Hen dead within an hour. Was she egg bound?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 10, 2013
My heart breaks today. When I opened up the coop this morning at 5am, I found one of my 6 month old hens sitting upright at the front panting heavily. I grabbed my husband and a flashlight and she was just sitting there panting. I figured she was in the process of laying an egg, she just started to in the last 3 weeks and I'm not certain how the entire process works. No other signs of distress, just the panting. By 6:10 she was in the back of the coop, on her side, dead. I was shocked. This was a healthy bird. Eats & drinks normally, I feed a head lettuce once a day too, weighed about 5 pounds. I've read through the posts on symptoms, my hen didn't display any of them (paralysis, diharrea, discharge, etc). I'm sure sometimes chickens just die but I feel like I should have caught a sign of her suffering and I would have culled her if I did. My flock has no signs of disease. Does anyone know what would have a hen panting and dead within about an hour?

Update: My husband came home and took a look at her. She had 4 eggs in her. The first one that came out was huge and wavy shaped, like she was pushing and pushing to get it out, and it was hard as a rock. The 3 behind it were normal size. I am going to assume this means she was egg bound. I didn't notice any signs of stress in her over the past few days. Does anyone know if the panting was a sign of being egg bound or a sign that she was at the end of her life? Also, from what I have read they die in 24-48 hours from being egg bound...so how did she have 4 eggs in her? Hens can only produce and lay one egg per day I thought. Just want to know so I don't make this mistake again...she was one of my favorites.
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So sorry for your loss! Sounds like it could have been egg bound, and the panting may have been from the pain and stress she was going thru. Chickens only lay one egg a day, but they always have more eggs in development.

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