So I'm a total newbie chicken owner! Had 12 baby chicks dumped on me about 8-9 months ago. They thrived and have been doing great. They have a small run attached to their big coop and I lock them up every night. I don't let them free run as we have foxes and annoying neighbors. So last night I go to lock their coop up around 7pm and when I entered the run, I find a dead chicken just laying there. No blood, no nothing! Everyone else seemed fine last night. She's getting a burial this morning. I've been up all night thinking what happened especially since they all seemed fine at 4:30pm. They are my pets and I went as far as taking another to the vet and keeping her as a house chicken when she got hurt.
I am so sorry about your girl. Chickens are so much more than just a chicken! It is hard to guess what happened but as long as everyone else seems healthy it could have been a defect or a fall possibly.
Have you been on backyard chickens forum? They have a great board about health and disease.
Probably to late now, but here in NC you can take your dead fowl to the state ag. lab (sorry, it's early, need more coffee) and they will do a necropsy for you. It's free because chickens/turkeys are considered food. We took a pet turkey once, think it took about a week to get the results.
So sorry for your loss. I raised chickens for many years - all named - for both eggs & for their funny & engaging ways. Know how sad it is when one passes.
That said, so long as your other birds aren't showing any signs of illness, just chalk it up to "one of those things". Chickens can have pretty much any & all ailments that all warmblooded critters are susceptible to (as well as some that are strictly avian).
Now if another bird suddenly dies soon, or if you notice anything odd (wheezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, etc.) in additional birds, then you might want to consult veterinary assistance.
Awww, so sorry They really are fun and funny and engaging creatures, something one just cannot appreciate until living with a few We've only had them for a year, but have learned a lot, and yes, "just dead" is something that happens not that infrequently, unfortunately. Thankfully, not here yet.
Just keep an eye on the others, and if anyone starts acting a little off, I'd catch her and crate her for a day or 3 to monitor her more closely.
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET