Dubbing a rooster: What you need to know

If you are a breeding fighting cocks or are interested in this type of activity, you have surely heard that birds should be cut off their combs, earlobes, and wattles. This process is called dubbing. Dubbing is not just for gamefowls but is an activity that is carried out for the health of the animal, since sometimes the comb bends and falls into their eyes, causing damage that sometimes causes the loss of eyesight. There are also those who do it for aesthetics. Big combs sometimes are a hindrance to reaching their food.

If you want to know how and when to debar roosters, continue reading this article. Here we will provide you with the information you need to perform this procedure without damaging the health of your birds.

When is the best time to dub a rooster?

The dubbing of the roosters will depend on the type of climate where it is and other factors. For example, those that live in warm lands should remove the comb from 6 months when they are mature and ready to be adults. Roosters in cold climates should be dubbed between 7 and 8 months of age. Otherwise, if it is done before that period of time, the animals can resent and during a fight, they get cowering.

The cut must be made in the afternoon with the “waning moon” since it is considered that during that time the roosters do not have as much blood on the crest. This is possibly due to the fact that at night, due to the lack of light, the roosters bleed less because the wounds are not scratched. Also, as the nights are colder, the arteries contract, helping wounds to clot better.

When not to dub a rooster

Dubbing a rooster that is not for cockfighting is not recommended but there are also reasons why you should do it. Some are as follows:

  • Extremely big combs can bend and hinder their eyesight
  • Damaged combs due to several reasons
  • Combs that hinder the rooster to reach its food

The comb is the pride of the rooster, therefore, it is not recommended to be removed but due to the above reasons, it becomes necessary.

How to dub a rooster

Image credit to Dubbing Stag 101

Before removing the comb, (earlobes, and wattles if necessary), the required materials must be ready, which are the following:

  • Strong sharp scalpel, scissors, or box cutter (depending on your preference)
  • Flour
  • Betadine
  • Ethyl or Isopropyl alcohol
  • Nylon thread (to tie the feet)
  • Large cloth like a towel or a large rag

We recommend that you preferably use the razor, as it is finer and reduces pain when removing the comb.

  1. With the thread, hold or tie the rooster’s feet together in such a way that the animal is completely immobilized and you can have better control during the process.
  1. Wrap the whole body of the rooster except the head. This is to immobilize the whole body especially if you are doing this alone.
  1. Clean the area where the cut is to be done with alcohol. This is to eliminate the bacteria that could infect the wound after you do the cuttings.
  1. The surgery should begin with the lobes of the rooster, which is located in the lower part of the animal’s ears. The lobes are shaped like small bags in which blood is stored. Once the lobe to be cut has been identified and selected, the cut must be held and started from top to bottom, in order to separate it and make the cut easier.
  1. In the event of hemorrhage, press on the wound, sticking the skin again with the removed portion until the blood loss diminishes. Later, we will begin to cut the wattles on the same side, which is located in the lower part of the bird’s beak. For cutting the wattles, the same technique is used as for the earlobes.
  1. Now, to perform the surgery on the other side of the rooster. Do the same process.
  1. As you surely know, the rooster’s comb is located on the top of its head. The cut must be made from the back of the ridge, in order for the cut to come out as straight as possible.  Besides that, it is simpler and more comfortable for you to perform the cut.
  1. Once all cuttings are done, apply the wounds with betadine and warp all open wounds with the flour until the blood stops.

Care after dubbing

After removing the rooster’s comb, earlobes, and wattles, you must put the animal in a clean and disinfected area, free of pests such as flies, cockroaches, etc. It is very important to keep the dubbed rooster away from other roosters to prevent them from fighting, otherwise, the dubbed rooster could suffer some internal bleeding. You should also separate it from the chickens since they could peck it and hurt it even more.

In case there is an infection, it is important that you are prepared and have some type of antibiotic on hand to disinfect. In case you notice pus under the scabs or an ulcer near the cut area, you should apply the antibiotic with the recommended dose that appears on the box. Antibiotics are generally applied twice a week and results should be achieved by the third week until the infection clears.

