weird thought...what are wattles for?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Frozen Feathers, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2007
    Maine
    Really, do they serve any purpose...besides helping us determine if that's a boy or girl. Just curious. I've had chickens for 6 years and I just thought of it today...they seem a bit useless. [​IMG]
     
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    Yes, and prone to frostbite and pecking-at too.
     
  3. mlheran

    mlheran Chillin' With My Peeps

    I imagine it has significance among birds for mate selection, just like the extravagant and oddly-shaped feathers of some South American birds that display and "court" in hopes of finding a mate. I wouldn't be surprised if females preferred males with larger wattles simply because they stand out vibrantly and jiggle when he's trying to attract them. They don't have any practical application, as such, but go a long way towards avian vanity. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2007
  4. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    The Ancona breed has combs that are so tall they just flop over. I wonder if, in a mixed breed flock, an Ancona rooster would get all the ladies...
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I think the comb wattle thing is from the past and largely due to humans breeding them for traits. ALL chickens are a domesticated animal with some becoming feral. I don't think "natural" selection works very hard on them compared to human selection. They may play a part in cooling though since they can't sweat and chickens in hotter areas have larger combs... possibly because breeders saw thoes did better than the smaller comb varieties. Doubt someone would want to focus breeding large comb leghorns for production in alaska while someone in africa wanted to breed something like a cochin! They were probably bred to fit the climate.
     
  6. Ma

    Ma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Camanche, Iowa
    slkie chicken is right, the combs ansd wattles are the birds "air-conditioners" of their bodies. They also play a part in fertility, single combs being the most fertile.

    This I learned when I was researching chickens in general.

    Interestingly enough, I have 2 (out of 5) SLW hens with single combs (instead of the normal rose combs). Purists would cull these birds, but the old timers would leave them in the stock for their increased fertility.

    At any rate, the combs and wattles were designed by nature to cool the body.
     
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Leesville, SC
    I think they have some mating significance and help to cool the bird?
     
  8. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    Quote:It's actually a good thing that you do have the singles popping up in your flock. I have had singles in my BLRW flock, and I've left them in it. I found out about the fertility issue after I got rid of a beautifully colored single combed roo that I wish I hadn't. [​IMG]

    I was told that it's best to have a single combed roo rather than single combed hens, as the hens tend to throw off more of the same kind than the roos. I don't know if this is true, but I'm assuming that someone has tested this theory.
     
  9. southernsibe

    southernsibe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2007
    kensington, maryland
    It does make sense that they are for cooling, but why would the roo's be so much larger then the hens, if comparably they aren't too much different in size? I know this is about chickens, but it makes me wonder what a snood is for on a turkey. My dh thinks it acts sort of like a bug lure.
    Rachel
     
  10. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    it makes me wonder what a snood is for on a turkey. My dh thinks it acts sort of like a bug lure.

    [​IMG]:lau

    I think it goes back to when domestic breeds were still wild and the whole female attraction thing.​
     

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