PALE COMB, WHAT is wrong??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickerdoodle, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    One of my Speckled Sussex (Poppy) pullet's comb is getting paler. Our other 4 girls have bright red combs and are laying regularly.
    We have never seen Poppy in the nest but we occasionally find a slightly darker colored egg that is a bit smaller than the other girls so we suspect it's hers. She doesn't walk oddly either (I thought maybe internal laying). Our other SS lays 5-6 eggs a week.
    She is not lethargic and walks around and will peck at a BOSS or whatever I have tossed for them and has a full crop every day, but doesn't scratch the ground looking for goodies any where near the amount the others do. I also noticed the first 2 days she mumbled a lot when walking around. I sniffed her beak when I gently pushed her crop and smelled no odor (to check for sour crop).

    Any ideas?? [​IMG]

    1) What type of bird , age and weight. SPECKLED SUSSEX, 10 MONTHS OLD, PULLET, Don't know weight but she's a good sized girl.
    2) What is the behavior, exactly. I explained above
    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? 4-5 days--comb slowly went paler.
    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? NO.
    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. NO
    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. None Known
    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. Organic soy free layer mash (90% of diet) the other 10 % = Organic greens and some BOSS, rolled oats, organic cracked corn twice a week they get organic yogurt
    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. Not sure--someone had a greener, grainier dropping but it looks more like it's from digesting a lot of plant material. She does go crazy over eating the greens every day.
    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? None yet as I do not know what to treat. I do add 1 1/2 teaspoon ACV/gallon to their water. I was thinking of adding vitamins to their water instead for a few days.
    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? I was going to bring in a fresh flock fecal to the avian vet and treat if necessary. I'd like to treat myself but if the vet thinks she needs to see her I will bring her in.
    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help. No
    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use. Pine shavings in the hen house and sand in the covered run. They also have an additional run with pea gravel they can go in too when we are home. Its too wet here in the PNW to let in the grass yet.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I am thinking one of two things might be the problem.

    First I am wondering if the short days and lousy weather may have caused her to stop laying for whatever reason. Hens that aren't laying have pale pink rather than red combs. That's why broody and molting hens have pink combs and not red. You say she isn't laying well, so there is likely a reason whether it be short days, a molting bird or a bird about to go broody on you. I have mostly production birds that lay regardless, but I have a couple EEs that will stop laying if it's not sunny enough for a few days. Different birds are affected differently by stressors. Perhaps this bird is more prone to showing the effects of stress.

    The other possibility is that the birds have an external parasite infestation. Pale combs can be the result of a heavy parasite load. I would be doing a thorough bug check on all the birds. I would check for lice, but I think you may check extra carefully for mites. A heavy mite load can kill your birds by draining them of their blood. They may have very few symptoms aside from general malaise and decreased egg production until they suddenly drop dead for no apparent reason. By then the whole flock is usually in a bad way.

    I hope this helps. Good luck.
  3. dgh

    dgh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2008
    she need sun. give her some vitamin D but it is usually no sunlight
  4. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    CMV--no lice or mites. I honestly was thinking she may be going broody as she is mumbling again today but is eating some of the warm mash which she wasn't lately (I have to feed wet mash everyday as my BLRW has a wicked cross beak and it allows her to fill her crop). She is being very picky about what she eats--really eyeballs the mash first. The other girls dive in and pig out like its candy (its really just the dry mash moistened). She had been only eating the dry mash. This is her first spring so it would be odd but not impossible for her to go broody. Her feathers look great so she is not currently molting (maybe will start soon?).

    DGH--lack of sun could be an issue for her as its not very sunny in the PNW in the winter. She was sleeping in the sun yesterday (we actually had some sun!). I do add organic ACV to their water to help them absorb Vitamin D better but I will add more Vitamin D just in case she tends to need more. Would yogurt be a good way to do that or should I dig out the vitamin powder for their water. Another question--can you use the ACV with the vitamin powder in their water?

    Thanks again for any thoughts.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by