That is awesome. I have something like that but not as pretty.
I don't think 4 is too old to be broody. I've had older hens than that be broody. My 7 year old ameraucana raised chicks last year. Actually she raised one or two broods a year from the time she was 1 till this year. I haven't had a single hen go broody this year. I think I have to swap some of the plastic nest pads for excelsior if I want a broody.
Too bad you didn't get a necropsy. If I have an unexplained death, I always either send the bird in or do it myself.
Are you referring to orps in general or lavenders? They are built for the cold, not heat. I've only had buffs but they started laying at about 24 weeks.
You need to get some Penedesencas. They're built for the heat. Predator proof. Pretty eggs too.
This is why I mentioned the age part thanks, my other thought was that she wasn't getting off for water near the end. My fault if so I should have had access for her at the nest. The nest wasn't in the best location either. Lesson learned. I have another two other hens trying to share one nest. This never ends well either but at least they have a better location it will be cooler for them. I really don't need broodies right now. Maybe in a month when my Altsteirer are laying larger eggs they are starting to be fertile now.
Tell me more about Penedesencas. Flighty? Eggs? Meat? Age of maturity? That sort of thing. My largest coop has open top at 7 feet. Going to have to get netting I think. Orpington's could not get out but large hawk got in. Altsteirer definitely will get out which will cause new neighbors a fit.