Types of Chicken Combs
The comb: that bright red, funky looking fleshy piece that protrudes from your chickens head. Did you know that there are several different types and each of them have a special name? Believe it or not, the comb actually serves a purpose! In this blog we will review the different comb types and how they can help you determine what breeds will do best on your homestead.
Breeds such as the Rhode Island Red, Leghorn, and Swedish Flower Hen all display a single comb. The single comb stands upright with distinct points at the peak. Chickens are not able to sweat so they will control their body temperature with the help of their wattles and comb. In the summertime or in warm climates, the comb will help reduce the temperature of the bird by diffusing some of the heat back into the air. In the winter, or in cooler climates the comb will do the opposite by preventing the loss of heat. Single Comb breeds are ideal for warmer climates. They can be kept in cooler climates but if you experience freezing temperatures the larger single-comb breeds are more at risk of frostbite.
Looking almost exactly like the nut, the walnut comb is large, round flat and bumpy. Silkies can be found strutting this particular comb type. Due to its size this comb type will also fare well in cold climates and is less likely to be affected by frostbite.
Talk about a statement piece! The V-Comb or Devil’s Horn is exactly that. This comb starts from a base at the top of the beak with two thick horn-like fleshy pieces extending upward forming a V. This is not a common comb-type but it can be found on the equally rare Silver Spangled Appenzeller.
Pea combs start at the base of the beak and extend up toward the top of the chicken’s head. This comb-type sits low on the head and can be distinguished by its three points with the middle point being higher than the other two. Breeds with this comb-type are ideal for cold climates as their risk of frostbite is extremely low. Breeds that display a pea comb are the Brahma, Buckeye, Sumatra, and Ameraucana.
The Strawberry comb is very similar to the rose comb but does not form a point and is not smooth and flat. Closely resembling the texture of a strawberry it is wider towards the front and more narrow towards the back extending to the middle of the skull. You can find breeds such as Malays and Yokohamas adorned with the strawberry comb.
The cushion comb is very similar to the rose comb but is more compact and lacks a point. This comb grows close to the bird’s head and does not extend further than the middle of the skull. The cushion comb is smooth without spikes or indentations. Chanteclers display a cushion comb and are ideal cold-hardy breeds as they are at low risk of suffering from frostbite.
A unique comb-type exclusive to the Sicilian Buttercup chicken breed. Shaped like a crown, the buttercup comb features points from front to back. Starting with a single point at the base of the beak then splitting into two ridges of points forming a crown or cup shape on the top of the head. This particular comb-type does best in warmer climates as the points of the buttercup comb are more prone to frostbite in freezing temperatures.
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What kind of chicken is in the photo for this story?
Thanks for reading the Meyer Hatchery blog, John. The rooster shown here appears to be a White Leghorn whose large single comb has been lost, likely due to injury.
You left out a large category– the Rose Comb –Wyandottes, Dominiques, and Leghorns can be either single comb or rose comb according to the APA ( American Poultry Assoc)
Thanks for reading our blog and for the additional info, Kristine!