Answered by poultry vet Victoria Roberts BVSc MRCVS

Question: One of my hens has black speckles on her comb. Does she have a disease?

Victoria says: The comb of a healthy hen is normally bright red as it has an excellent blood supply (unless the breed is supposed to have a uniformly dark comb e.g. Silkie, Ayam Cermani or Sumatra). The colour of the comb is an easy and quick way of checking health, the least problematic being black speckles as these will be dried blood where her her comb has got scratched and bled and will resolve with time. A pale comb indicates anaemia, which is most likely to involve a mite infestation. A purple comb, which can be intermittent and occur when handling the bird for instance, indicates a circulatory problem which your vet can supply medication for. If the comb is yellow, the hen is unlikely to survive as this will be jaundice, just don’t confuse normal yellow skin with this. White flakes on one or both sides of the comb and face is Favus, a fungus relative of ringworm and can be treated; contact your vet.

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