One of my hens comb has turned to a pale pink. All the other hens still have a vibrant red comb. Help! What do I need to do to help her?


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by: Sharon

We get this question a lot. The main reason this is happening is that for some reason, her blood flow/blood pressure isn't what it should be. That is why a red comb would turn pale.

There are many things that could cause this. She could have internal or external parasites depleting her blood supply or she could have some other illness. You should examine her whole body for signs of being under weight, injuries, signs of being egg bound or parasites.

If she were mine I would isolate her away from the flock for her protection & the protection of the flock, in case she has something contagious. She needs to be kept warm, offering her a heat lamp in one end of her cage or pen, where it is draft free. Make sure she has food and water close and check to see if she is eating, drinking and check her droppings for signs of diarrhea.

You haven't said how old she is, what breed, or if there are any other signs of problems. Is she laying?

It's best not to flood an ill chicken with medications when you don't know what's wrong. The best thing to do is establish the basics, and monitor.

If she is eating and drinking and passing droppings, the basics are good. If she responds well to having a heat lamp, in a few hours, her blood flow should get better & her comb look more normal - IF there is nothing else seriously wrong.

If there are no other signs of illness, she eats and drinks and passes droppings, it should be safe to deworm her.

Giving antibiotics shouldn't be done unless there is a sign of infection - but antibiotics are often given as a cure-all. Oral antibiotics can cause digestive problems in chickens and can make them weak or less well.

Often a veterinary exam can come up with no specific diagnosis, but should be considered. Without extensive testing, which is expensive, it can be impossible to diagnose a chicken illness. And sometimes even with testing, there is no conclusive answer for the cause. Most people don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on one chicken.

I prefer to isolate, support, monitor, and address specific problems seen.

Wish I could tell you more, but only knowing that her comb has turned pink, wouldn't be enough to recommend a specific medication, cause or treatment. It's good flock management that you noticed her comb, so just continue to try to help her.

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