Why do battery hens have big, floppy combs?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by The Chicken Lady, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    I've always wondered this. The combs of battery hens are bigger and floppier than a rooster's. Why?

    Any thoughts?
  2. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    What is a battery hen?
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    It is due to a combination of things. Being fed a feed that geared to egg production and minimal waste (poop), lack of exercise, lack of natural sunlight.

    Take a hen from a battery cage, put her in a backyard flock and you will see over time the comb begin to stand up and sometimes they will shrink a little.

    To me the results of a battery hen put in a backyard flock and the changes in the comb tells me (although they deny it) there is something hormal they are changing in those hens to produce the eggs they are laying.
  4. fivebigreds

    fivebigreds Songster

    Sep 9, 2007
    middle Tennessee
    Most battery hens ( hens kept for commercial egg production ) are leghorns which have a large comb anyway.
    Maybe the hen is so weak , underfed and featherless that the comb just looks larger. They probably do pump hormones into the birds. As the saying goes it's the love of money that is the root of all evil.
    They don't care what they feed us or what it does to us so long as the bottom line looks good. That is in all the food at the store. I feel a soap box coming on !!!!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2008
  5. Flyingbavarian

    Flyingbavarian In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2008
    Central Oklahoma
    Floppy combs in some Mediterranean breeds isn't abnormal. I have seen leghorn hens have big floppy combs and they were well cared for. I have never seen a battery hen so i don't have anything to compare to. But i know that leghorn and crosses of that breed are used. It makes you wonder if they are that much bigger in battery hens what could cause it though.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2008
  6. Knight Hawk Ranch

    Knight Hawk Ranch Songster

    Oct 19, 2007
    Labelle, Florida
    I have 4 leghorn pullets and two of them have developed flopp overs on thier combs.
    These are hand raised and are free range and look pretty healthy to me.
  7. antlers

    antlers Songster

    Jun 20, 2008
    East Cent Minnesota
    My personal THEORY is lack of exercise. If I get a hen that goes broody, Her comb flops over some too until she quits brooding and movng around a lot again. But hey! What do I know!
  8. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * I thought it must be breed-related, too. Chook has a huge, floppy comb. Some of the neighborhood kids have insisted she's a roo, even after I told them she lays eggs!! Lol!
  9. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Quote:Yeah, I think the white-faced black Spanish hens have large, floppy combs. Interesting thought...
  10. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    Battery hens are usually leghorns because they lay so well.

    And leghorns have FABULOUS floppy combs. I think they look 1940's vampy.
    I love leghorn combs. [​IMG]

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