A chicken’s comb may look different depending on its breed. However, a chicken’s comb should always be monitored, and any significant changes should never be ignored. For instance, your chicken’s comb may suddenly develop white spots.
White spots on chicken comb can signify viral infection like fowl pox or fungal infections like Favus. Dehydration and poor diet can also cause color changes and spots on the comb. While apple cider vinegar can help clear fungal infections, it is advisable to have an avian veterinarian check and advice on what to do.
Color changes on a comb can indicate that the chicken suffers from a disease, infection, or injury. Some chicken breeds have protruded combs, while others have tiny ones.
Breeds with more prominent combs are more susceptible to comb-related issues. However, any chicken breed, irrespective of age, can develop issues with its combs, indicating that something is wrong.
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6 Causes of white spots on a chicken comb + What To Do
Most chicken breeds have red combs, while others may have black or purple ones. When your chicken’s comb turns from its original color to white, it might indicate a problem with your bird. More so, white spots on the comb may be caused by:
Favus is a fungal skin condition caused by Trichophyton megninii, a dermatophyte fungus. This skin condition can affect humans, mammals, and poultry. In poultry, it mainly affects backyard and free-range chickens. It is characterized by lesions developing on the chicken’s non-feathered skin like the wattle, comb, and lower parts of the legs.
After the fungi invade the skin, it causes Favus which starts affecting the skin by forming lesions on the comb. After that, the comb will form white spots that look like someone sprinkled flour over the comb.
Further spreading of the disease will make the white spots scale off and spread to the feathered parts, making the feathers fall off.
Typically, Favus will only affect a few birds within your flock and spread slowly when infected birds contact the healthy ones. The infected birds can also contaminate the chicken coop. Therefore, to prevent this zoonotic fungal disease, you should disinfect the house and remove the infected chickens.
Besides preventing Favus, you can treat the infected chickens by removing the crusts and applying anti-fungal drugs on the infected parts.
Additionally, you can rub the lesions with formaldehyde and Vaseline. Infected chickens can also recover without any treatment, but you should ensure they do not mix with other chickens to prevent spreading.
2. Fowl Pox
Also known as Avian Pox, Fowl Pox is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the chicken. Fowl Pox comes in two forms; the dry and wet variants. During the first stages of this infection, the chicken’s non-feathered parts, such as the chicken comb, start to form white spots.
These white spots turn into nodules and slowly develop into black scabs. Besides the white spots, the following are symptoms of fowl pox:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased egg production
To prevent Fowl Pox, you should ensure that all chickens you add to the flock are vaccinated against Fowl Pox. Once this disease affects your chickens, it’s hard to control since it can be transmitted via skin abrasions, respiratory transfer, or chickens pecking the scabs of infected chickens.
You should quarantine the infected chooks to curb the spread of Fowl Pox since there is no cure for this infection.
Frostbite is a condition that occurs when chickens are exposed to cold temperatures, making their fluid cells freeze. The cells will lack oxygen and enough blood upon freezing, thus damaging the tissues. If your chicken’s comb has white tips, it may indicate a mild frostbite case.
During the early stages of frostbite, white spots form on the comb and wattles. However, the white tissue will turn black if the infection goes untreated.
The best way to prevent frostbite is by providing warmth in the chicken coops and ensuring that the coop is well-ventilated to prevent cold air from penetrating through cracks.
Molting is a natural process that involves your chicken losing feathers and developing new fluffy feathers. Apart from possible white spots, the chicken’s comb may also turn white.
During molting, the chicken uses most of its energy to develop new feathers and thus may stop laying eggs. Additionally, the comb and wattles may become white and then turn red once the chicken has finished molting.
Chickens are commonly attacked by parasites such as chicken lice and mites. The fungus can also attack the chooks making their combs turn white or develop white spots. Treat your chickens and use antifungal drugs to curb the fungus when this happens.
6. Inadequate oxygen levels
For tissues to retain their typical colors, they need an adequate blood supply and oxygen. When chickens lack enough oxygen, the tissues in the combs will start to turn white. Further lack of oxygen may lead to heart or liver problems.
Ensure the coops are well ventilated, and let the chooks out to free range to promote good health in your flock. The coop should also be dry and the damp beddings removed to reduce ammonia gas in the coop.
7. Dehydration and stress
Chickens require a lot of water to regulate their body temperatures. Lack of water will cause dehydration which may promote frostbite. Stressed chickens may also develop white spots on their combs. Chickens may be stressed by harsh climate conditions, injuries, diseases, or diet changes.
Preventing white spots on a chicken comb
You should start by improving the hygiene of your coop to combat fungus and parasites. Secondly, provide the chickens with adequate quality and nutritious feeds to minimize the risks of diseases.
The birds should also have adequate clean water to dehydrate their bodies. You can put vitamins and electrolytes into the water to further improve the health of your flock.
The chicken coop should be free of predators and stressors that may cause the whitening of chicken combs. Further, it should be well-ventilated, warm, and free of damp bedding that increases ammonia gas and deprives oxygen levels.
Lastly, always have an avian vet regularly examine your chickens and advise you on the best chicken rearing practices.
Are you aware that chicken combs can communicate a lot about your chicken? Besides making your rooster stand out and hens beautiful, chicken combs serve several other purposes. They aid in controlling the body temperatures of your chicken and can indicate the chicken’s health status.