After nine years of keeping chickens, this was a new experience. I've had chickens die before, but it's never seemed to affect the survivors like this one has. Sometime early this morning, one of the six-month old pullets who inhabit the rear coop off my run died. There was evidence she may have had a violent seizure. There are five chickens that roost in that coop, and none of them wanted to go in tonight. The coop is also occupied by a six-year old hen and her nine-week old chick. Even they were traumatized and didn't want to go in, but the three surviving six-month old pullets were frantic to do anything to avoid it. They even tried to get into the front coop where all the rest of the older flock members sleep, and they quickly found out they weren't welcome. Every time I tried to get the pullets to go into their own coop, they would pop right back out, and they were even flinging themselves at the outside of the front coop in an attempt to get in, even though they've never roosted there. There was no predator responsible for the death of their mate. She died of natural causes, not a mark on her perfect little body. Yet, simply witnessing her death throes, was enough to freak the rest of them out to the extent they were afraid to go back where it had happened. The older hen and her chick finally went in to the coop to roost, and I gathered up two of the pullets in my arms, talking to them soothingly while walking them around to the big door to the coop. I got inside with them and coaxed the third pullet in. Then I held them all like little children while talking quietly to them. I finally was able to put them on the perch and calmed them down and then they stayed. Chickens have more complex emotions than we give them credit for, it would seem.