Balding hens

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8 Years
Jan 15, 2012
Clemson, SC
I have 14 black Australorp hen that are contained in a cage run. They were purchased as "about 1 year old" 14 months ago. 2 have developed a issue recently: they are balding. The feathers on their heads are receding. There is no other signs or symptoms of illness. They are feed a free access of laying mash crumbles and a dish of crushed oyster shell is maintained in the run. My experience spans 14 months so I am green-horn chicken keeper so looking for some advice/help.
No, they are not with a rooster. These girls are my layers. They have roomy housing and a caged run. I know what the rooster can do as the 3 hens that are rooming with the rooster must wear saddles as he is very aggressive. I'm wondering if age or some nutritional issues are to blame - still researching but yet I find nothing. Hoping someone with more experience here can shed some light on the issue...if it really is an issue.
Molting perhaps. Hobby Farms Chicken magazine had an article on it the fall that said they start molting from the head/ neck first. Some do, some don't but if there are no other issues that would be my guess. Hope it helps.
I have two like this - Barred rocks. The feathers started receding after they were two years old. Part of it's plucking but I notice all my older hens have feathers receding starting at the crest. One is completely bald. No signs of mites. I think it's age. They are almost done laying and have new pullets coming up to replace them.
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