Incubation and Embryology - University of Illinois


Chickens all have a comb. It is the fleshy protuberance on top of the head of a fowl. The protuberance is larger on the male than female. There are various forms of combs in different breeds. The combs are usually red in color, however, they are purple in Sumatras, Birchen and Brown Red Modern Games and Silkies and purplish-red in Sebrights.

Take a few minutes to learn to identify the various combs that are found on the various breeds and varieties of chickens.

The Buttercup  consists of a single leader from base of beak to a cup-shaped crown set firmly on the center of the skull and completely surmounted by a circle of regular points. The cavity within the circle of points should be deep, the texture of the comb should be fine.

The Cushion  is a solid low, moderately small comb; smooth on top, the front, rear and sides are nearly straight with rounded corners. It has no spikes.

The Pea is a medium length, low comb, the top of which is marked with three low lengthwise ridges, the center one is slightly higher that the outer ones. The outer ones are either undulated or marked with small rounded serrations. This is a breed characteristic that is found in Brahmas, Buckeyes, Cornish, Cubalayas and Sumatras.

The Rose is a solid, broad, nearly flat on top, low, fleshly comb that terminates in a well-developed tapering spike. It may turn upward as in Hamburgs, be nearly horizontal as in Rose Comb Leghorns, or follow the contour of the head as in Wyandottes. The top surface of the main part should be slightly convex and studded with small rounded protuberances. The general shape varies in the different breeds.

The Silkis is an almost round, somewhat lumpy comb, inclined to be greater in width than length; covered with small corrugations on top and crossed with a narrow transverse indentation slightly to the front of the comb. Sometimes two or three small rear points are hidden by a crest, others are without points. Generally they are considered to be genetically a rose comb changed by a rose comb plus crest.The

Single comb is a moderately thin, fleshy formation of smooth soft surface texture, firmly attached from the beak along the top of the skull with a strong base. The top portion shows five or six rather deep serrations or distinct points, the middle points being higher than the anterior or posterior, forming a semi-oval when viewed from the side. The comb is always erect and much larger and thicker in males than in females; may be lopped or erect in the female. This depends on the breed. The comb is divided into three sections: the front or anterior, the middle and that extending past the rear base of the skull, the posterior or blade.

The Strawberry is a low comb that is set well-forward. The shape and surface resemble the outer part of half a strawberry with a large end nearest the beak of the chicken.

The V-Shaped comb is formed of two well defined horn like sections that are joined at their base, as in Houdans, Polish, Crevecoeurs, LeFleche and Sultans.



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