Hi, I go by the name Babyfoot on social websites. I currently live in Western Australia and have 13 ladies and two gents. As they have a lot of space to roam- the two roosters at 1yr old and 2yrs old are so far managing to get along with few altercations. Seems they have their favoured hens and only get upset if one encroaches on the other's hen. Then again the 1yr old hasn't got his full spurs yet, wait and see as the 2 yr old managed to claim victory over the last rooster who was approx 5 and was past his prime. Very sad but that's nature. I have perused this forum and many others but always come back to this one for information . I am no expert and have only three years experience of my feathered family but have in those three years had a few sad losses and some huge vet bills before learning that by the time a vet is involved it is usually too late. My initial flock came along with the house I'd bought so had no idea of how old any of them were. Three were 'saved' from a caged farm facility as they were past their 18 month 'best'. The previous owner had them for two years after that and I have now had them for three so that makes them approx 6.5 yrs. sadly one has gone to chook heaven only two months ago. I have also lost a hen to internal laying, yes I did a wee looksee after she had died as I wanted to make sure, the vet said the xrays showed nothing abnormal. I HAD to know as I needed to know for the next time. Vet bills are huge and many don't do poultry anyway. One hen I rescued from an old man who was neglecting his hens started to waddle a lot and stopped laying even though she was young (approx 14 months old) She had a distended belly and my hubby thought she was fat and that was why she had stopped laying. She also had very runny poo all the time and I had to clean her vent constantly as it was beginning to block it. Eventually we decided to end her pain and again we checked to see what was really wrong, she had water belly and was in fact very underweight, not fat at all. We are thinking it was maybe a poor diet from her past owner and various other issues from there. Out of the five we rescued only one remains, the other four having died in the space of six months of rescuing them. I lost one to a mouth abscess that required antibiotics but sadly it turned into necrosis of the bone and my current vet (who is marvellous)kindly put her to sleep with no charge. She was amazed that I had even noticed anything wrong as there was nothing visible, she was eating and laying and pooping just fine. It was the smell I said.. when I was cuddling her, from her beak. It was way back and wasn't visible unless you opened her beak wide and looked inside. There are more that have come and gone, the saddest part of the joy of having hens. Each day I learn a little more In three years I have had chicks hatch every Oct to Jan time. last owner said he could never get his hens to be broody but mine are deliriously happy hens and the problem I have is stopping them from being broody too often. I'm managing thus far and limiting the eggs they sit on. The broody mums have even shared their chicks as a team. The chicks went to whichever hen called saying she had food and it also meant that when in the main run they had two hens protectiig the babies. My hens adore cuddles and peck at each other for the privilege of getting one, queue jumping to get to me. My roosters are beautiful friendly boys and they also love a cuddle and having their combs and wattles gently stroked. I have my favourites but shhh don't tell them. My friends call me the crazy chook lady and others have named me the chook whisperer. Does anyone else name all their flock? I know each one individually and their personalities are so unique. Oh dear, I seem to have written my life story, sorry.