I got 2 hens in the spring. Lady had a rattly cough that we treated with Oxine vapor (so both girls got the vapor). I also treated with Wazine for worms, just in case, and dusted with Sevin. Tractor was brand new, so no infection should have been present there. They've been happy and healthy since then. Lucy had pasty butt once and someone laid a jelly egg now and then. They've been consistent layers, only missing a day now and then, which I put off to heat or stormy weather. Anyway, this past week we've been getting only 1 egg per day sometimes a double -very large, like a potato, then one day there was 1 egg and a jelly in the box and Lucy had pasty butt. Acted normal, but at night she didn't want to go in the tractor, seemed to want to stay outside under the bushes. They usually follow me like I'm the chicken whisperer at night, but not this night. So, I left her until it was fairly dark and then was planning to carry her in, but Lady talked to her and she went into the tractor on her own--walked normal, didn't see anything. Next day, she seemed a bit slow but this humidity had us all slow so we didn't think anything about it. Then, yesterday, she was just sitting there with her backside up so I thought she was trying to lay out in the yard. Noticed that she stayed this way for quite some time, so went to check on her. No swelling or anything obvious (maybe I don't know what's normal?), but very red skin on her rearward underside. She sat there for awhile longer, then went back into the tractor and laid down. A bit later, I noticed her head was droopy and her eyes were closed, she did not perk up at all. So, I got her and brought her to the carport (shade, we were outside working right there and could watch her). Thought maybe eggbound, so set her in a pan of warm water. Didn't seem to help, so after about 20 minutes I pulled her out--her head was resting on the pan sides and I was afraid she'd drown if I left her and it went in the water. Her back half seemed to kind of pulse, like maybe trying to press something out? But, I looked at Lady and she was doing the same thing laying in her dust bath. Well, Lucy's comb got real floppy and we felt like she's a goner. It then got very dusky dark in color and shortly thereafter she was dead. Oh, we did notice there were large black ants on her. I think they got on her because she was so still, but DH thinks they may have been inside as well as outside (did not inspect her insides and did not see evidence of this). What do you think was wrong and what should I have looked for and done differently? Now Lady is alone, so we'll be getting one or 2 more in a week or so, so what should I do to prepare my tractor so we don't pass infection around? What should I do with new chickens to get a good start for them? We get them at the Dog Days flea market, so I suppose we could track infection onto the property and will need to do a bio prevention scheme, maybe oxine in a pan of water for cleaning our shoes? Thanks.