My husband and I got our hens in the spring of '13, so I think it's safe to say that we are fairly new to this world. However, I grew up on a small farm where we raised barred rock hens, broilers, turkeys and pigs and our neighbors had cattle, goats, horses, orphaned deer and a ton of chickens. I know when we were raising the boilers, you would always expect a large number of them to not make it to butcher and experienced many diseases and injuries with them, but one thing we never had a problem with were our hens. We had 7 hens and every single one of them lived to be old. When they stopped laying, our neighbors took them into their huge flock until they died of what I assumed to be old age. Those of you who have been farming chickens for a long time, would you say you have always had hens with health issues, laying in particular, or does this seem to be a problem that has become more common over the last couple decades or so? It's just so bizarre for me to be learning about all of these issues now. I know diseases have always been around, but our hens were healthy and laid around 7 years. We lived on five acres in the woods with predators abound, and not once did we have an attack on them, nor did we ever have to nurse any of them for an illness or injury. We have six hens and have already had a hawk attack and now I have a dying hen in quarantine from what I am now assuming is peritonitis. I didn't come into this blind and expecting zero problems by any means, I am just curious as to what your observations have been over the years about breeding practices and how they may or may not be related to increasing health issues. We got our first four from a co-op (most likely hatchery birds) and the other two from a private breeder. Those two are great layers and great foragers- although one does go Broody way too often for my taste. Thanks!