Opinions wanted, please! I have raised 8 hens now since 2007, and am down to 5 girls. Another has developed ascites (black star) and I am draining her periodically. From the 1st batch of 4, I have lost a Barred Plymouth Rock due to internal laying and a Black Australorp due to a detached ovaduct. Out of this last batch I lost a RIR due to suspected heart attack when egg bound coming off molt. Am I just unlucky or is this normal? almost half my flock in 3-4 years? I was expecting more soundness in my birds-- I was raised with chickens (barred rocks & RIR) and we rarely had problems 30 years ago--never any reproductive issues, only bumblefoot and infighting. Most of them continued laying until age 6+ and died as happy old ladies. All of mine are/were hatchery chicks I purchased from the local feed store. Is it possible that bad breeding practices are in play here? If so, would I have healthier birds purchased from a farm breeder? My birds are first and foremost pets that just happen to lay eggs. I get more enjoyment out of their personalities and having them break down like this is disheartening. Of course I have a tip-top, clean coop, free ranged and layer feed available. Clean fresh water and all the veggie scraps they could wish for. DE to keep the parasites down and 2x yearly worming. So, what am I doing wrong? Thank you for whatever suggestions you throw at me!