Tilly doesn't feel good. To begin with, she is not her typical self. She has been broody for the last week and a half. Even though she is eating and moving her bowel normally, she just seems so sad. She is not giddy. She is not running around telling everyone she is the boss. Yet the worst part for me is that she has stopped "talking". Tilly is my talker. She talks non-stop. She narrates her every move. She tells us a play by play account when she is laying her egg. She carries on long and purposeful conversations with the others. She talks when she eats and drinks and I even hear her say goodnight at dusk. Now, she is suddenly quiet.
This afternoon as I lifted the nesting box lid, there she was all puffed up. I instinctively began to pet her. I could tell that she did not feel good. I noticed that her tail feathers seemed to be spread and the feathers were far apart. Her tail seemed large and perhaps swollen. I am not quite sure what was wrong, but something did not feel right. My heart felt it too. I immediately called the vet. They would like to see her tomorrow. Illness can move very quickly in chickens and sometimes when they begin to show symptoms, it is often too late.
My heart is just sinking. Since she first arrived at our home as a day old chick, Tilly has been our head hen. She had health issues early on. I had thought I was going to lose her. She was a fighter and with proper veterinary care, she survived. Since then she has always been smaller. Her crop has always been a bit pendulous with over eating but that has not stopped her in keeping up or her place in the pecking order. Her vivaciousness and perseverance lead me to name this blog, Tilly's Nest. This sweet little Australorp helped me to realize that I truly did love these little ones-all of them.
My heart has grown wide and my wisdom deeper with having these girls in my life. They make lasting impressions on our visitors and my children have come to love them too. It is amazing what your life and heart can lead you to if you chose to follow it. The paths one takes in life are sometimes unknown, like the chicken keeping one. I was nervous to travel this path, yet it truly has allowed me to experience some of life's magic through the lives of ordinary chickens. I have come to know now that all chickens are far from ordinary, especially Tilly.
Please keep Tilly in your thoughts.