Chicken Comb Turning Black In Summer, (4 Reasons Why + What To Do

Chicken combs are usually bright red, stand straight, and are an indicator of a bird’s health. If your bird’s comb is turning black then you’re right to be worried. This article looks into why your chicken’s comb is turning black in summer.  

Your chicken’s comb may be turning black during the summer because of dehydration, heart failure, or pox.

Chicken comb turning black in summer

Many know chickens to have red combs but these birds may also have purple or black combs depending on their breed. 

However, if your chicken has always had a red or purple comb, and its comb is suddenly turning black, reasons for this may be:


If your bird’s comb is injured, the injury may develop into a small spot on the bird’s comb. Your bird may have been injured by another bird, may have scraped something, or may have accidentally been pecked by another bird. 

What to do

If the whole comb isn’t turning black, and only the affected area is black, then you don’t have to worry or do anything, the bird’s injury will usually heal on its own. You can apply some Neosporin to treat the wound if necessary

Breathing issues:

If your bird’s comb is suddenly turning black then the bird may have breathing issues or poor circulation. In some cases, the change in comb color that you see may mean that your bird is having a stroke. 

What to do:

Check if anything is stuck in your chicken’s throat blocking its airway, if there seems to be nothing there, and the birds comb is still turning black, then you’d need to get your bird to a vet to be checked as soon as you can, 

Heart failure: 

Chickens can suffer from heart attacks just as humans can, a heart attack can cause the bird’s comb to turn black. Other symptoms of heart failure in chickens include a loss of appetite and lethargy

What to do:

Take your bird to a vet as soon as you can. Birds haven’t evolved to show distress and their black combs may be the only sign that your bird is suffering from heart problems.


While a comb turning black during the winter can mean that your bird has frostbite, a comb turning black during the summer can mean that your bird is dehydrated. Dehydration in chickens is especially prevalent during the summer when it’s very hot outside.

What to do:

Make sure that your birds have access to cold, clean, and freshwater throughout the day, in addition, make sure that your birds are actually drinking the water.

You can also serve your birds foods that contain a lot of water like cucumber or watermelon to rehydrate them and help them cool off. Cut these foods up and make sure they’re served cold. Also, make sure that your bird has access to shade.

What causes black spots on chicken combs: 

If your bird is developing lesions on the non-feathery parts of its body, like the legs, face, and wattle, then the bird may have pox.

A bird suffering from pox will develop lesions that look like pimples or sores on its skin. These will eventually turn into dry, crusty, black scabs as the illness progresses.

Pox is a viral infection that is transmitted from mosquitoes to chickens, it is a very contagious illness that can infect your whole flock.

It is not contagious to humans, but, humans can spread it through infected shoes, equipment, or clothes after coming into contact with infected birds 

Other symptoms of pox in chickens include lethargy, weight loss, decreased egg production, and a lack of appetite  

How to treat black spots on the chicken comb: 

Unfortunately, you cannot cure pox in chickens but fortunately, this isn’t a fatal disease. It can however last for a long period of time, years even. 

You can serve your bird a mixture made up of one tablespoon of powdered Terramycin to one gallon of water, this will treat and prevent the bacterial infection that can arise with the virus. Serve this mixture for three days

Using sulfur powder and petroleum jelly on the bird’s scabs will help to soothe the scabs. You’d need to make a paste made up of two teaspoons of sulfur to one cup of petroleum jelly, apply this on your bird’s scabs. 

If you can, keeping your mosquito population at a minimum is a must. You can plant or transplant marigolds or mints around your bird’s coop, these plants will keep mosquitoes at bay. 

Making an effort to vaccinate any new birds that you buy is also recommended.

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 Pale and Drooping, How To Tell If A Chick Has Died In The Egg

Chicken Comb Turning Black In Summer, (4 Reasons Why + What To Do
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