A bleeding chicken comb indicates that the blood capillaries on it are cut or hurt. The main function of a chicken comb is to regulate its temperature by cooling. Severe comb bleeding makes it difficult for a chicken to cool its body. This can cause serious heat stress, which can be fatal.
Signs of a bleeding comb include blood stains or clots on it. I have seen my chicken’s comb change from red to dark purple after bleeding. This normally happens due to poor blood circulation if several capillaries in the comb are damaged.
It is easy for a chicken comb to bleed when hurt or cut because there is a lot of blood flowing in it as the chicken cools. For instance, for a chicken to refresh, blood is taken into its comb for cooling before it is sent back to the rest of its body. The comb, together with the wattle, is the central air conditioning unit of a chicken.
Table of Contents
- Care: How to stop a chicken comb from bleeding
- What happens if an injured chicken comb falls off?
The main causes of a bleeding chicken comb include;
- Pecking or sparring by aggressive chickens.
- Fights when establishing social order or hierarchy.
- Insect bites.
- Abrasions or bruises against rough surfaces like thorny leaves or walls.
- Predator attacks.
- Scratching on a rough fence or barbed wire.
When new chickens are introduced into a flock or chickens of different sizes are housed together, expect pecking and comb injury. While pecking and comb bleeding may not always be serious, they may leave black spots on a chicken comb or even make the damaged area turn black for a long time, if not permanently.
Care: How to stop a chicken comb from bleeding
Before any step, understand that the outer layer of the comb is rich in capillaries, which are closely situated to the skin surfaces. That is why the chicken’s comb is sensitive and prone to injuries. Therefore, use the following steps with caution to stop and treat a bleeding chicken comb:
1. Kwik stop styptic powder
Kwik stop is one of the safest and fastest ways to stop and treat a bleeding chicken comb because it contains Benzocaine, which reduces pain and stops bleeding in a matter of minutes.
Simply apply a pinch on the bleeding area, then hold on to it until the bleeding stops (5-10 minutes). Let the chicken free for about 30 minutes before cleaning the area. Do not let it mix with the others before cleaning the powder to avoid any pecking from others.
2. Pure honey
Simply add some drops of raw pure honey to the affected area. This has natural antibacterial and healing properties on any open wound. Let it settle before cleaning the wound since this may attract ants to the comb at night if left uncleaned.
3. Baking flour
Applying baking flour on a bleeding chicken comb is a safe way to stop its bleeding. This will absorb the blood and dry the wound fast. Simply spread some baking flow on the bleeding area and let it settle for an hour. Then wipe it off with a soft, wet hand towel.
A pinch of cornstarch on a bleeding comb wound can help in its quick recovery. Apply a pitch of cornstarch on the bleeding area and let it settle for 30-60 minutes. This works by absorbing the blood and drying the wound, hence faster closing. Then, use a wet towel to wipe it clean after the bleeding stops.
Vaseline contains petroleum jelly that is made of oils and waxes that can stop bleeding from a cut on a chicken’s comb. Simply wipe the bleeding area with a clean soft towel and apply a vaseline on it.
Note that this will only stop bleeding on small cuts on the comb and not deep ones. Additionally, after using cornstarch, honey, or baking flour on a chicken’s comb, apply Vaseline on the wound after wiping it clean. Vaseline can also be applied on wounds from chicken pecking and frostbite as they heal.
6. Rubbing alcohol
Clean the comb wound with rubbing alcohol and apply a risk-free pet antibiotic cream. Alternatively, treat the comb by cutting off the damaged area. That is done when the comb’s bleeding and the wound is nasty.
If you are afraid or unsure how to carry out the comb-trimming procedure, refer the matter to your local vet. There are also some cases where the chicken’s comb may turn black due to blood clots from the injuries on it. Give it time to heal, but if it takes time, check on it to prevent any further infections.
Still, treating comb bleeding is undemanding. Here are some ways that can help you care for it after treatment:
1. Separate the bleeding chicken from your flock
Usually, because of chickens’ cannibalistic and bullying traits and boredom, it is common for an injured chicken to receive further attacks. If your bleeding chicken continues to be attacked, it may have a worse injury or even die.
A healthy flock may also attack your sick chicken because they do not want to be infected by a disease.
In the temporary chicken coop housing your bleeding chicken, provide enough supply of drinking water and food.
2. Ensure the chicken fully recovers
Avoid rushing to reintroduce your injured chicken to your flock. Other chickens can always identify wounds that have not healed and attack the frail bird.
Only return the bird to be with other birds when the bleeding has stopped and the wound has healed completely.
3. Monitor the bird after reintroduction to a flock
To have a chance of not encountering rejection, the reintroduction of the healed bird should happen at night, during roosting.
Normally, you may witness the birds pecking at each other. However, when the fighting does not end in 1 to 3 hours, then you have an issue at hand.
Because the healed bird is no longer welcome to be part of the flock, either find a new home for it or slaughter it to be eaten.
What happens if an injured chicken comb falls off?
If an injured chicken comb falls off because of injury or disease, it will not grow again. A comb falling off is a rare occurrence in chickens because of the importance of the organ. Instead of falling off, a comb will fall over until it is healthy enough to resume its normal position.
A chicken without a comb may be unable to regulate its body temperature.
The comb helps diffuse some of the body heat during the hot months to keep the bird cool. On the other hand, during cold months, the organ assists in retaining heat, ensuring the chicken is not uncomfortable.
A combless chicken may also lose its authority over other chickens. Generally, birds with bigger combs are more commanding and combative.
Without the organ, it may also be hard to identify the health issue your chicken has since it is a vital indicator. By observing the comb, you can tell if the chicken suffers from worms, heat exhaustion, or other issues. A sign of worm infestation is a comb changing color and or falling over.
And, without the comb, your bird loses its sexual appeal. A mature male bird has a larger organ, and a female bird has a smaller one.
The surrounding area of a chicken coop must not contain predators or things that may scratch the comb. Safeguard your chickens from hawks, large rats, and other pets such as dogs.
Avoid bandaging the wound after treatment when your chicken comb is injured or bleeding. Instead of helping your chicken, a bandage may prolong the healing process. The bird may be uncomfortable, and try to remove the wrapping. However, when the wound or injury is on the leg, you can use a self-adhesive bandage.