What are Combs & Wattles for?

On most chickens, there is ‘comb’ adorning the top of a chicken’s head and a pair of flaps hanging loosely from the underside of the bottom half of the bird’s beak called the ‘wattles’. If you look at a rooster with those big, floppy growths on his face, You just might wonder, ‘Why are those there?’

Why they are there:

Well, to begin with, chickens originated in warm, humid climates. Similar to an Elephant’s ears, it is speculated by bird biologists that the comb and set of wattles adorning the chicken’s head allows the blood to come in close proximity of the air, thus reducing the bird’s body temperature… Combs are also quite eye-catching and not only do they aid in attracting a mate, but a big comb and a long pair of wattles can make the cock look bigger than he is. This would intimidate rivals.

Some Chickens Don’t Have Wattles!

Many bearded chicken breeds have very small wattles, if any at all. Many different chickens come in bearded varieties, such as Crevcouers, Polishes, FaverollesEaster Eggers and Silkies. However, in spite of the varying sizes, I do not know of any chickens that have different wattle variations.

There are many different types of combs. Some are striking and unique while others, you might recognize. However, even chickens that have the same varieties combs are not necessarily the exact same.

Here are some common varieties of combs that a chicken can have:

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