed store will probably have it- there are several different brands. It's kind of like a chicken gatorade!
     
    chickwhisperer 17 likes this.
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,405
    6,109
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Yeah, right now my molting girls also have pale combs. Some birds go thru soft molts and you can barely tell they are molting. Others go thru hard molts and just poof off their feathers nearly all in one day! A chicken needs the protein to go into growing new feathers, meanwhile the hormones get low in a hens body, and even stops the egg laying. That is when the comb goes pale...when the hormones are low.

    Some of my molting girls went 5 months with a pale comb and stopped laying eggs. Others started back in with laying only after 2 months of molting, although their combs were still pale for weeks after.

    Sounds like your hen is going thru a hard molt, judging from the description of being prickly. LOL Her comb will redden up again when her body is completely done growing all her feathers in. :)
     
    Chickassan likes this.
  6. Spaghetti

    Spaghetti New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Mar 12, 2016
    My girls have been mounting too! They all went thru a hard molt. I have one girl who's comb is pale and looks like it got smaller. Her feathers came back dull in color too.at She's not sluggish and is still eating and drinking fine. I have given then sunflower and pumpkin seeds, feather booster and electrolytes. Any other suggestions? :)
     
  7. chickwhisperer 17

    chickwhisperer 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    54
    41
    66
    Aug 17, 2017
    Commack NY
    What can we give for extra protein. My hens are 4 months old
     
  8. Chickassan

    Chickassan Overrun With Chickens

    2,599
    6,148
    356
    May 23, 2017
    Berea, South Carolina
    The comb is pale because of molt, a red comb signals a hen that's laying and productive. The comb goes pale during molt because the hen is not laying and therefore not producing offspring, kind of like a do not disturb sign on top of their head.:)
     
    TwoCrows likes this.
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,405
    6,109
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    4 month olds should still be on starter, of 18% or so. The starter should be enough protein, however you can cook up some lean ground turkey and give them each a small handful a couple times a week. This will boost protein levels and help grow shinier healthier feathers. :)
     
    chickwhisperer 17 likes this.
  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,405
    6,109
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Combs can shrink during a good molt. Perfectly normal. When she is done molting and her hormones get back in gear, the comb will again redden and grow back to it's normal size. :)
     
    chickwhisperer 17 likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by