Rooster's comb and waddles quickly turning black

BroosterSpringsteen

Songster
8 Years
May 15, 2011
892
66
156
NW North Carolina
I have two roosters whose combs and waddles have started turning dramatically black, just over the last few days. It's definitely not frostbite, as it's very warm here. It has been very wet though, although their coop is dry, and they free range during the day. Both are about 1 1/2 years old. Both are acting lethargic. My Marans rooster also has a peculiar walk, but I did start to notice that a few weeks ago.

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Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
37,301
52,677
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
Have they been fighting?

It could be wounds from them pecking each other/fighting or possibly insect bites.

Observe their behavior with one another, especially during roosting time. You can apply some Vetericyn, triple antibiotic ointment or Blu-Kote to the combs and wattles.

If you have a lot of insects (flies, mosquitoes, etc.) try keeping them under control. It's hard to do, I know.
 

BroosterSpringsteen

Songster
8 Years
May 15, 2011
892
66
156
NW North Carolina
Have they been fighting?

It could be wounds from them pecking each other/fighting or possibly insect bites.

Observe their behavior with one another, especially during roosting time. You can apply some Vetericyn, triple antibiotic ointment or Blu-Kote to the combs and wattles.

If you have a lot of insects (flies, mosquitoes, etc.) try keeping them under control. It's hard to do, I know.

No fighting, they get along fine. We definitely have bugs, especially after so much rain. I see you live in the NC mountains like myself, so I know you know what I mean! Seems like if it were bugs though, wouldn't all the chickens have at least some of the same? There's not a trace on the rest of my flock.

They also appear to have diarrhea, so I'm wondering if it might be blackhead?
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
37,301
52,677
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Oh yes, lots of bugs and rain!
What does the poop look like? (photos)

Blackhead is usually seen in Turkeys, chickens can get it but it's not that common.

My rooster does seem to get those black spots (insect bites) more than the hens. Here's what happens to mine. He lets the hens pick at those spots, they bleed, get a few more scabs, they pick some more and on and on it goes. I've about given up trying to heal his comb. I've had him separated for a few days for another reason and his comb is looking better. Watch your fellas to see if the hens pick at their combs.

Fowl Pox is another possibility. Since I see no oozing, it's most likely dry form. It's transmitted by mosquitoes. Seems a large rooster comb is targeted more so than a hen.
Fowl Pox will usually resolve on it's own, but you can apply some Iodine to help dry the scabs - don't pick the scabs off, just let them fall off.

Keeping the water clean is important if it's Fowl Pox, it can spread.

Diarrhea can be caused by a number of things - drinking more in warm weather, eating "treats" like watermelon, cucumber, etc., worms and bacterial infection are some of the most common. Having a fecal float to rule out worms is usually a good idea.

Here's more info on Fowl Pox:
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2015/07/fowl-pox-prevention-treatment.html
 

BroosterSpringsteen

Songster
8 Years
May 15, 2011
892
66
156
NW North Carolina
Oh yes, lots of bugs and rain!
What does the poop look like? (photos)

Blackhead is usually seen in Turkeys, chickens can get it but it's not that common.

My rooster does seem to get those black spots (insect bites) more than the hens. Here's what happens to mine. He lets the hens pick at those spots, they bleed, get a few more scabs, they pick some more and on and on it goes. I've about given up trying to heal his comb. I've had him separated for a few days for another reason and his comb is looking better. Watch your fellas to see if the hens pick at their combs.

Fowl Pox is another possibility. Since I see no oozing, it's most likely dry form. It's transmitted by mosquitoes. Seems a large rooster comb is targeted more so than a hen.
Fowl Pox will usually resolve on it's own, but you can apply some Iodine to help dry the scabs - don't pick the scabs off, just let them fall off.

Keeping the water clean is important if it's Fowl Pox, it can spread.

Diarrhea can be caused by a number of things - drinking more in warm weather, eating "treats" like watermelon, cucumber, etc., worms and bacterial infection are some of the most common. Having a fecal float to rule out worms is usually a good idea.

Here's more info on Fowl Pox:
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2015/07/fowl-pox-prevention-treatment.html

Thanks! This is really helpful information! I just cleaned the coop this morning, but I'll try to get poop photos later (there's something I never thought I'd say :D ) One of the roosters has a very messy bottom. But with all this rain and mud, it can be difficult to discern mud from poo. They love to wallow in my freshly weeded flower beds. :rolleyes:

I could see either of these as a possibility. I definitely haven't noticed any pecking, but they free range over about 3 acres, so it could be happening without me knowing. As for mosquitoes, DEFINITELY a major problem for us. But we live directly on the river, so there's not much to be done. I have been thinking about installing a bat box near the coop though. Their water source stays pretty clean. It is a nipple feeder fed from a rain barrel. But I'm sure the rain barrel might be contributing to our mosquitoes. I'm going to try treating the combs and waddles, and we'll see if that helps.
 

Molpet

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 7, 2015
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New Lenox township. Illinois USA
My Coop
My Coop
The best mosquito-repelling plants for your garden:
  • Lavender. Have you ever noticed that insects or even rabbits and other animals have never decimated your lavender plant? ...
  • Marigolds. Marigolds, an easy-to-grow annual flower, emit a smell that deters mosquitoes. ...
  • Citronella Grass. ...
  • Catnip. ...
  • Rosemary. ...
  • Basil. ...
  • Garlic
  • Lemon grass
  • Scented Geraniums.
 

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