Why Do Chickens Have Combs & Wattles? What are They For?
Combs and wattles are fleshy protuberances located on chickens’ heads and necks. The comb is the larger, often brightly colored structure on top of the chicken’s head, while the wattle is a smaller, reddish piece of skin that hangs beneath the chicken’s chin.
Combs and wattles serve several important functions for chickens. Firstly, they play a role in regulating the bird’s body temperature. Chickens don’t sweat, so they rely on their combs and wattles to help dissipate heat from their bodies. The blood vessels in these structures expand and contract to help regulate the bird’s internal temperature.
Secondly, combs and wattles can also play a role in attracting mates. In many breeds of chickens, the size and color of a rooster’s comb is a sign of his health and vitality, making him more attractive to potential mates.
Lastly, combs and wattles can also be used to signal social status and dominance within a flock. In some breeds, chickens with larger and more ornate combs may be seen as more dominant and may be more likely to lead the flock or have access to the best food and resources.
While combs and wattles may seem like just an interesting physical characteristic of chickens, they actually serve important functions in regulating body temperature, attracting mates, and signaling social status within a flock.
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Both male and female chickens have fleshy growths at the tops of their heads called combs. Wattles are two oblong fleshy growths that hang below their chin. But what are they for? Continue Reading
Both male and female chickens have fleshy growths at the tops of their heads called combs. Wattles are two oblong fleshy growths that hang below their chin.
What are They For?
They both have a very important function. Scientists suggest that blood is circulated between the comb and wattles to help keep the chicken cool in hot weather. This gives the comb its deep red color and allows the blood to be cooled by the air before traveling through the bird’s body.
In winter, however, the comb is prone to frostbite in some breeds. But, little Vaseline on the comb and wattles will protect them from harm.
Another important function of the comb is to help attract a mate. A large bright comb is a sign of health and vitality. The rooster is at the top of the pecking order and his comb is larger and brighter than a hen’s. But, even among hens, the brightness and size of a comb often decides who is boss.
Chicks will begin to grow a comb within the first few weeks of their life. The comb also indicates maturity in females or pullets. When it reaches a bright red, the pullet is usually at her point of lay.
Combs vary in size, shape, and color based on sex, age, and breed of a chicken.
7 Most Common Combs: