PALE COMBS

by JY

Question

WE HAVE A RED PRODUCER HEN THAT IS LOOKING AWFUL. VERY PALE COMBS, DULL FEATHERS THAT ARE sparse.

SHE SEEMS ALRIGHT IN EVERY OTHER WAY. THE OTHER 11 HENS SEEM TO BE FINE. WE DO HAVE ONE (DON'T KNOW WHICH ONE) IS LAYING VERY LARGE ROUGH SHELLED EGGS, COULD IT BE THE SAME ONE BECOMING DEFICIENT? WHAT CAN WE DO?

Answer
This sounds like an older hen? I recently read a very detailed scientific article on egg quality and egg production and there are many reasons this could be happening with your hen.

Based on your over all description of her, she sounds like she needs nutritional support beyond what she is getting.

Often the weakest in your flock will tell you there’s a problem, and it’s usually nutritional, but sometimes environmental.

To form a perfectly smooth egg requires a good vitamin, mineral, protein, fiber, plant material and carbohydrate balanced diet; and of course plenty of good water, since an egg is mostly water.

The roughness of her eggs could be due to them moving more slowly through the oviduct. Sometimes there is stress to the hen that causes this.

There are some diseases that cause hens to have poorly formed eggs, but I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions at this point. Poor feathering can be a result of other chickens picking on her.

Sometimes hens need more protein and will eat feathers. They are mostly made of protein and can be digested by chickens.

It sounds like you might need to look into a better quality feed and supplement with calcium for laying hens.

Vitamins are an inexpensive investment in your flock, especially during winter months when fresh forage is at its lowest value.

Her pale comb could be the result of blood sucking parasites causing her to be anemic, or she could be iron deficient due to dietary problems.

The poor feathering could be a result of protein and calcium/mineral deficiency.

I would highly recommend observing this flock, and see if they are picking on her. Not sure where you are located, but here winter is nearly over.

If cold where you are, she is a strong chicken to have made it through with poor feathering. I believe if you upgrade the nutrition for your whole flock you will notice her improve and no others ending up looking like her.

Getting blood or stool samples checked at the vet is really the only way to know if this is something contagious.

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Try Basil or sage
by: Anonymous

Vitamin K deficiency can also cause this, try adding dried Basil or dried Sage to their feed. I ferment my feed so this is very easy to do... if you don't ferment the feed just add water to the feed along with the spice and mix it up well... in just one day my flocks combs turned red! Amazing!

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