Have you ever wondered what is that on top of the head of the chickens? Well, you are not the only one. That ‘thing’ is called a comb. There are different types of chicken combs; Single comb, Rose comb, Pea comb, Walnut … But, let’s see what is a chicken comb, before discussing more about the chicken comb types and how many types there are.
What is a Chicken Comb?
Chicken comb is a fleshy growth or crest on the top of the head of the domestic chickens. But also on other birds such as turkeys and pheasants.
Its alternative name is cockscomb and most chicken breeds have bright red combs.
When you see a chicken, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it its comical waddle or its scraggly feathers? Maybe it’s the way they make a funny clucking sound.
But have you ever stopped to wonder about their comb and what’s so special about this?
It may not be as obvious as some features of a chicken, but there is something special about this small little cone on top of their head.
The chicken’s comb is made up of rows and rows of tiny feathers that are stacked on top of each other to form an adorable little cone shape. But why does this matter for chickens?
It’s not just a cute accessory, though! The comb is actually used by chickens to cool themselves off during hot days or when they’re feeling stressed out.
When it gets too warm for them, they’ll spread their wings and flap them vigorously in order to create a breeze with their body heat – which will help keep the temperature down!
Chicken Comb Types
The single comb, rose comb, pea comb, and walnut are just a few of the numerous chicken comb types. It’s worth noting that there isn’t complete agreement on how many different chicken comb varieties exist.
As said earlier, there is no official information on how many chicken comb types exist, however unofficially there are 9 comb types:
- Single Comb
- Walnut Comb
- ‘V’ Comb
- Pea Comb
Chicken Comb Types – Differences
1. Single Comb
The Single Comb type, appears on the top of a chicken’s head starting at the beak and extending back over the crown to end in a blade at the rear. It has a zigzag form on top, starting with smaller zigzags at the front and back.
Even though there are different types of chicken combs, the single comb type is the most common.
There are many chicken breeds that have single comb type like: Rhode Island Red, Leghorn, Sussex, Jersey Giant chicken, Orpington, Java chicken and many more.
The cock’s single comb stands straight up and is larger and thicker than a hen’s, which may be either erect or flopping over to one side.
2. Pea Comb
The Pea Comb has three parallel ridges, that look like they are three separate small single combs joined together. The Pea Comb can be best seen on the head of a well-bred Brahma chicken.
Other chicken breeds that have Pea Comb type are Ameraucana, Araucana and many more.
3. ‘V’ Comb
The ‘V’ comb is characteristic by having two separate horns starting from a single bottom.
Chicken breeds with V-Comb type are Houdian, La Fleche, Polish chicken, Sultan, Crevecoeur chicken and others.
The rose comb is wide and flat. Sometimes it may be slightly convex at the middle top and is covered with small, round bumps.
Wyandottes are characterized by having a rose comb that follow the head’s contour at the rear. In the other rose comb breeds the comb will end in a spike.
Some people are saying that all the chickens that have rose comb type have low fertility.
Chickens that have rose comb are Wyandotte chicken, Rhode Island Red (there are varieties with single and rose as well), Hamburg chicken, Nankin bantam etc.
The Walnut comb type is like a circle that is bigger in width than in length. It looks like half a walnut, thus its name. The Silkie chicken is probably the most famous breed in the world having the Walnut comb type.
Other breeds having Walnut comb are the Yokohama chicken and the Orloff chicken.
6. Strawberry Comb
The Strawberry comb is low and compact with a rough surface, in the middle of the top of the chicken’s skull reminds of a strawberry.
The Malay chicken is the most famous breed that is known for having a Strawberry comb type.
7. Carnation comb
The Carnation comb reminds a lot to the single comb especially at the front.
However this comb has an appearance of a crown at the back. The Carnation comb is unique to the Empordanesa and Penedesenca chickens originating in Spain’s Catalan region.
8. Buttercup Comb
The Sicilian Buttercup chicken is maybe the only breed that have the Buttercup comb.
The Buttercup Comb consists of a single sward at the front then it continues to form a closed crown on top of the head. It somewhat resembles a teacup with serrated edges.
9. Cushion Comb
The Cushion comb is a small, solid and compact comb that do not extends to the back of the head. The Cushion comb type is characteristic for the Chantecler chickens.