Is it possible to die from molt?


12 Years
Nov 14, 2009
Boyers, Pa
Is it possible for a rooster to die from molting?

My roo was perfectly fine until he started to molt. He followed the molt pattern of feather loss. He didn't seem to want to eat much after a few weeks, I thought maybe something was wrong so I treated him with antibiotics. He seemed a little better for a few days, then he started to get lethargic. He would walk around just fine, but if someone grabbed for the piece of food I gave him...he'd let them take it and he'd walk away. He was always nice to his girls, but he seemed timid lately. He hasn't been getting on the roost at night, so every night I lift him up and put him under the heatlamp. He stays there till morning. This morning he was dead under the roost.

So....give it to me straight: did I handle the molt right? Should I have given him a cage so he could eat in peace? Was there something else I should have done?
This was when he first started molting
is it possible he wasnt molting but had a terrible infestation of lice or mites? (sometimes these are hard to see)
they can cause severe aneamia in chickens and can kill them
Molt occurs in/around October. Your bird was probably diseased or infested. I would start antibiotic on the rest of the flock now & isolate any other birds that appear to be sick.

The tips of his comb looks bluish in the picture -- meaning hypoxia, a sign of anemia -- likely infestation as stated above. You could probably look is carcas over for parasite eggs, but you probably won't find any live bugs as they leave the host once it dies.
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I treated everyone with ivomec pour on in January. Just in case, I went out and looked at whats left of him, and checked a few others too. No sign of anything. He was the only one like this. The rest are fully feathered (except for the one that needs a saddle).
Nobody molted in October. Nobody molted at all yet except him, and they were all a year old this winter. Is that normal?

No other birds are showing any signs of anything. I have 3 broodys....but that's the only issue.
It was frostbite on his comb. I put vasaline on it after it happened (and added 2 more heatlamps cause the guineas are heatlamp-hogs)and it stopped spreading and some of the color came back.
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I think they usually molt in the fall but they can molt any time. I has 2 that started in January.

What are they eating? I would try increasing his protien to about 20+% and adding some viatmins to their water to help him through the moult. I am concerned by the white on the tips of his wattles. That could be a sign that his circulation/heart is not what it should be. I am not aware of anything that you can do to help that.
I hadn't considered that! I just assumed it was part of the turned up on the same 4 degree day as the tips of his comb. I was told their wattles get wet as they drink and that could cause freezing. I coated his wattles with the vaseline too and they didn't get worse. I redid the vaseline about once a week after that. The tips of the comb turned dark after that but the wattles didn't, I thought they just had less damage. Do you know if the heart thing could be genetic?
They are on layer feed, a few handfuls of scratch in the morning and before bed. Scrambled eggs twice a week. Kitchen veggie scraps and leftovers probably twice a week. I was giving him extra protein lately...scrambling eggs just for him, or pieces of my lunch, but if his girls came over he would let them have it. He was such a sweet boy!
Here he in in December before he started to lose the feathers. This has been a quick process!
So sad, so sorry

Unfortunately, a molt can kill them because it takes enormous energy and some don't make it through, particularly if they get hit with anything else at the same time. A time for extra warmth if they are cold, extra protein, extra rest. Lots of determined hand feeding when they stop eating- I've had hens go loco for awhile while molting, showing no interest in food and I think they would have died were it not for extreme encouragement via hand feeding.

Sounds like you were giving your birds all kinds of good stuff to eat so that part is all good.

He may have also had an additional problem with his heart and the combo of that and the molt was just too much...hard to say.....

I love my roo so much - I'm so sorry.

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