Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PTSD (for chickens?)

I’m in psychiatric nursing right now, so I’m all about diagnosing some psychiatric disorders – in me and everybodything else! (I know. That’s not a nurse’s job, hey, at least I’m practicing what I’m learning! We could talk about nursing diagnoses, but I won’t bore you anymore than I do already.)

Why do I say everything? Because I’ve officially diagnosed two of my chickens with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since the day we lost Minnie the miniature Wyandotte, my other two Wyandottes have been sad. They seriously have PTSD.

chickens 102310 (7)
It turns out that the poor Wyandottes suffered more damage that I had first thought. I thought only one chicken had lost her tail feathers, but it turns out that the other one had too – and one of the other Barred Rock hens had lost a few of hers as well! They also had a wound or two. One of the Wyandottes’ wing is droopy, and I don’t think it’ll ever be right. She doesn’t seem to mind though.

chickens 102310 (11) Droopy wing and no tail feathers. Pobrecita. (On the hens in the background you can see what her tail is supposed to look like.)

So, in the few days following the incident, I didn’t let the chickens out at all. Then I decided they were miserable and didn’t want them to be depressed (See? It’s all about psych.), so I let them out while I was outside. The injured chickens cowered around the coop for the majority of the time. It was pitiful.

chickens 102310 (13) Just a few missing on the one on the right. They’re starting to grow back. Thank goodness the dogs were small; I would have lost a lot more chickens than one!

It’s been a little over month now, and the two victims are venturing out with the other chickens, and they seem to be acting better. Their tail feathers are even coming back. They still have PTSD though. And how have I decided that? Neither of the two have laid ONE egg since the day I came home to a yard full of feathers. I just keep loving on them thinking that I will be therapeutic enough to get them back to laying. I have found that four eggs a day is just not cuttin’ it around here – my mom bakes too many cakes! I’ll be patient though – and keep loving on them until they earn their keep again. And if they never lay again, I’ll love them the same anyway!

chickens 102310 (21) One of the chickens that didn’t get hurt.

(UPDATE: I wrote this post over the weekend, and today we had one egg from a PTSD chicken! Also today the pesky mutts, 3 Chihuahua looking things, from next door came back and tried to cause more trauma while the chickens were out, but we – me, Buddy, and Gus -- chased them off!)


Sarah said...

Wahoo for scaring off the little chihuahua looking things and keeping the chickens safe! Lets hope that keeps them away for good.

brandy said...

Ashlee I love that you are diagnosing your chickens! I TOTALLY would like to hear your chicken outcomes and chicken interventions and rationales and your evaluations of your patients, er, I mean your chickens! It's due tomorrow during Psych!!!

Marie said...

Ashlee, you know I work with people who have PTSD and it sounds like your chickens have quite the case. I highly recommend EMDR therapy - I think it would work for them as well as humans :) You could even publish your results! Good luck!