@Ol Grey Mare, sorry about your SS. Hope you find SS breeders. I've been looking for local English Orpington breeders myself for a while, but I do want to enjoy raising baby chicks again, so I resorted to the hatchery in the hopes I don't get any roosters
I am a little nervous about receiving day-olds in the mail. It's going to be the first time for me.
I'm chalking it up to a bad batch - the rest of the chicks have been beyond healthy - ended up with 2 of the SS out of 8 making it. I've really not had any different luck between having chicks shipped directly to me vs. purchasing from a breeder. This was my first direct order for me personally, but have received many orders as a retailer.
The folks at MMcM said that as a breed their SS tend to be smaller and more fragile than the other breeds, but since this is my first go 'round with the breed I don't know if that is an accurate generalization or not. The thing really saving me from being totally heartbroken is that we probably won't be keeping this flock anyway so I can look forward to starting over with more SS next year once we have moved and settled (hopefully).