Brittle & Butter
We have a lovely group of girls (mostly Easter Eggers and a few Wellsummers) we got about a year ago as chicks, and raised with love and care from the moment we brought them home.
As a self-described "animal-hippie" I loved them like most people love their dogs or cats, and showered them with cuddles, pets, warmth, good quality food and treats, and lots and lots of play space! My husband even built them their very own 14ft x 8ft insulated chicken coop with cubbies, windows, perches, climbing bits, you name it.
No expense was spared, and it certainly wasn't cheap. Attached to the coop is a large run for them to explore when the weather allows (we live in Montana).
So when we lost our little Wellsummer, Brittle, I was genuinely shocked. She had displayed no obvious signs of ill health prior, and when we found her she had no obvious signs of injury. She was laying on her side below a perch, and was absolutely still with her eyes closed and her beak slightly open. Her one foot was curled up, while her other was more relaxed. She was slightly warm still, but stiff.
I cried hysterically, Googling sudden chicken death for hours. I finally decided, after taking a peek at her back side with proper PPE, that she likely was egg bound, as her vent was prolapsed. I didn't bother to investigate further for a trapped egg, but I was determined to be on the lookout for any signs of egg bound going forward.
So when my favorite little sweetie pie, Butter, was found in the exact same way just a few hours ago, I was utterly devastated.
She was found laying on her side, in the same corner of the coop, with exactly the same outward appearance, with the exception she must have passed more recently as her one eye was not all the way shut and she was warmer than Brittle was when we found her.
I have not decided if we go about doing an autopsy, or what to do to ensure this doesn't happen again as my heart really cannot handle losing any more, we have just a few girls left now.
Brittle was a huge loss, but my Butter held a special place in my heart - she was a most extraordinary chicken, cuddled and practically purred like a cat when held, she would get so excited each day to see me, running forth to bow and get her daily pets.
If anyone has any advice or suggested cause of death, I would be most appreciative! At the end of the day I do know we did everything we could to give them the best life, but it's never easy losing a pet you love.
Thank you and my condolences to other chicken parents out there who lost their sweet chickens too!