Chicken Wattle And Combs Simplified: Curious Rooster Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Chicken Wattle And Combs Simplified: Curious Rooster Facts For Kids

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Combs and wattles are an essential part of a rooster and hen.

Both a rooster and a hen have combs and wattles. Combs are located on top of the head of a rooster and a hen, and wattles dangle below and are good indicators of their health and behavior.

Combs and wattles are essentially made to keep the coolness in chickens, as during the summers, when the temperature is hot, combs and wattles help to keep chickens cool with a proper blood circulation going on in them and that is the reason they look red. They serve as a means for the bird to stay cool. They are red because of the circulation of the blood, so as the blood goes through the comb it is cooled by the air and thus keeps the chicken from overheating.

The combs in roosters tend to grow much larger and also they have more wattle if we compare them to hens. These wattle and combs also play the role of giving the signal of sexual maturity and attraction. One special thing is, that the color of these wattles and combs determine the order of pecking in the whole flock. Whenever you try to introduce any new hen to the flock already in existence, take a note of the vibrant red color of the combs. The body of these birds needs more heat and calcium during winter to maintain good eggshells.

If you have an interest in chickens and want to know more about them? Read here chicken facts and chickens losing feathers.

What are chicken wattles?

Chickens wattles are in the red color and are a meaty growth underneath a chicken's chin. Wattles are flaps of skin that hang either side of a hen's throat starting just behind the beak. Blood circulation from comb to wattles is cooled down and helps to decrease the temperature in the hot weather season. In an egg-laying hen, healthy wattles are somewhat large, glossy, waxy, and soft.

Wattles are fleshy and are a part of a chicken's heat-regulating system. Chickens cannot sweat and so they cool themselves through blood circulation. Combs and wattles are made with veins and capillaries so that the overheated blood can easily pass through them. The blood tends to get cooled when it goes through the blood vessels. And hence, the cold blood decreases the internal temperature of the chicken. This is the reason for the bright red color these chicken's comb and wattle have.

Wattles, being fleshy, provide the way to determine a chicken's health. If the chicken is healthy chicken, it will possess a bright shade of red color of wattles and combs. Chickens who are molting have shrunken and pale wattles which are normal but chickens who might not feel well and have pale and shrunken wattles indicate that they may be suffering from various diseases like hardened skin, scabs, and lesions. Anything strange appearing on the chicken’s wattle might be a sign of a health condition that a vet should examine the bird and proper treatment should be given as the infections may infect the entire flock.

Healthy wattles in the hen are often the sign of eggs production being good quality and they are considered as a positive trait in hens to lay eggs. The color of the wattles of most of the hens is bright red, like that of the breed Rhode Island Red breed. Many varieties of the hen breeds have wattles of different shades of red, they can be either very dark in color, or might be very light in color, just like the rosy pink. If you have a chicken, you should keep a check on the color of the wattle your chicken is having in order to analyze the health of your chicken. The change of color to a pale shade is an indication of the bad health of the chicken.

What are the purposes of a chicken's wattle and comb?

The comb and wattles function in thermoregulation. Blood circulating through the comb and the wattles help the bird lose heat during hot weather. The comb is also used in mate assessment in some poultry species. Dubbing can interfere in the functioning of both the comb and wattles.

The comb is present at the top of a hen’s head. The healthy hens have a more red, glossy, and plump comb. Different breeds in hens possess various types of shapes. The shape can be buttercup or rose, strawberry or walnut, V-shaped or pea. Malays have a strawberry comb. Having a single comb is very common, and sometimes these single combs make up a big fleshy comb on the head of the chicken. The main function of the comb is to keep the hen cool in hot weather as blood circulation keeps the chickens cool. The combs which are small in size are very much important for the hen during the cold winters. The small surface which they have is not prone to frostbite easily. During pecking, the wattles and comb are the first part of the body of a hen when someone tries to peck a hen.

