Hen randomly passed away in nest box... :(


Feb 28, 2017
Hi everyone,

Today I went to feed and water the ladies like I do every day, and when I went to get the eggs out of the nest box I found my white EE who passed away while sleeping (or thats what it looks like she was doing..) :confused:. There werent any injuries, blood, missing feathers, etc. She had her head tucked in like they do when they take a nap.. She was even a tad bit warm still :hit.

The only thing I noticed is she seemed a bit skinny in the breasts. She's one of my younger ones (would've turned one April 20th), so not sure if they're "supposed" to be really filled out by then or not. What could possibly have caused this? She was acting perfectly normal yesterday (eating, drinking, running around like usual). I felt her crop, and although it felt full, it didnt seem like there were any lumps or overly stiff... Just felt relatively squishy if that makes sense, so idk if that could mean an impacted crop? They have full access to grit.

This makes the second one i've lost since january... The last one was eaten, but I'm wondering if she died too and then was eaten afterwords? Everyone else is perky, hungry, and acting normal (laying eggs, etc)

Any input would be greatly appreciated.. I'm pretty upset over this :hmm She just looked so calm, it was hard to see her just in the nest like that :(
So sorry for your loss. Big hugs xx

Like many prey animals, chickens can mask illness til it's too late. They often fluff up a bit when poorly which means you don't necessarily spot weight loss. Your girl looks like she still had reasonable colour in her comb but yes, looks a bit too skinny in the keel. She may well have been harbouring something....check her bodily for any parasites and then check your coop thoroughly....red mite can literally suck the life from them! If you find any, it is important you treat the coop and the birds with permethrin or you could lose more.

How have temperatures been where you are? Could she have died of cold?

You could send her body off for necropsy if you want a definitive answer but if you don't want to go to that expense, you will have to live with not ever really knowing but remember it could also have been a congenital defect, a weak heart etc and may not necessarily have been due to 'illness' in the conventional sense
Aww I'm so sorry! I just lost one of my young girls last week. Like yours, she would have turned 1 in April. Mine died of sour crop, and I could see that she was sick. Her crop was very squishy and foul smelling. I hope this is a one off and that the rest of your girls stay healthy.:hugs

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