How To Remove A Chicken’s Comb


Remove chicken’s comb….really?  Did you ever think you’d be asking, or googling, maybe phone friend, OR private messaging your favorite chicken keeper with that question?!

Well, leave it to us, if anything is going to happen in this magnitude it’s going to happen to us. And of course with my all time favorite hen, Buffette – our surviving hen of coccidiosis.

I can’t tell you how she tore her comb, but I can take a pretty educated guess.  We had put up extra metal poultry fencing around the tractor trailer in order to keep her and the guinea keet she hatched in, trying to protect them from the other birds in our chicken area.  I am assuming she had put her head through the fencing in order to protect her keet and then pulled her head back in, tearing her comb.


I just want it noted that I have one of the most kind hearted husband you will ever come across.  He is generally tough, but when one of the animal’s becomes ill or injured he does everything he can to help nurse them back to health. 

With this occurrence he came in with strick instructions to our children that there’s a lot of blood on one of the hens, but this is part of our life, and we need to be strong and calm in order to keep our Buffette strong and calm. Her comb was torn so bad that it was dangling in front of her eyes, the blood was still slightly flowing, but a majority of the it had begun crusting around the feathers on her head. The sight was not for individuals with a weak stomach or for indecisive chicken keepers; helping her through the shock required us to treat her quickly and efficiently.

It definitely looks worse that it was

Backyard chicken keepers would not generally need to remove a comb.  It has a purpose and leaving it in tack is the best option chicken.  The comb helps to determine the health of a bird, indicates sexual maturity, sexual appeal for mating, and it regulates cooling.  Combs are a mass of meaty flesh with blood vessels running to it, so even the slightest injury can bring quite a bit of blood.

Danny sporting the masculine comb - drawing in the chicks
Danny sporting the masculine comb – drawing in the chicks

With the minor bit of info I had on combs & waddles, along with our well supplied Poultry Medical Kit, we took care of business and fixed her right up.

We grabbed our strongest and sharpest kitchen shears and washed them (we also wiped down her comb where we would be cutting) with Betadine.


I then took a deep breath and snipped off the tore comb as close as I could to where it was still attached.  It was thick, the comb was thick, and for some reason that surprised me.  It felt like cutting I was cutting through flesh, and I was shocked that she didn’t flinch…she did not struggle, did not put up a fight, she did not move, she was perfectly still.  Once the procedure was done I realized I had been holding my breath so, I exhaled – a loud, hard exhale.


We used Vetericyn gel as an antibiotic treatment to treat the area.  

We monitored the area where the comb was torn for a week, cleaning it with the Vetericyn gel every few days.  Since she was still with her guinea keet in the tractor there was no need to protect the injured area from being pecked at by the other hens.  Her recovery was amazing and there were no complications.  We will monitor her closely during the warmer months in order to make sure she is able to monitor her body temperature, but do not foresee any issues considering she had a very small comb to begin with.

She is perfect and looks like a young pullet

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts


    1. We never thought we’d need to know about dubbing as well. When we first started chicken keeping we quickly reviewed it, but it worth saving, and trust me…you can do it if you need it!

  1. Chickens can get themselves into all sorts of predicaments and it’s so helpful to know ahead of time how to deal with possible problems.

    We’ve spent lots of time learning during a crisis with our flock, so it’s great to get first hand information ahead of time, just in case. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I strongly recommend consulting a licensed veterinarian is you have medical emergencies or issues with a pet or livestock animal. This was a surgical procedure that was carried out without adequate pain control or sterility techniques to meet a basic humane standard of care. Although it is clear you were trying to gelp your bird, it is luck that she didn’t have issues with infection, hemorrhage, or other possible complications like tetanus, etc. also, please remove the post as to not continue to promote people performing medical acts on animals without proper training and equipment.

    1. thank you for your comment, but I will not be removing the post. There are many homesteaders that do not have a vet that will handle poultry in the area, and many of us must take the care of our flock in our own hands. If an individual does not know how to remove the come the hen can become seriously injured due to pecking issues brought on by other chicken in the area. A severely torn comb must be removed, and at times it will be in the hands of its owner.