The scabs last about a month and fall off on their own. Make sure that during this period of time he is not in contact with any chicken or rooster to avoid complications.

Watch this simple video on how to dub a rooster below.

Here in the Philippines, we call it “pag pungos” (Tagalog) or “pag sanggol” (Hiligaynon/Ilonggo). The same process applies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would you dub a rooster?

Dubbing (cutting off combs and wattles) of chickens prevents damage from freezing and fighting. The comb may be removed at one day old, but it is less difficult to remove the wattles if you wait until the birds are 4-6 weeks of age.

What is the purpose of a Roosters wattle?

The coxcomb and the wattle are located on the top and the bottom of your rooster’s head. The comb and the wattle help improve blood flow through the area. Increased blood flow helps the rooster cool his own body down when temperatures start to climb. A discolored comb can be a sign that your rooster is not healthy.

Why is my rooster’s wattle turning black?

Health. A rooster with a discolored, faded, blue, or black wattle is probably an unhealthy rooster. If you notice your rooster’s wattle is turning an unhealthy color, you may want to take him to your poultry veterinarian to have him checked out.

At what age do rooster’s combs turn red?

At 3-6 weeks old, they become mangy and diseased-looking as their fuzzy covering begins to shed and is slowly replaced with mature feathers. Their wattles and combs grow and turn a deeper red.

What does it mean when a chicken’s comb turns blue?

Blue comb can be a symptom in several diseases and usually results from severe blood circulation problems associated with some serious infectious diseases, such as avian influenza, Newcastle disease, Staphylococcus, etc.

Why is my roosters comb flopping over?

The comb is made out of a soft, collagen tissue and usually stands up on the chicken’s head. However, there is a perfectly normal explanation as to why it would flop over. As a bird matures and gets older, and the comb gets bigger and it keeps growing, the weight of it just makes it top over.

What does it mean when a chicken’s comb turns white?

Combs that are pale or shrunken may indicate that something is wrong with your bird. It may mean she is anemic (think lice and mites), is overloaded with worms, has heat exhaustion, or is molting.

Why is my rooster comb purple?

What is this? A purplish comb signals a lack of oxygen in the blood, poor circulation or respiratory/breathing issues. Your chicken could have something caught in her throat if you notice her comb suddenly turn purple. In extreme cases, it can be the indication of a stroke or heart attack.

Why is my chicken’s comb not red?

A pale but plump comb is likely to mean the hen is healthy but off-lay. An adult hen with a tiny comb may indicate the hen has a serious health issue. Greyish white spots on the comb can be caused by fungal conditions. Nodules on the comb may be a symptom of fowl pox.

Does dubbing hurt a chicken?

The comb is also used in mate assessment in some poultry species. Dubbing would interfere with both these functions of the comb and wattles. In commercial laying hens, those dubbed at hatching exhibit few effects on egg production, but the older the birds are when dubbed, the greater the negative effects of dubbing.

Can you trim a roosters comb?

Chickens can tear combs or wattles in a fight or by accidentally catching them in something. Generally, these parts cannot be repaired and must be trimmed to avoid infection. You can take the bird to a vet, or you can trim combs and wattles yourself.

Will chicken comb grow back?

Can a chicken comb grow back? If a chicken comb falls off or sustains injuries due to an illness or injury, it won’t grow back. Your chicken’s comb can heal from whatever caused it to shrivel up or sustain injuries in the first place.

What do you call the thing on top of a chicken’s head?

A comb is the fleshy, red outgrowth on top of a chicken’s head. Types of combs, shown below, include single, rose, pea, cushion, strawberry, buttercup, and V-shaped. The comb primarily is for display, but it also serves to cool the bird in hot weather. In hens, the comb is an indicator of egg production status.

Do female chickens have combs?

Most hens have combs, but within each breed, cockerels (young males) develop combs earlier than pullets (young females).

What does a healthy chicken comb look like?

A healthy chicken comb is vibrant in color and firm to the touch. However, sometimes their comb can turn a pale pink color. An abnormal-looking comb can indicate that your chicken may have some health issues like mites or lice. There are a variety of reasons why your chicken’s comb might be pale in color.

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