While we were gone on vacation last month my chickens had to suffer through some pretty poor caretaking, my poor brahmas especially (I guess because their coop is further from the house ). When we came home I found several of the girls in full molt, though it wasn't time for a molt, all of them looking in rough shape, dirty bottoms and a total loss of egg production. The first piece of the puzzle I put together is that their caretaker had turned a light on them - my guess is to do a chore late at night - and left it on 24/7 until it burned out. I don't use lights on my birds AT ALL. There's only electricity out to the coops in case I have to go out there in an emergency at night. So I see that, I'm right away thinking forced molt. Next I find out that someone walked right by the 250 lbs. of fresh, appropriate feed for the birds to use an opened bag of medicated fed that had been purchased by mistake, but we didn't have time to dispose of safely before we left on vacation. It was a gamebird starter, medicated with (I think) bicatracin. I had put a big red "X" on the bag, written DO NOT FEED on it, told the caretaker (my SD) not to feed it under any circumstances, but still... I didn't give the gamebird feed much thought, since the girls weren't laying by the time we got home I wasn't worried about anyone eating "medicated eggs" until... now all of a sudden the girls production is picking back up again; even though two of them are still molting. Now I have to wonder what troubled them - the light/no light situation or a medicated feed?