What eats away a roosters comb

by Jill

I have a rooster that has a comb that looks like it is dying and shriveling up. Is this a parasite problem? Most of the chickens have feather lose on their backs only. They are just a year old and it is the middle of summer, Molting should not be a factor at this point. Thanks Jill

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Rooster Comb Loss
by: sharon

Hi Jill.

Sorry to read about your rooster. Often, when we get questions, we just have more questions for you to help us answer.

Frost bite is one of the most common issues causing comb loss, especially with tall straight combs. The death of the tips of the comb can happen during cold snaps, but it can take a while for the tips to dry out and fall off.

Do you have more than one rooster? Rooster squabbles can include comb damage. Even an agressive and dominant hen can cause damage to a rooster's comb.

Insect & parasite bites can cause irritations, causing a rooster to scratch at his own comb, possibly causing more damage than the bites. These bites could be from flies, mosquitoes, poultry lice or mites.

Fly strike can be a problem on rooster combs, especially in hot weather. Biting flies land on animals and obtain a blood meal, almost like a mosquito. The skin surface is broken with a sharp bite, causing small capillaries to be opened. Once opened, these spots will attract other flies, adding to the irritation. Fly strike areas can become infected and flies may lay eggs in the wound. Again, a rooster scratching at an irritated spot, can cause more damage.

What to do? I would recommend cleaning the area, especially if you see a wound - broken skin on the comb. You can apply vaseline mixed with lavender oil or other safe and natural essential oil that will repel flies and promote healing. Melaleuca oil is good, but can burn eyes, so be careful.

Hope this helps!

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