Black marks on wattle and comb

Birdwithoutwings

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Hello, I wonder if anyone can help me. My 2 chickens (not the cockerel) have both developed black marks on their wattle and comb. It looks quite scabby. I can't tell if it's fowlpox or dirt! They've recently moved to a new area in the orchard with a lot more space. Photos attached. They are both well and seem happy DSC_2496_2.jpgand no other symptoms.DSC_2495.jpg
 

LadyA

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They look like commercial type hybrids? So I'm fairly sure they would have been vaccinated against fowl pox. Would it be damage from the Cockerell? Or rummaging around in brambles or something?

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bigyetiman

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A couple of mine have small black marks on their combs, simply from scrabbling about under hedging. They look healthy so i don't think it is fowlpox, and as LadyA said they would have been vaccinated against it
 

Birdwithoutwings

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Thanks for your replies. Yes you might be right, the cockerel is quite amorous! And lots of foraging in brambles. No I don't think they've been vaccinated as they were hatched by a neighbour. Is that something I should look into?
 

Marigold

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If they weren’t vaccinated as chicks and growers, it’s too late now, I’m afraid. Chicks hatched and raised commercially in very large batches will be given a spaced-out series of vaccinations at appropriate ages, up to the point of sale at 16 weeks, but the vaccines are expensive for small-scale growers as they come in doses for 1,000 birds at once. Whilst it’s lovely for people to be able to raise their own chicks, it does come with some inevitable problems, not only what to do with the unwanted cockerels, but the possibility of spreading diseases such as bronchitis and Mareks disease to any flocks the young birds may be passed on to.
I hope and expect the black marks on your hens’ combs are, as suggested, basically just wear and tear, which will heal up if you can cut back the brambles and keep an eye on the activities of the cockerel. If he is unaffected, it looks very possible that he is contributing to the problem, or causing it. Two wives is not very many when it comes to sharing his energies!
Anyway, it’s lovely to have you on here, welcome to the Forum! Do please let us know how they get on. You may not have found the main Poultrykeeper site, which is a mine of information and very helpful about all sorts of problems. See
https://poultrykeeper.com/
 

chrismahon

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Looks like inexperienced cockerel damage to me- that's congealed blood. They are supposed to lightly grip the comb, but with an uncooperative hen and an inexperienced cockerel he is likely to grab them anywhere to keep them still. Sure they will calm down as he will, so unless you have life threatening injuries just leave them be.
 

Birdwithoutwings

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Thank you all. Very informative. Yes he's a young cockerel. I did wonder if perhaps just 2 hens and 1 cockerel was a bit unbalanced. I was hoping they would get broody and we would have more but I guess broodiness has been bred out of them. The marks do seem to be disappearing now. They have a large orchard to roam around in and otherwise seem very contented.
 

bigyetiman

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That's good, hopefully all will be calm and contented, always helps when they have a large area to roam in
 
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