Hi all, Long story short we put a second hen (Bridget) down today from what seems to be the same thing. The first one (Lizzie) had a post mortem that showed bad adhesions in her intestines. The second one (Bridget) had numerous unshelled eggs stuck inside that the vets suspected was caused by adhesions too. The vets at Cornell said reproductive issues are common in "older" layers, around 4 yrs old. Lizzie was 7-but Bridget was in fact 4. He said it's less common in dual purpose birds. It seems to be most common in the breeds that lay the most eggs. He mentioned Leghorns. So my questions are: Is buying chicks from Agway, McMurray or My Pet Chicken (or other large hatchery) kind of like buying from a puppy mill? (Lizzie was an Agway chick) Would we be better off buying directly from a breeder who cares about the breed (if we can find one)? And, would land race birds such as Icelandics be an even better choice to decrease the number of issues with reproductive problems? Do mixed breeds have hybrid vigor as in other animals? I hope someone can set me straight if I'm not understanding this well. My theory is that the long term health of the chickens isn't being considered by hatcheries-they are just mass producing chicks.