We have had a small flock of chickens since last June (2010), and are feeling a bit frustrated having had what seems to be more than our share of setbacks since starting. First, we bought four pullets last June, one of which was a Polish who immediately got depressed and wouldn't come out of the hen house. We had to bring her in and nurse her along for a few days. We got another polish from the same farm to keep her company, which worked great, until we finally realized that she was a he, and so we had to find a new home for him when he started crowing. At that point only one was laying (our Silkie), but soon our Cochin started laying, and they were all getting along fine. Then a few months later we lost our Silkie, who drowned in a bucket of water that should never have been left in the yard (we felt absolutely awful), and were down to three chickens, only one of which was laying. Finally the other two started laying and we were happy to finally have 2-3 eggs a day. Then our Cochin started brooding, so we were back to only two laying. We got two chicks from a local feed store in January, and fortunately have had no problems with raising them. Our Cochin finally came out of brooding and started laying again, but three weeks later she decided to go broody, again! Meanwhile, we integrated the chicks and things seemed to be going well (although our egg supply was dwindling), when our Polish up and died suddenly yesterday. She was completely normal and healthy the day/night before, but was clearly sick the next morning and died within a few hours of us discovering her in this condition. Needless to say we are in shock and heartbroken. Our chickens are like pets to us, and we get attached. I'm starting to feel like we are the kiss of death to our chickens or something. We are down to two from our original flock of five in less than a year of being chicken mini-farmers, and only one is laying every of day or so. Does my tale of woe seem as out-of-the-ordinary as it seems to me? I would love to hear about others' experiences.