Over the past year we've had 3 chickens die. The first, a light sussex a bit under 30 weeks old, was found near a pile of rocks in the yard dead last summer (December). 9 weeks ago a mixed breed rooster about 12 weeks old was found near the same rock pile, also dead, just 15 minutes after seeing it running around healthy as the rest. Just today a third died...a pullet about 21 weeks old was found a few metres away from the rock pile...not dead, but lying on the ground panting. She wouldn't move, which was unusual, but we thought at first it might have been heat exhaustion (it was just under 40*C here today). We tried to make it drink and put it inside to cool it down, but an hour or so later, after a few convulsions she died too. All 3 had a purple face and comb when they died. We wondered if this could be the result of a snake. We live close to the bush, and see Brown Snakes every summer (we've seen three this summer, one of which is now dead). But the rock pile happens to be the home of a couple of Blue-tongue lizards, which we've heard don't mix with snakes. The differences between the time of the deaths also has got us wondering...15 mins to 1 hour plus...can snake bites take that long to kill???