Thanks ! I have read this entire post and I now know the following:
1. My Chickens aren't dying!
2. The raccoons did not get in the coop again.
2. They will lay again (eventually)!
3. They won't freeze to death! (Its fall now)
4. My Roo is going, so my girls will be much happier.
My chicken coop, run and even the yard look like the birds have suffered a terrible predator attack! The birds just look pitiful. I had ISA Browns first time around and they never really moulted too badly - now I have some other sex links and 2 Rhode Island Reds and they all are looking pretty bad. I will see if I can get enough daylight when I am home to get a pic or two.
Thanks for the comment about the cold. 1st winter with chickens. We are going to have a really bad cold snap here over the next few days (-6 F at night) and after looking at the pictures some of my 8 1/2 mo olds are molting! Hopefully it is a mini-molt but my question is: Does a rooster molt as well? I have 1 RIR and he appears to have some rough spots. Also, I checked them over and I can't see signs of mites or the like - at least noting looks out of the ordinary when I inspect. Is there a thread/pictures of what mites look like?
Maybe I missed it, but my question is- This is the first part of June and I know we had a cool spring, but my flock is in molt. I thought they only molted around aug or sept. of the year? Can they molt twice in one year? We have checked for bugs, cleaned out the house and nesting boxes and put down dust for bugs we don't see. They show all the signs of molting but I thought it was done toward the fall. Out of 23 laying age chickens we have never got more than 13 eggs and now we are getting 6-8 since they are in this molting.
Do you have a picture of them? Generally, they molt at about 18 months old in the fall though it depends on when they hatched. I've had some go through minor molts at 9 months though. There is a juvenile molt around 13 weeks as they grow in their adult feathers- you don't normally see bare spots, just feathers lying around the coop.