Chicken Comb Pale and Drooping, (6 Reasons Why + What To Do)

A healthy chicken is active, lays eggs, has brightly colored feathers, and a bright comb. Chickens have combs that are red, purple, or black depending on what type of chicken you’re raising.

If your bird’s comb is pale and drooping, this is cause for concern, this article explores why this happens. 

The bird’s comb will change color depending on the animal’s level of activity and mood. Your bird’s comb can turn pale if the bird is laying eggs or has anemia.

Chicken comb pale and drooping

The comb is an organ, it contains blood vessels and can signal good or bad health within your bird.

A change in comb color is a sign that something has changed in your bird, reasons why your bird’s comb is pale and drooping include:

Anemia from lice and mites: 

If your bird’s comb is usually bright red, and has suddenly turned pale, then this can mean lice or mites have infected your bird. These parasites will suck your bird’s blood and cause anemia. A bird with anemia will have a dry, drooping, pale, and flat comb  

What to do: 

Parasites, like lice and mites, will make their way onto your bird at night to feed. They will then leave in the morning and sleep elsewhere while the bird feeds.

If you think your bird has anemia, due to parasites, check the bird’s vent at night and check the nooks and crannies of your bird’s coop during the day. If you find lice or mites, you can use poultry dust (permethrin), to get rid of them. 


Worms are another parasite that can cause birds to develop pale, droopy combs. Intestinal worms will not only make your bird’s comb turn pale, but they will also cause a sudden drop in egg production and cause your bird to produce watery droppings. 

What to do:

Treatment is needed in this case, giving the bird a worm treatment, whether you use natural or commercial solutions, will help. Taking the bird to a vet to confirm that your bird has worms is also recommended. 


Egg laying is quite stressful for chickens, this activity takes a lot out of them. When your bird is ready to lay, its body will move quite a bit of blood from its body to its vent. This will cause the comb to become pale.

Once the bird has laid her egg, the blood will return to the rest of her body, her comb included.

What to do:

There is nothing to do in this situation and nothing to worry about. As long as your bird’s blood returns to her comb after laying then she’ll be fine. If the bird’s blood does not return to the comb then you’d need to have her checked out by a vet. 

Heat exhaustion: 

A bird’s comb works like a radiator, when it’s hot outside, the bird’s comb will release body heat and this will keep the bird cool.  If the birds comb is very pale and drooping, then the bird may be suffering from heat exhaustion 

What to do: 

If it’s a particularly hot day, and you notice that your bird’s comb has changed color and has become pale, offer the bird cold watermelon and cucumber slices to help it cool off.

Also, make sure that the bird has access to cool drinking water and shade 


Chickens molt, they do this quite frequently too. When a chicken is molting, or is about to molt, the comb will turn paler. These birds will build up their nutrient reserves, won’t lay eggs, and will lose color in their combs when molting 

What to do:

There is nothing to do and nothing to worry about in this situation, this is a natural process and these birds instinctively know what to do during a molt. 

Young birds: 

Small and pinkish combs are common in younger and immature birds. If your bird’s hormones have not started surging, and if they aren’t old enough to lay eggs, then its comb will be pink, not red 

What to do:

You don’t have to do anything in this situation, the bird simply needs to grow and mature. The comb will turn red as the bird ages.


In conclusion, your bird’s comb can be pale and drooping whether the bird is healthy or not. This can happen as a result of anemia, worms, molting, heat exhaustion, or egg-laying

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Chicken Swollen Leg Joint, Chicken Feathers Ripped Out, Chicken Comb Turning Black In Summer, How To Tell If A Chick Has Died In The Egg

Chicken Comb Pale and Drooping, (6 Reasons Why + What To Do)
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