Please Help me understand why my hen is dead. I'm quite worried that it was some kind of disease or something. I had a beautiful easter egger hen named Hemera that was getting to be about one years old soon. she was probably around 8~9 months or so. I had personally hand raised her from a chick and she laid beautiful extra large blue eggs everyday. She had seemed extremely healthy and loved running around with the group of girls. I was leaving the house for a day so i wasn't able to check on them for a full day yesterday. Today morning i went to go check on the girls and she was just lying there in the nesting box DEAD. She was quite cold and hard and ants had started coming so it might've been yesterday that she had died. At first she looked like she was just laying an egg but she was dead. There was even one last egg under her that she was sitting on. I have no idea why she died! I didn't check on them for a day but i left enough food and water so there was still food and water left. The other girls were all fine and she was on top of the pecking order as well so they wouldn't have attacked her. I checked her over carefully and she didn't have any wounds or anything wrong with her body that i could see. They live in a fully enclosed coop where nothing even mice can get in. I live in southern california so i doubt it was too cold for them to stand. I feel really rattled and shocked. She was my favorite of the group and always loved to come to me when i come out to be petted by me and would sit down next to me to be petted. I'm worried if what she died of is contagious and if its going to affect the rest of my flock. I just lost to my city government about our chickens so i was limited to only 4 hens. so i had picked very carefully and had to rehome most of my flock and i made sure to leave her. Now i'm down one and she was my best layer. I have a leghorn that's of age and refusing to lay and a barred rock that for some reason has the smallest eggs so she was the one that was feeding our family of 7 in terms of eggs. Now i might even need to start buying eggs again! Sigh! What i'm worried about is that its contagious? I also have quails but they are raised in a separate enclosure on the other side of the yard. but i did have about 3 quails drop dead with no specific reason that i could find. But that's in the course of over half a year and i figured that quails are weaker and the weather is a bit cold so i didn't worry about those as much. But now that my Hemera has died i'm worried that maybe its something contagious? The chickens aren't ever put together with the quails but when they are free ranging sometimes they go towards the quail cage. but the quail cage is lifted up about 3 feet so the most they do is wander around under it. could it be she caught something the quails have? is it something infectious? Another thing was her vent was sort of red and slightly swollen but could she have died while straining to lay an egg? i'm sorry this is getting long but i'm very shocked and sad that i have lost my favorite and best layer. i dont even know what i'm going to do about eggs anymore. I was so happy to have her lay blue eggs because i had always wanted a colorful egg layer cause i never had one before and now i'm so very sad. please if you can help me figure out how she died it would give me some peace. i gave her a nice burial in one corner of my garden. it was the only thing i can do after she gave us such good eggs for couple months.