We started our flock with 4 hens 2 years ago, may 2011, (2 rhode Island Reds and 2 Barred Rocks). The first year they were laying but for about a year now they are barely laying...if it's a good day we get 1 egg total. A few months ago we suddenly found one of the Reds had expired with no apparent reason. We are just about to get some new pullets and had a couple of questions.
1) should we worry about putting the new birds with these 3 if we dont' know why they aren't laying
2) any suggestions for finding out why they aren't laying (we haven't changed a single thing that would upset their routine, they aren't free ranged but have a large run)
3) if we decide to use them for meat birds, should we be concerned about eating them if we don't know why they aren't laying?? We are new to raising chickens and any help would be terrific! Thank you so much!