Lost a Hen


Jan 24, 2021
I’m a new chicken owner. Five beautiful hens came with the house I recently purchased. Today we lost one of the hens.

The hen that passed had been looking unwell the last two days. She kept her head buried in her neck and moved more slowly than the rest of the flock. Tonight she wouldn’t come back into the coop, staying in a dark corner, unmoving. I picked her up with a shovel and put her into a bin that I have in a shed. She flinched a bit but it seemed more like the last bit of nervous twitches. I’m 99 percent sure she has died.

Is this just old age? Something I should be concerned about? I have no idea how old the chickens are. I guess I’ll reach out to the former owners to ask.

Any insights will be highly appreciated.


Free Ranging
Jul 1, 2020
Small town in Washington
Is the body cold? The body will be cold by now if she has passed. Sorry for your loss! Did this hen still lay? What breed? If she isn't a death layer or Golden Comet, then if she has stopped laying it suggests that she is older then 2-3.

Birdie mom

Mar 27, 2020
Fayetteville NC
Welcome to the BYC! I am sorry that your first post here had to be about the loss of you beloved hen.

Are you really sure she is dead? How long ago did she "die"? Because is she is really and truly dead, then she will begin to get stiff. If she isn't stiff after a hour of so, then she is probably unconscious.

Have you checked her for any signs of injury or disease? Knowing what killed her will help you keep the rest of your flock safe. Look for bruises, wounds, or anything out of the ordinary on her, or in the coop and yard. Feel free to post any of your findings.

Again, so sorry... :hugs


Jan 24, 2021
Thanks. No outward sign of trauma. And she wasn’t cold yet. Like I said, there were still tremors or twitches. But I was able to pick her up and carry her with a shovel, which is not something I could normally do without her jumping off and running away.

She could just be unconscious, I guess. I’ll check in the morning. It’s brutally cold where we are (19 degrees) so perhaps that got to her (although the other hens were fine).

The only abnormal thing I saw over the last few days was that she was a bit lethargic and was keeping her head tucked into her chest, not extending her neck like the rest of the chickens. She looked like a chicken preparing to settle in for the night even when she was walking around the chicken run.

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