Purple comb

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dandydoodle, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2010
    When I went out to put the chickens up this afternoon part of one of my hens comb looked purple. Just the back half of it. She is molting right now, I don't know if that has anything to do with it. Does anyone know why a comb would be purple?

    Michelle [​IMG]
  2. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    Hi Michelle,

    I would think it's basically a circulatory or respiratory issue. In other words it's blue because blood either doesn't have enough oxygen or because the blood isn't being circulated properly. Chilling (is the weather very cold?) is one way to cut circulation to the comb.

    Other things can affect comb colour, though I find when hens are molting the comb tends to go smaller and paler rather than blue.

    Perhaps more commonly if the roost area has built up a little too much with droppings, ammonia can harm the lungs and therefore make the combs go dark. That's easily fixed but it does open the door to other respiratory complaints, so it's always a good idea to keep roost sheds fairly clean (so you can't smell ammonia easily).

    Blue combs can also be from respiratory disease and from cardiac (heart) trouble, e.g. ascites (also known as 'water belly'). I'm sure there are other possible causes too.

    I have a cockerel who had a blue comb of a morning for about 4 months, then it cleared. We're in spring over here now so I guess he's just a bird who doesn't do well in the cold; there may be a congenital lung or heart issue, but it's mild in his case.

    Hope this helps, sorry it's not definitive. [​IMG]

    Good luck.

    Whoops, I'm talking about blue combs, but you're talking about purple... There may be no problem at all, if it's not very dark. Apologies for going off on tangent! [​IMG] I'll leave the info here anyway in case others feel it's useful.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Erica has given you a lot of good info. Another thing to consider is the presence of parasites. If a bird has a heavy load of bugs they can become anemic which will lead to a dusky purple comb color.

    That being said- comb color is an imperfect indicator of health in birds. It is not always indicative of something. Comb color varies widely, for many reasons, and not all of them are related to bird health.

    Good luck.
  4. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2010
    What should I do? Should I just watch her to make sure it goes back to normal? I will clean there coop this weekend just in case thats it. Do I need to check for worms? If so how do I do that? Should I listen for breathing problems? [​IMG]

  5. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2010
    [​IMG] oops!!! I don't know how to delete this one.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
  6. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2010
    Oh yeah, this hen has a really large comb for a hen. The front looks normal it is like the back 1/4 of her comb that looks purple. I just wanted to post a couple of pics of her so you can see how big her comb is. Could it have something to do with how large her comb is?

  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I see this from time to time in my flock, too. I think it's just hormones.
  8. KirstenJL

    KirstenJL Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2011
    Central Ohio
    I have a cockerel with this issue. It comes and goes and he seems perfectly fine (which I know doesn't guarantee that he is). I've decided just to wait and see--he'll be a year old next week.
  9. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    I would worm them if they are are year old and have never been wormed. Worming while molting is a great time to do it because you aren't getting many eggs anyway.
  10. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011

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