You can’t help but notice the variance in size, shape and color of combs between different breeds. What’s purpose or benefit of a chicken’s comb – or is it just for show?
According to eXtension: A comb is the fleshy, red outgrowth on top of a chicken’s head. Types of combs, include single, rose, pea, cushion, strawberry, buttercup, and V-shaped. The comb primarily is for display, but it also serves to cool the bird in hot weather. In hens, the comb is an indicator of egg production status. A large, red comb typically indicates a hen that is laying eggs; a small, pink comb indicates a bird that is not laying.
eXtension – is one of my favorite online sites that provides information from university based educators. The poultry section of this site includes articles, free webinars and educated answers to many questions from new and experienced chicken keepers. If you can’t find the answer to a particular concern you might have, you can “Ask an Expert”.
The color/shape/size of the comb does has significance. Different breeds sport a specific comb. Color can vary among the breeds also from bright red to purple, but a change in color, as well as the physical condition, can also represent an illness or defect. Go to this link to read about my experience with a chicken’s comb and frostbite: Winter Conerns: Frostbite
An interesting fact is use of chicken combs for treating arthritis. Hyaluronic acid, a substance that is derived from the combs, is injected into the affected joint, acting as a bio-lubricant that allows the bones to slide easier and thereby relieves the pain.
Within my own flock – I have 3 different varieties of combs…
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