Hen died suddenly


In the Brooder
Feb 12, 2018
Hi everyone,
Sadly we came home from Easter dinner (8pm) to one of our hens not doing well. She was very lethargic and had labored breathing. We separated her from the others and allowed her to rest, and later that evening 11pm she passed away.

She is one of 10 hens, they free range all day and have lots of fresh water and layer feed. This hen seemed fine and normal earlier the same day. So whatever took her life seemed quick (a matter of a few hours) but she could have been hiding her discomfort. There was no external signs of trauma/injury. All other birds seem happy and healthy.

Has anyone had similar experience? Id rather not do a necropsy, so if anyone else has any incite it would be much appreciated.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
Most of us who have raised chickens over the years have experienced this. There may have been signs of illness, but they are good in masking symptoms. You can refrigerate the body, and contact your state vet to get a necropsy to look for a cause of death. Metzer Farms-Poultry Diagnostic Labs is a good link to Google for instructions and a list of state vets and poultry labs.

The other choice would be to do a necropsy yourself, open the body and take pictures of organs. Some illnesses can be spotted this way by the color of the liver, and the appearance of other organs. Sorry for your loss.

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