This morning I came back to the chicken pen with an armload of greens I had just picked for them and found my dear BR hen lying in the corner right next to the door. It is a favorite digging spot and since she had one wing sticking out to the side I first thought she was dustbathing. Then I realized she wasn't moving - she was dead, just right then, she was still warm, even her feet. I had not noticed anything wrong this morning. Admittedly I didn't look at them all when I let them out of their coop before driving the kids to school because I was in a hurry. But when I came back I cleaned up the poop boards and refilled their feeder without noticing anything unusual. Of course she was one of my favorites. The only thing wrong with her that I have noticed before was a bald patch on her bottom, below her vent. There was no discharge and I thought it was a pecking issue. Ever once in a while there woukd be a small downy feather of hers in the nest box. Just this morning as I was cleaning the coop I thought I should maybe just treat her for vent gleet just in case. Otherwise she was active and lively and curious. They were in all day yesterday because it rained all day but they were freeranging for hours on Saturday - I wonder if she ate something wrong? Then yesterday there were only 8 eggs from the girls when we have been getting 9-11 per day unfailingly for the last 3 or 4 weeks... was it Matilda's egg that was missing? Her crop was not full when she died but she also was not skinny or light, she had a normal weight. I am so sorry for her. I wish I had realized something was wrong. At least she didn't have to suffer long... Of course now I am eyeing all my other hens suspiciously, and counting them. Ouff. Farm life is tough.