Wattles are present on any one side of the throat of the chicken hanging and are the fleshy flaps hanging like the skin. Wattles are used by cockerels in courting, because the larger wattles look more appealing to hens, having large wattles is considered a good sign of high nutrition value in the cockerels. The body of these birds needs more heat and calcium during winter to maintain good eggshells.

Wattles are also responsible to cool a bird. Blood circulating through the comb and the wattles are cooled and help to decrease the temperature in the hot weather. In an egg-laying hen, healthy wattles are somewhat large, glossy, waxy, and soft. The normal wattle and comb have a bright and rosy red color texture. If you notice that color is changing to a pale shade of pink, this means that the bird might have anemia. This is usually caused by parasites like mites, lice, and fleas. When the chickens have pink wattle and comb, this might also happen because they are molting. The chickens sometimes indulge themselves in big fights among the flock, and this can harm their wattles and combs.

Sometimes chickens can be torn, or fight with each other and can injure their combs and wattles. Swollen combs and wattles may be the result of infection or circulatory problems. If you see that there are signs of any frostbite to the wattles of your laying hens, or any swelling or shrinking in the wattles of your egg-laying hen, it could be a major life-threatening disease. In this situation, you have to contact your nearest vet for diagnosing and determining a good treatment.

Some combs are cushion-like to give a magnificent look

What is another name for wattle?

Some other names by which a wattle gets called are fence, gill, roof, and wall. The many protuberances, particularly fleshy, which appear on the throats and heads of the gallinaceous birds like the wattle, earlobe, or the comb, are altogether known as the caruncles. Combs are really important for the roosters and hens as it tells a lot about them. It is said that the rooster is the one who rules the roost because of its comb which is flung on its head high and a puffed body of large size. The sign of good fertility and attraction is the fleshy red and bright color comb on the head of the chicken. The reason for the change in the colors of the combs from red to pale is the signal of the health-related issues in the chicken.

The body of these birds needs more heat and calcium during winter to maintain good shells of eggs. A chicken breed often displays self-pecking behavior when they realize that some new feathers are coming. The flock of chickens sometimes gets dominated by those chicken breeds who have a very vibrant red-colored comb. Some breeds of chickens even have cushion combs like that of the Chanticleers. Healthy wattles in the hen are often the sign of eggs production of good quality and they are considered as a positive trait in hens to lay eggs. Most wattles of egg-laying hens are bright red, such as in the Rhode Island Red breed.

What chicken breeds have walnut shape combs and small wattle?

The best breed that displays this shape of comb is the Silkie. It is comparatively easy to get to see this kind of shape in a rooster as these Silkie hens do not have a big shape of a comb and hence can sometimes get confused with the walnut type shape.

A large red-colored ‘walnut' is present on the head. This type of comb is present in Silkies and the Orloff's. Only a single breed has a buttercup comb, and that is the Sicilian Buttercup. Breeds with horn comb include Polish, Houdan, and Crevecoeur. Horn combs can be seen on Crevecoeur roosters. Walnut comb encompasses a few types of combs that are irregular, knobby, and resemble the wrinkled outside of a walnut shell. Some kinds of walnut comb include the cushion combs of Chanteclers, the strawberry comb of Malays.

The walnut comb can be called a medium-sized solid comb that has got its name because of the matching characteristic from that of walnut. This walnut comb has been developed genetically from the dominant combs which are the rose comb and the pea combs. A fowl has more tail feathers than a rooster.

These beautiful dark color combs of different shapes and colors add very aesthetic value to the chicken and it looks even more appealing than before. Apart from being a good health indicator, the combs and wattles also are a sign of dominance among the remember so of a flock. They are like a fascinating feature of the flock. You should regularly check whether the comb of your chicken appears pale, as it is a sign of serious health issues in the body of the chicken.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for chicken wattle and combs simplified: curious rooster facts for kids, then why not take a look at can chickens eat green beans, yes, learn here's why it is a must-have, or can chickens lay eggs without a rooster, oh yes, they can, sorry mate?

Written By
Nidhi Sahai

<p>Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.</p>

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