Author Topic: Minimal or No Comb  (Read 455 times)

Dawnalysce Clifford

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Minimal or No Comb
« on: June 01, 2017, 10:52:59 AM »
I've done some searching and asking, but haven't found much information on Ameraucanas with little to no combs.  Over the years hens with no discernible comb have cropped up in my flock.  In the last few years this trait has become fairly common, especially among my silver and silver splash birds.  Last year I got my first rooster with a minimal comb.  It is a pea comb. This rooster, who is one year old, has what I think of as a vulture face.  Barely any comb, tiny remnant wattles and a full red face.  Looks weird to me.  His strain of silver splash ( from breeding a nice silver roo with black hens) has roosters that mature more slowly than plain silvers, and reach quite a large size, bigger than the average Ameraucana.  They are very docile. Not sure if I've ever heard this rooster crow, although he does dance for the hens he likes and has a couple sons (with tiny combs) produced this Jan.
Does anyone know what leads to this absence of comb?  Is it good?  Bad?  Since pea combs are incomplete dominant, is this lack of comb a function of the pea gene or the lack of a comb gene entirely?  When I say the hens have no comb, that is what I see.  Just smooth skin over bone, no swelling whatsoever, no tiny beads or lumps.  Their heads also look vulture-ish to me with no wattles and lots of facial skin with little feathering.
Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!  Dawn

Mike Gilbert

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 12:09:31 PM »
 
To me it seems obvious you are seeing some kind of genetic anomaly.   I would start culling a whole lot harder.   The rooster is crow-headed and would not have made it past the 8-week mark here.   I'm also not seeing any muffs on him, though they could be picked out.    The more common problem in males is oversized combs, and you need hens with extra small combs to produce them with any regularity. 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 12:11:44 PM by Mike Gilbert »
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Dawnalysce Clifford

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2017, 12:17:35 PM »
Thanks Mike, yes, this rooster is plain headed.  Unfortunately, he and unrelated hatch mate brother are all I have after a weasel attack.  This rooster is not a good breeder, although I believe he has some babies.  Does crow headed mean no feathers on the face or no comb?  I've seen the term but do not know what it means.

Dawnalysce Clifford

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2017, 02:19:15 PM »
I believe this one is his son, hatched this Jan.  He has muffs and beard, a silver splash coloration from crossing silver with black (due to fox attack.)  Negligible comb.  From what I've found, crow headed means longer, higher, more narrow rather than broader and flatter.  So what's with the lack of comb? 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 02:26:51 PM by Dawnalysce Clifford »

John W Blehm

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2017, 02:28:27 PM »
The more common problem in males is oversized combs, and you need hens with extra small combs to produce them with any regularity.

Ditto to what Mike said about oversized combs being a more common problem...especially with bantam silvers.  I'm assuming yours are large fowl and wouldn't be concerned with very small combs as long as there are 3 distinct ridges.

Dawnalysce Clifford

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 02:32:03 PM »
Thanks John, yes, LF.  Most of my birds have combs and all are pea.  I'm just really curious about this lack of comb in some of my birds, what sort of genetics are at play and whether I should breed it at all or not use comb-less birds?

Mike Gilbert

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 03:25:49 PM »
Thanks John, yes, LF.  Most of my birds have combs and all are pea.  I'm just really curious about this lack of comb in some of my birds, what sort of genetics are at play and whether I should breed it at all or not use comb-less birds?

I don't see this as much different than breeding out any other undesirable trait.   You don't indiscriminately breed from birds with the defect, and you cull their parents as well, assuming they did not show the defect.   If it is recessive trait, as it usually is, you might want to keep one bird with the defect of each gender to test mate your other breeders.   Doing that will identify those that are carriers and those that are not.   Get rid of all that are, and get rid of all the chicks from the test matings, as they also will be carriers.    It's an arduous process, and most folks would probably opt to cull them all and order chicks from another source. 
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Dawnalysce Clifford

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 03:33:51 PM »
Thanks Mike. I've been breeding Ameraucanas for about 25 years.  Was wondering if anyone knew anything about this comb-less trait since it is something I never saw before a few years ago.  Not sure if it is good or bad.  The bird would tend to look more-as you say-crow headed since there is no comb there to help fill in the face.  Over the past 10 years or so I have been working on reducing the size of my birds' pea combs.  Selectively breeding the smallest possible.  I wonder if this lack of a comb is somehow associated with the pea comb gene?

John W Blehm

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 03:45:04 PM »
I don't see a lack or absence of a comb in the photos...just a small one and I prefer that to a "standard" or large one.  If you are into exhibiting, keep in mind combs don't count for much.

Dawnalysce Clifford

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 03:52:39 PM »
Thanks John, yes, this roo has a small comb.  Some of my hens have no combs.  Not even a trace.  No, I don't like to exhibit.  Just wanted to get a small, neat pea comb.  Not no comb at all!

Sue

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Re: Minimal or No Comb
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2017, 01:16:22 AM »
From what I've found, crow-headed means longer, higher, more narrow rather than broader and flatter.  So what's with the lack of comb? 
Crow headed is an overall sharper head.  I do not see higher go with that, typically is a lower dome, but you could get a higher dome as the dome does not matter.  What matters is the angles.  The head is not full but pinched with a pointy beak -- not as the std says short and "stout." 
As for combs.  No comb can work for hens but I've never seen a no or flat combed male win except in small venues.  YMMV.