      1. Thanks for not removing the post! We have a homestead and the nearest vet that takes chicken is about 60miles away…so I appreciate your post a lot. We had a similar issue today and followed your post. So far so good. Our chicken didn’t flinch either.

        1. Emergency situations need to be dealt with, and as homesteaders there are times we need to take action into our own hands. A vet is ideal, but if one can’t be found in an emergency then you should take follow through. I’m glad it’s worked out for you, and make sure to keep the area clean. Colloidal silver would work great on that and there are certain essential oils that will help as well!

  3. My rescue hen Betty had a slight tear with lots of blood, I just had to dollop a blob of Sudocreme on it and it eventually healed. (Do you have Sudocreme in the US? It’s an antiseptic thick baby cream for nappy rash, we can’t buy antibiotics from shops in the UK) I’m glad I didn’t have to take the shears approach.

      1. I had no access to antibiotics when a friend gave me her hen to save her from the horrible attack that happened in her coop. Lucky Lucy was the only survivor of 10 racoons and a skunk raid…no one knew that her breast beneath her wing had been gashed open until we discovered it. We didn’t know if she would make it. The local country store and feed shop said to apply raw honey to the wound and keep her separated from our other hens to keep them from picking on her. We did and that was it…and then we waited, re-applying as necessary. The gaping wound healed up and you never would be able to tell she had been wounded at all. Honey was also used on a human injury (a cut that was made deep to the bone of a hand) and it responded the same way- it healed and there was no evidence of a wound. What happens is: honey becomes a natural hydrogen peroxide when it comes in contact with the body’s fluids, it also creates a barrier between the wound and anything that may get into the wound and infect it while still allowing the wound to breathe. It keeps the area moist and disinfected.

        1. I agree about using raw honey! Our pup got ahold of one of our hens, and the same type of injury occurred to her as well. We cleaned it out and applied raw honey & it did wonders to helping her heal quicker!

  4. Perhaps you might want to rename this post as idiots out there might think this is the way to keep chickens, without combs and your post will help them remove them. That is the reason I came here because I wanted to see why on earth you would EVER want to remove a comb.

    Sorry to hear about the injury, also sorry to hear she will be dinner some night — the trust she put in you to heal her will be troublesome when you kill her.

    1. I believe the blog stated that she will not be butchered, but will remain with us. But I wanted to address your last statement. We are a homestead that raises our own meat to feed our family, and not a sanctuary. If a hen is no longer laying she becomes a food source for ourselves or our dogs. But there are a few that will live their lives out with us, but in order to not utilize factory meat we raise our own.

  5. I live in Australia to go to a vet over a chicken can cost as much a $100..aah no thanks. .I have cured chickens with pussy eye, cats with serious stinky fight abscesses and dog season rash and lots more.. I use products like betadine, raw honey, aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar, eucalyptus oil, tee tree oil and lots more… research the Internet is a wealth of gold and bloggers like this farm girl.. I will be doing what she did if the need arises because I learnt from her. Vets service are invaluable but also expensive, chose your battles you might just surprise yourself.

  6. Very interesting. Thank you! I enjoy your posts because they give me an idea of what I might run into in the future as I am just starting out with laying hens. I appreciate your common sense approach to homesteading. You can’t always rush to a vet. They are livestock to provide for the family. That’s what farming is about.

  7. Manuka Honey is much better for treating wounds than regular honey. They sell it at health food stores and Trader Joe’s. One of our dogs occasionally forms cysts that burst. She also has issues with yeast so we only give her antibiotics if we absolutely have to. The Manuka Honey keeps her wounds from becoming infected and they heal much faster. I highly reccomend it for animals and humans.

  8. I had a chicken emergency just like this one. Thank you for your post. It gave me the courage I needed to take care of my hen. She is doing good so far!

  9. We just found one of our girls with a badly torn comb… really similar to your story. One quick snip with the kitchen scissor and the comb was off. The hen did not flinch, or even seem to notice.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. It really helped us understand what needed to be done,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *