So, we started our back yard chickens in the early spring, as a new hobby, something to do thats interesting and as a means to good eggs. We started with purchasing 4 "currently" laying hens, from a "farmer", who seemed very well versed in chickens when we went to get our first girls. After we got them home and began to watch them, we noticed one, had an eye that she wouldn't open. It eventually healed, and did again open. About 3 weeks went by and, one of the girls died. When we called to the farmer for some thoughts, as to why it happened, and some advise as to why none as yet had laid any eggs, his response was basically, you had her 3 weeks, how would I know?? NICE!! He also had "no idea" why they weren't laying!! We wanted to get a couple more girls and went to another farmer, who did prove to be very helpful. We bought 3 girls from him. 2 weeks later, we were starting to get some eggs. Enter the fox, who killed all but 1, who was from the original farmer. She was still not laying, we thought no biggie, she was just younger than what he said. We went back to the second farmer, who sold us 5 more girls, 2 who were supposed to be laying by July. 2 weeks later, we have lice/mites and have to dust the girls for a couple of weeks. Oh and by the way, we are now, with 6 hens, only getting 1 or 2 eggs a day. As if all of this was not enough, we now discover, they have worms and need treatment for this! Now, no eggs! Again treat and wait. The 2 that were laying started again, but none of the others. It's at this point, the 1 original girl that we got way back in the early spring starts getting really red combs and wattles, and now we are thinking, eggs are on the way!! Nope, she starts hopping on the backs of the girls who are laying. So, back to the second farmer we go, yep, she's a roo! Here we are in the end of August, wondering why our 2 RIRs who were supposed to be laying by July, have not yet done so and as you can imagine, we are super skiddish that they may also be roos. I say all of this to say, I am really, really frustrated, with all of this. I am considering giving the girls to who ever wants them and close up shop. I guess alot of the frustration is with people who could help, making us feel stupid and that we don't know anything, and playing us for fools. Had we been told, he wasn't sure if they were male or female, well, then ok, all in fair warned....but I can't understand taking advantage of a person, for a few bucks. I did research and knew about fox attacks, lice/mites, and worms, and so for that we were somewhat able to adjust. Anyone out there have some encouragement for us??? We really just wanted some enjoyment, some nice girls, pets, to share our great property with, and some great eggs! So discouraged!