Pale comb - what does it mean

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickInDelight, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

    Apr 27, 2011
    Browntown, VA
    [​IMG]I only have 4 chickens - feed store Easter babies from 2011. The Barred Rock and Buff Orpington are round, fluffy, and colorful. The 2 Rhode Island Reds are much leaner. One of them has always had a pale pink / white comb color while all 3 other chickens have bright red combs.

    What does this pale color mean?
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Can you post a picture?

    Pale combs can mean something is wrong with their health but I have witnessed my healthy hens' combs change color right before my eyes. So take what I say with a grain of salt.

    IF they are anemic they can have a pale comb, like with worms or mites drinking up all their blood. And other conditions too. Your hen might not have any problems at all so I don't want to scare you...a pic might help others determine if it really is abnormally pale.
  3. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

    Apr 27, 2011
    Browntown, VA
    Thanks. I will try to find a real camera to take a picture. All of my photos are with my phone camera, and the chickens mostly appear a blur.

    It has always been pale, but I thought it looked whitish over the weekend. I didn't think anything of it until I read that the comb can go pale under stress.
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  5. chickychicla

    chickychicla New Egg

    Oct 5, 2012
    Tickfaw, LA
    I have an 8 month Rhode Island Red with the same issue and I don't think she is laying either. She has been raised with 7 other Rhode Island Reds and I have caught all the others in the hen boxes but not her, and she is the only one out of the coop after dusk having to be coaxed into the house. I'm wondering if there may be a developmental issue. Is there such a thing?
  6. Anniebee

    Anniebee Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have three large chickens and one bantam. The two largest chickens ( a RIR and Welsummer ) are still laying even though it is Autumn here in Australia, and they are all moulting. They have bright red combs. The next largest chicken - sized between a bantam and standard is a Barnevelder. She is not laying nor is my Aussie Araucana - both of whom are moulting. Today Milly ( Barnevelder ) is very quiet, seems to need the sun as she squatted for a time in sunlight, has a very pale comb and doesn't seem very interested in anything. It is time I gave them some worming mixture in their water, perhaps that is the problem - although there is absolutely NO sign whatsoever of worms in their droppings, and the other two large laying chickens are in good health. I am quite concerned about Milly - she's a lovely chicken, and it's obvious something has upset her in some way. I doubt she would be trying to lay - as she hasn't laid an egg for several weeks now. The only surprising thing is that my two larger birds are still actually laying - through the moult, and into extremely cold Winter weather.

    Does anyone have any idea what might be wrong, or is it normal for a moulting chicken to have a pale comb ? Any replies would be much appreciated.
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2013
    Quote: Yes. Recently there's been some kind of outbreak of mysteriously stunted chicks who simply aren't developing. I think it may be an inherited endocrinal disorder; if large scale breeders and hatcheries are not seeing the chicks they hatch make it to adulthood they may find it difficult to know for sure what they're breeding. I really don't believe in using a computer to assign breeders to one another, nor do I think it's wise to not keep a sample of the results until at least three years old to see what's being bred. Just a theory and my two cent's worth, combined. ;)

    However in your case it is more likely an environmental or symptomatic 'development disorder' --- almost any illness, injury or over/under-nutritive occurrence can set them back, produce inferior adults, and delay or prevent full growth.

    People on this thread have already supplied the most common causes of pale crests but in general it can be considered a reliable sign of suppressed vitality; broodies are in a low-consumption semi-suspension state so their crests tend to pale; since bright red crests are a sign of sexual maturity, I think a paler broody's crest helps to let the rooster know (if he's the thick skulled sort) that she's not 'up for it' --- her body is not advertising reproductive availability while pale.

    If crests go pale under stress they are either in shock or have weak cardiovascular systems. A rooster who lived a really healthy life will often maintain a bright red crest and wattles even after death from even long-running injury and infection. If you have many pale birds I would suggest making sure the worm and other parasite burdens are controlled, and supplying the means to strong health. The ways I personally achieve this are to give raw minced garlic as a staple food (average of a clove per bird, per day) and a pinch of granulated or powdered kelp (per bird, per day, average). Kelp will regulate their endocrinal systems and is a carminative, meaning (more or less) it'll redden them up. Another thing: if you think your animals are breeding true to type or are good purebred specimens, you will never know unless they are having kelp. It will allow full visual expression of what the bird's true phenotype is. 'Complete' feeds from produce stores can't match it unless they too have kelp and haven't cooked it to within an inch of its life.

    Best wishes to you and yours.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    If I notice one with a pale comb it gets weighed, de-wormed with fenbendazole 10% 50mg/kg and dusted for mites and lice.

  9. Anniebee

    Anniebee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Kathy -

    If you have replied to my query about my Barnevelder being pale combed - then thank you. I have begun the worming procedure and will dust the coop before they go to bed tonight.

    Cheers ... Anniebee
  10. Fluffychicky

    Fluffychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2013
    Sophia, NC
    Here is napoleon as you can see his comb and wattles have shriveled (first picture was taken 2 weeks ago the second picture was taken tonight). He has no discharge and no lice or mites (he was just dusted and thoroughly checked) and I haven't noticed any odd poops. He acts just fine, steals every bit of food he can, raises his hackles every now and then and runs a lot. I have noticed in the past week and a half he hasn't crowed (that I have noticed) and his comb has three very small scabs on them but they look like peck marks and he did recently get in a tussle with my other rooster. None of my other chickens are exhibiting any strange behaviors. I'm very worried about him, because I just don't understand what is wrong. He is growing in his adult feathers so maybe that is taking a toll? I really don't want this to be anything serious I love my babies and I work so hard to keep them in good health. Can someone help me?

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