Scabs On Comb: Picking or Worse?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by FiveHens, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. FiveHens

    FiveHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    Preface: So, over the past week or two, I have been noticing that one of our hens (Nutmeg) has been getting these black scabs on her comb. She doesn't get picked on a lot (as far as I know) and we have no roosters. It has been as cold as 27 degrees (F) around here at night and their coop is not heated...however, I do not think it's frostbite as it's not only affecting the tips. After reading numerous posts, I was concerned that it might be fowl pox, although it doesn't really have any "bumps," just the scabs. Any advice would be appreciated!

    1) Description: She is a half-EE mutt, around 10 months old, laying hen, unknown weight (but not skinny; a normal weight)

    2) Behavior: appears unchanged, acting perfectly normal;

    2.5) Symptoms: has several black/brown scabs on her comb, no sign of weeping or raised bumps

    3) How long has she been like this: 1-2 weeks

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms: One other hen has a few small spots on her comb; the rest are normal

    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: No idea; see top paragraph

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all: Normally, as far as I know...she gets free-choice layer pellets, water, table scraps, scratch, and some free-range every day

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc: Normal, as far as I can tell

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far: None; I will isolate her if you all think it's necessary but we do not have a place in which to do that...

    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: Just want to know what's wrong first.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use: Four hens in a 4x4 coop, 12x11 run, shavings inside the coop, dirt in the run, free range ~30 minutes/day. They do pick on eachother occasionally, but I do not think it's enough to draw blood from the comb...See my page for pics of the coop and & run

    Here's the "front" of her comb...


    And the "back"


    Any help would be appreciated!
    Thanks! [​IMG]
  2. shellybean40

    shellybean40 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Boerne, TX
    don't know, but I am waiting to hear what the experts think.
  3. FiveHens

    FiveHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    Please??? I need some help here!!

    This hen is going to stay with the others unless I hear otherwise!
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    The scabs could be due to a number of things, including getting pecked from other birds. A lot of pecking can go on right at the time they settle on the roosts in the evening and you might not notice it. While the pics don't show them so dark, you mentioned that the scabs were black. They could be lesions from fowl pox. If that is what Nutmeg has, then it will usually take care of itself. But you can also vaccinate your other birds. Fowl pox is transmitted by contact with other infected birds or through biting insects, such as mosquitos and ticks. The description of your low temps might suggest that biting insects might not be so common right now. I don't think it's frostbite. It doesn't seem cold enough unless maybe your coop is not ventilated. Here's a link to the Merck page on Fowl Pox, complete with pics: Good luck!
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    That doesn't look like fowl pox to me- too consolidated, fowl pox is generally more spread around on the face. It looks like someone is being a bully.
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Quote:X 2

    And I agree with Gallo that it's very likely happening at night, her comb looks consistant with what I've seen happen here while they're jockying for prime roost space. Is the roosting area a bit on the tight side? Adding another roost at the same height as the one you have now may help.

    I don't think it looks bad enough to isolate her and then have to go thru all the joy of re-integrating a low in the pecking order hen, but you might want to go out tonight just before dark and take a peak inside the coop. I'm guessing that whoever she's trying to roost next to will be the one harrassing her. Instead of taking Nutmeg out you could remove the bully for a few days or a week. Sometimes that will knock the ornery hen down a few pegs in the pecking order and resolve the problem. Best of luck!
  7. FiveHens

    FiveHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    Thank you! I will try that. It's true...they have plenty of roosts, but some of them have to sleep on the low(er) one. I will see if I can find the perpetrator.
    Thanks! [​IMG]

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