Why Do Chickens Have Different Combs?

Understanding parts of chicken anatomy is very important if you want to raise your chickens in a healthy way and avoid many health problems. It is a great start for you that helps a lot in overcoming many diseases that kill chickens and may be caused mainly by not knowing well the nature of chicken bodies.

Chicken combs do not exist to add some attractiveness and beauty to the chicken only. Rather, they exist in different shapes and types to perform certain functions in chicken, and this is what we will discuss in detail in the coming lines.

Why Do Chickens Have Different Combs?

5 brown chickens looking at you

Because the chicken breeds differ greatly in terms of the environments in which they live, and the functions that they perform chickens, they have different combs. As the comb is like any member of the chicken’s body, the Creator did not put it in vain, but rather it has many functions. The most important of which is regulating the temperature of the chicken.

Therefore, its shape varies according to its functions and the environment of the chicken in which it lives. The color and size of the comb also differ from one breed to another.

As you may find purple chicken combs in some breeds, while the color of the comb is often red in most chicken breeds. Also, in one species of chicken, we find a difference between the comb of male and female chickens.

Roosters develop faster and larger combs than hens, the comb is usually larger in males in most chicken breeds. Also, in some strains, small chickens come with pink combs.

Why Are Some Chicken Combs Bigger Than Others?

This is where the chickens that live in hot places need a comb of a larger size than the chickens that live in cold places. The main task of combing is to reduce the chicken’s body temperature when the air temperature around it rises.

What Is The Importance Of Chicken Comb?

We already mentioned it briefly in the previous lines, but now, let’s get into some serious details:

Keeping The Chicken Cool

The main function of the comb is to keep the chicken cool. Since we humans have sweat glands by which the body can lower its temperature through sweating. Thus, chickens also have a comb with the same function of the sweat glands in humans. When their bodies temperature gets higher, chicken cool their bodies by pumping blood to the comb to cool. This is because the comb protrudes from the chicken’s head, which is the highest part of it. so its temperature is always lower than the temperature of the rest of the chicken’s body, therefore when the blood goes to the cold comb, it also cools.

Indicators Of Chicken Behavior

The chicken comb gives an overview of the chicken’s condition with the rest of the flock. The chicken with the largest comb are usually at the top of the pecking behavior. The comb of caged chickens is usually large and pale, due to the high temperature in the cages as a result of space constraints and crowding. So the comb works to cool the chicken’s heat. But when you take the chicken out into a large henyard, its comb shrinks and becomes a vibrant red.

Indicator Of Chicken Health

Chicken combs give you an idea of ​​their health. If the comb is full and its color is light red in the usual degree and not dark red, then this indicates that it is in good health. On the other side A pale, dry, shrunken, and scaly comb is an indication that the chicken has health problems.

A comb with a blue or deep purple color or dark tips is a sign of a circulatory problem in the chicken.

The presence of grayish-white spots on the comb indicates a fungal infection.

Also, the nodules that appear on the comb indicate that your chickens have had fowl pox.

The size of the comb also indicates the health condition of the chicken, as the swollen comb is a sign of infection or another health problem, and the small comb in adult chickens is a sign of health problems in the growth of the chicken.

The Sexual Attraction Between The Chickens

The comb also has a role in sexual attraction between chickens. Whereas, female chickens are more attracted to males that have a large and lively comb because it is evidence that this rooster is in good health, which makes chicken girls more attracted to him.

In general, a healthy red comb is an indication that the chickens are ready to mate, whether male or female.

The Most Common Types Of Chicken Combs

There are a wide variety of types of Chicken Combs, let’s talk about the most common types:

Single Combs

The single comb is the most common type of comb and is often the image that comes to your mind when you think of chicken.

The single comb is a thin piece of soft flesh held tightly by the beak. It sits atop the skull in a single row of barbed fingers (five or six deep serrations) that protrude from the blade. The Single comb is often straighter, larger, and much thicker in cocks. Among the most famous breeds with single combs are Leghorns, Rhode Island, Red, and Minorcas.

Rose Comb

It is found in such strains as Wyandottes, Leghorns, and Hamburgs. The rose comb is distinguished by its broad, solid appearance.

Strawberry Combs

It is called Strawberry due to its strawberry-like shape and texture. It is in the form of a low part located in front of the skull and protruding from the top of the beak. Strawberry comb is found in breeds such as Malay, and Yokohama.

Cushion Combs

It is in the form of a low part on the head, small and compact. Its texture is completely smooth without serrations. It does not cover more than the middle of the skull. It is found in the Chanteclers subspecies.

Buttercup Combs

The comb of the buttercup is bowl-shaped just above the center of the skull. Its appearance is similar to two single Combs sitting side by side on the skull. It is found in one strain called Sicilian Buttercup. [1]

Pea Combs

It is somewhat similar to the cushion and the strawberry comb. It differs from them in that it is of medium length and sits low on the skull with three edges extending longitudinally in the upper part.

There are pea combs: Brahmas, Ameraucanas, Sumatran.

V-Shaped Combs

It consists of two thick, horn-like points that extend vertically from the left and right sides of the skull. Breeds with V-shaped combs: Sultans, Crevecoeurs, Appenzellers. 

Walnut Comb

It is a firm comb of medium size, and it is called by this name because its appearance resembles a walnut shell. The Breeds with nut combs are Silkies, Orloffs.

Having knowledge about the chickens you raise is essential and will protect your flock from many health problems when taking the necessary precautions about them.


Do female chickens have combs?

Yes, the comb is present in both sexes, but its shape is different in males than in females.

When do chicken combs grow?

All chicks at birth contain small combs, and when they start puberty and sex hormones work, the combs begin to grow. Testosterone leads to a more noticeable comb appearance in cocks and estrogen in hens gives them a smaller version of the combs.

Can you tell a rooster by its comb?

Most of the time it can tell the rooster, as the comb is larger, brighter and more pronounced in roosters than pollutes.

However, it is not possible to rely on the shape of the comb only in determining the sex of the chicken. As the matter may differ in some cases, the chickens may have a large comb, such as roosters, or vice versa.

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Doaa Salah
The shy one (too shy to put her photo) and the only girl in our team! Doaa is a veterinarian who is passionate about writing content. She knows a lot about animals and birds, as she has been studying them for many years now. Her goal? She is researching and learning to convey to you all the knowledge she have and what's new about farming.