I have two RIR. They are nearly a year old. I'm a new chicken owner. I live in the inner city and was hesitant to get chickens, but so glad I did. They are delightful. I have an issue and would appreciate any thoughts. Both are missing feathers on their necks, although one has more pronounced balding than the other. Pictures here of the neck + one really weird egg(!): http://picasaweb.google.com/chickenneckpictures/20091122# I noticed the missing neck feathers about 3 months ago. It has not got worse or better. Initially, I thought they were molting, but the feather loss is only around the neck and has remained constant. Perhaps it was mites, but I checked them over carefully and didn't see any mites. (are mites visible?). Weird thing was, during our photo session today, they started preening, and the hen with the least feather loss preened/plucked the neck of the hen with the naked neck. I've never seen that before, but I wonder if that's causing the feather loss? They get along splendidly, no bickering whatsoever, and the naked-neck-hen is the more dominate of the two, but that incident got me wondering. They are feed layer pellets, vegetable scraps, and occasional scratch. They free range about 1 hour a day. Any ideas about what is causing the feather loss? Could it be mites and are mites visible within the feathers? Do you think it's caused by them plucking each other, how do I prevent that? Anything else I haven't thought of? Thank you.