5 reasons for black spots on the comb and how to investigate

Being a chicken keeper, my primary duty is to keep my birds healthy. I check them every day to ensure they look active and comfortable. One of the best things about a chicken that I love most is the comb. It’s an important part of their body. And, is an indicator of your chicken’s health condition.

Sometimes, I do notice black spots on the chicken’s comb. Most of the time, people assume that it is a disease. In reality, this isn’t a disease. Black spots on the comb of the rooster are the symptoms of certain diseases in chickens. In this post, you get to know the reasons for chicken comb black spots. 


Reasons for black spots in chicken’s comb

As said, if you notice black spots on the comb, it indicates that your chicken is suffering from a disease. The reasons are many. And, the best way to investigate the matter is to observe them. That way, you can locate the exact reason for the black spots.

So, here are the reasons why the chicken’s comb has black spots. 


1. Fowl Cholera

Considered a highly contagious disease, Fowl Cholera is identified by the purple spots on the chicken’s comb. The symptoms include oral discharge, coughing, diarrhoea, and swollen joints. Other symptoms might include fever, wattle swelling, and loss of appetite.

Sometimes, it can even lead to the death of the chicken.

Cats and swine carry the bacteria causing Fowl Cholera. While big hens and pullets are at risk, the bacteria can cause harm to chickens of any age. Antibiotics such as tetracycline and penicillin are effective against the disease. Also, vaccination can prevent the disease from happening.

Despite precautions and medications, the bacteria can return. That’s because it can stay in the soil for a long time. Using disinfectants can give good results. But you have to keep your poultry away for a few weeks. The bacteria may return when you introduce new birds.


2. Fowl Pox

It is another viral disease common in birds and chickens as well. Fowl Pox spreads slowly and you can identify it by the black spots on the comb. Fowl Pox has two different variants: dry and wet forms. In the dry form, you will notice small lesions on your chicken’s skin leading to black scabs.

In the wet form of Fowl Pox, you will notice breathing difficulties in your chicken. Moreover, you may find plaques in the mouth and upper respiratory tract of the chicken. Preventing chickens from this virus is challenging. 

They get infected through respiratory transfer and skin abrasions. Also, the disease spreads when chickens ingest scabs from the infected ones. Birds and insects such as mosquitoes carry the viruses. 

The slow-moving nature of the virus means that you have to deal with Fowl Pox for a few months. There is no exact treatment for Fowl Pox as of now. To prevent this disease from occurring, vaccination and replacing the chickens out of the flock is the only way. 


3. Avian Influenza 

It is another contagious viral infection in chicken that devastated the poultry industry in the past. However, Avian Influenza rarely affects backyard chickens. But it is something that you need to be aware of. To identify whether your chickens are suffering from this viral infection, look out for the black spots on the comb.

The symptoms of a strong impact by this deadly disease include respiratory problems, dehydration, face swelling, wattles, and black comb. Sometimes, the infected chickens will lay shell-less or soft eggs and discharge blood through the nostrils. 

If you believe that your chicken is suffering from Avian Influenza or notice black spots on the comb of the rooster, call in your vet immediately. 


Other reasons for black spots on the comb

The above-mentioned diseases were the common reasons for chicken comb black spots. Apart from that, other health issues can result in black combs. 


4. Poor health condition

The right way to make sure whether your chicken is in good health is to watch out for the colour of their comb. If a chicken is in poor health, the comb will discolour and shrivel up. This situation arises because of poor blood circulation due to certain reasons.

And, the comb fails to display a vibrant rose or red colour. There might be legitimate reasons why the comb becomes black. So, it is wise to check out your chickens by a specialist in the poultry industry. I know several cases where chickens were either suffering from liver or heart problems. 

When the liver gets damaged, the chicken’s body shuts down after some time. Moreover, if the chicken has heart disease, the first symptom comes in the form of black spots on the comb. So, whenever you notice a black comb, consult with a vet as soon as possible.


5. Frostbite

If you notice your chicken’s comb turning black or purplish, it means they have suffered severe frostbite. It occurs when the fluid inside the cells of the comb freezes. The tips are where it affects most. 

You need to protect your flock and nurse them until they return to full health. However, it is difficult to comment on individual birds. To remain on the safer side, it is wise to seek proper medical advice from an experienced vet. 


Chicken comb turning black is a symptom and not a disease

People assume that their chicken might be suffering from a certain disease when they observe black spots on the comb. Black spots aren’t a disease in chickens. Rather, it is a symptom that your chicken is suffering from severe health issues. 

So, whenever you notice a black comb, visit a good vet for better treatment. Keep in mind that any kind of disease in chickens is curable if you take preventive measures at the right time. 



So, you can tell more about your chicken’s health by looking at their comb. And, there is no need to panic if you find black spots on their comb. All you need to do is to consult a vet and treat the disease at the earliest.