A study was undertaken to determine if a 2-week feed-removal protocol, as is used by industry to induce a molt in aging hens, would affect the course of a Salmonella enteritidis infection. White leghorn hens aged 69-84 weeks were deprived of feed to induce a molt, and on day 4 of the fast, the birds were orally infected with 5 x 10(6) S. enteritidis. S. enteritidis organisms were enumerated in the spleen on day 6 and from the alimentary tract on days 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35. Little difference was detected in numbers of S. enteritidis from spleens of molted and unmolted hens. Significantly more molted hens shed detectable intestinal S. enteritidis than unmolted hens on day 14 (one of two trials) and day 21 (one of two trials). Intestinal levels of S. enteritidis were increased 100- to 1000-fold in the molted birds on day 7 (one of two trials) and day 14 (two of two trials), and many of the hens exhibited bloody alimentary secretions. Histological examination of the intestinal tract of S. enteritidis-infected molted hens showed increased inflammation in the epithelium and lamina propria of colons and ceca, compared with unmolted infected hens.