Purple comb

by Julia
(Taos, NM)

My rooster is less than a year old- about 4 1/2 months. His comb has just started turning a dark purple towards the back, but he has not started acting weird in any way. Is this normal!?

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by: sharon

Hi Julia,

I wouldn't say a purple color is normal, but there are a few simple things that cause this. A comb that should be red can turn purple when there is loss of blood flow.

Purple can be a normal coloring for his breed or breeds and color genetics. Some breeds do have more of a purple colored comb. Not knowing his breed, I wouldn't know if that's it.

Since you're in NM, this wouldn't be frost bite, so it could be a sign of sunburn. Frost bite and sunburn are both a kind of burn. Damaged comb tissue can turn purple.

If this is burnt tissue there could be some flaking or peeling. Sunburn would effect the outer layers.

Severe comb loss would be more common with frost bite, since combs and tips can freeze solid and die. First they turn purple, then start to dry up, turn black and any dead tissue will eventually fall away.

Treating the comb with pet safe sunscreen might help, if he is prone to sunburn.

If he were sick and suffering from low blood pressure, that too could cause poor circulation in the comb. As long as he's acting normally, I wouldn't worry, but definitely keep an eye on him. With chicken health, unless we can take them to a vet for full exam and tests, we have to watch for specific symptoms and treat those.

If this is sunburn, I hope your chickens have a cool shady place where they can get out of the sun on hot days. Often coops are too hot during the day, so chickens will stay outside.

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