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.