I have 34 hens, and 1 banty Sebright rooster - all now about 1 year old. The hens are 6 RIR, 9 White Leghorns, 2 Australorps, 2 Golden Polish, 1 Buff Polish, 1 Delaware, 1 Ancona, 1 Blue Andalusian, 1 Sebright, 1 Spangled Hamburg, etc. About a month ago, I noticed some hens were losing feathers on their backs near the tail and the front of their necks. I suspected bugs, so treated them all accordingly, even though I can find no signs of lice or mites on them or in the coop. The only feather picking I've seen is on my poor pet Golden Polish - she's always bald on top, though the skin itself never appears injured. The same for the feather loss, the feathers are gone, I can't see any pin feathers growing in, but the skin is absolutely uninjured. Then I realized this week that only the RIR hens and the Black Australorps are affected - none of the lighter colored breeds have experienced any feather loss at all! Is it possible for some breeds to molt in the spring, especially if they were great layers all winter? I got 24-26 eggs a day all winter, and now it remains a steady 26-29 eggs a day. Would this possibly put the hens into an early molt? I've read everything I can find, and haven't come across anything that mentions this. Kathy in Western New York.