One of our healthier and more robust Jersey giants was found dead and laying on the coop floor amidst a pile of straw bedding most recently. Her neck feathers seemed matted and bare skin was showing but no visible blood or pecking marks. She was one of our meat birds that was scheduled to go to market within a week or two. I figure she was a good 7 lbs. She provided us with a fair amount of eggs and would have been great table fare. We felt more saddened by what happened than the loss of her meat. We had fresh fallen snow of about 4 to 5 inches the night before, so I walked the perimeter of both the run and coop area. No signs of any critters tracks or anything entering that I was aware of visibly. The inside coop temperature was 32 degrees farenheit. I'm kind of baffled as all the birds are fairing the winter weather well. Its been darn cold out, but it hasnt seemed to have bothered them. In fact they spend a good amount of time outdoors even on the worst days. I have been trying to break a buff orpington from her broodiness and have been taking any eggs out from under her each day. She must have been challenged when finally leaving the nesting box for food and water and won the battle. She has had a couple of skirmishes before while in the broody state. I have to believe this is what happened. It must have something to do with the pecking order amongst the hens. I would appreciate some feedback if any of you have experienced anything like this before to confirm my beliefs. This is the chain of life among animals that I really dont understand but have to except.