Sometimes, it's not what you think when you open up a deceased bird. This one was a bit of a surprise, though it does bring home the fact that chickens, as prey animals, hide injuries very, very well. And sometimes, swelling in one area can be from an injury in another. This is a post for educational purposes, something I like to do from time to time on BYC. It's not easy to open up a precious little hen, but you do learn something almost every time you buck up the courage to do so. This was no exception. My D'Anver pullet, Leah, only 15 weeks old, died this morning. Two days ago, I found her not as spry, not keeping up with her three siblings. I realized that her left wing wasn't tucked up as well as it should be. Thinking one of the others had swung her around by it, maybe spraining it, I attempted to catch her--she was broody raised and a bit on the skittish side. They all live in the main bantam coop with the adults and are not handled on a daily basis. Usually, the pullets become more friendly as they approach mating/laying age, even if broody raised, so I wasn't worried about them being skittish at this point. She wasn't as hard to catch as usual, and the moment I got my hands on her, I realized it was not the wing. Under the wing was a HUGE swelling, bigger than a golf ball, in the hip area. Immediately, she was in a rabbit cage in the house and on penicillin, in case of soft tissue infection. Palpating her leg didn't show any discernible breaks at the time. Since she was still on her feet, nothing except maybe a sprain or a dislocation that had popped back in occurred to me. After a day or so, her appetite dropped off and yesterday, it was apparent, she was probably not going to make it, though the swelling had actually gone down a tiny bit. Still, she was occasionally drinking water, though she quit eating. A little while ago, she died and we did a necropsy. Necropsy showed the swelling was just that, a huge ball of swollen muscle, not a tumor or infection. There was no infection in her body-if there had been, the 3 days of penicillin had wiped it out. We excised the mass and proceeded to remove muscle from the leg bone and discovered to our utter amazement that she had what appeared to be a compression fracture of the leg bone from just above the foot and up the leg. Apparently, it had been bleeding from the origin of the fracture and due to her obviously sitting quite a lot due to pain, it had pooled up in the hip area, causing a huge mass of swelling, leading me to believe the issue was a hip issue. Never would have figured on a vertically split leg bone, not with her walking without even a limp this whole time. Graphic pictures below: This is the excised mass of swelling, intact and cut open to show no tumor or infection: This shows the vacant area after the excision of the mass, so you can see how high up it was and why I was fooled: The next two show the actual fracture, one with marker pointing to it--click on it to view close up. My camera was giving me fits so I hope you can see it well enough.