Hi all, I am a first time backyard flock owner in north jersey. We have seven RR and one Dominique. Strega Nona ( my domi ) was purchased seperate, in a individual crate marked " one yr old prime layer"( she seems to be in fabulous health) the rest were only assumed to be the same. All were purchased for us, by friends from a farmers market, first the RR's, a wk later Strega. They all came mid March '11 One RR alwyas had missing feathers...I assumed her to be " low on the pecking order", but later discovered scaley legs, and dusted the flock for mites. ( 2 wks ago) We are NOW have one sneezing, one coughing, some with twitches, and poor courtney still looking pretty beat up. Egg production is WAY down, from 6 to 2 a day, past week. Nobody is moulting....Now today everybody pretty much stayed in the coop, despite being a gorgeous day. they have a coop to suit 25, and a covered chainlink pen off the side. About to add ACV to water, i began doing some research, and now i fear everything from purchasing 'stew birds' under the guise of prime layers, to avian flu! please, any input welcome...i'm considering selling off the flock minus strega and purchasing myself, from a local farm at this point.... and as brief history, since march i have lost: one guinea to a night prowler, three guineas to broodiness ( although they DID leave an egg behind, which my hens diligentlly lay on) and have had one hen decapitaed by a racoon I LOVE keeping these birds, my kids ( 10 and 9 mo tomorrow) LOVE to watch/help with them, as does my hubby...i'm feeling like i got us in over our head now though..HELP!!