Chickens Stories from Our Nest

It’s Tough Being Broody: An Update on Tilly

As Tilly and the girls are safely locked up for the night, I find myself here, in front of the computer sitting and feeling very loved from all of your prayers, words of encouragement and compassion for Tilly.  Thank you.

Just like in pregnancies, some are easier and some are more difficult.  Some women carry their babies beautifully through all nine months.  They barely gain any weight.  They seem to be glowing and they have easy deliveries.  I sort of liken this to Dolly, one of our Silkie hens.  Dolly is always broody and she is very good at it.  She has it down to a schedule and she handles it with such ease.  It is just as though her body is meant to handle this natural process.

Then there are others like myself included, who experience more difficult pregnancies.  We have huge amounts of weight gain, reflux, leg cramps, swelling, medical complications and difficult deliveries.   You might say that this is like Tilly.  I don’t think Tilly’s body is happy with her mind’s decision to be broody.

Yesterday, Tilly was clearly under the weather.  She seemed miserable sitting in her nesting box with her head hung low and her spirits dampened.  Late that afternoon, I had removed her from the nesting box and looked her over.  I felt her abdomen for any eggs. I checked for mites and lice.  I examined her crop.  Nothing appeared out of the ordinary, but it is very difficult to remain objective in a situation like this when your heart is involved and your chicken is ill.  Around 4:30pm in the afternoon, I decided to run things by our vet.  We both mutually made the decision to bring Tilly in for an examination the next day.  Of course, weeks prior, I had volunteered for a whale watch at my son’s school scheduled for the morning.

This morning, it was Chicken Grandma to the rescue.  She brought Tilly to the vet early this morning and I participated in seeing Minke and humpback whales with my son.  When we arrived on shore, we raced to the car to pick up Tilly.  The vet and her staff had a chance to examine her and keep her for most of the day under observation.  We knew she was in good hands and our fingers were crossed for good news.

When we arrived, we were met with good news.  Tilly is not egg bound.  Her oil gland is working properly.  She has no mites or lice and her crop seems to be functioning normally.  She is worm free.  Tilly, for now, seems to just be having a difficult time being broody.  When they brought her out to us, we gave her a huge hug.  We were all so happy to be reunited.

It is never easy waiting for motherhood.  I feel badly for her the way it is now; with no fertile eggs, it can never be.  Tomorrow, I have a planned visit to my dear friend’s farm.  I might just see if she has any fertile eggs for Tilly.  Sometimes, it’s the reward that makes these tough times in life worth the difficult journey.

Hello friends, welcome! Follow along on our chicken, beekeeping, gardening, crafting and cooking adventures from Cape Cod.

  • Poor little lady. Motherhood can take it's toll on you. Have you thought about slipping a couple of day old chicks under her at night? That would bring the broodiness to an end quickly, without the 21 day wait.

    • What a wonderful idea Maria. That might just work 🙂

  • i have fertile eggs coming out of my ears wish i werent so far away i would gladly donate to the cause

  • See, I knew I LOVED Tilly for a reason ~ I can relate to her. Being a Mom is the best thing in my life but no part of it came easy. Losing babies, not enjoying pregnancy, almost dying giving birth to my first daughter, post partum depression. Was it worth it? Yes, of course. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. But, like Tilly, I was lucky. I had an amazing family who loved me, took care of me and comforted me through all of it. I hope you're able to get a fertile egg for Tilly because I'd just love to see/know what happens next. I'll be reading to find out! So happy she's okay ~ thanks for the update.

    • We are all so lucky to be blessed with so many wonderful friends and family that love us. We can achieve so much with their encouragement, love and support. Thanks for stopping in today.

  • Wish we were closer. With 5 roosters, I always have fertile eggs. Hugs to you and Tilly. Sue Fischer.

    • Me too! I would love for Tilly to sit on some of your eggs.

  • I'm glad to read Tilly is okay besides not feeling so hot. I'm also glad you have a vet to help with these things. I haven't found one yet in the area that is any help with chickens beside going to the University of Minnesota. I have so much to learn…

    • I still learn things everyday. If I hear of any good vets in your area I will let you know. That is one thing we are trying to compile on this page. I would love for everyone to have access to a vet if they feel they ever need one for their chickens.

  • Aw. I'm glad Tilly isn't seriously ill, but I'm sorry she's having a sad broody spell! Hopefully she'll perk up and be back to her chatty self soon.

    • Thanks! So glad you stopped in today. I can't wait to carry on a conversation with her too.

  • Oh poor Tilly. Sometimes my mom says you have to pay a price for peace of mind. You may have had to take her to the vet but now you know she is fine and just hormonal. I am glad all is well.

    • Your Mom is right! I completely agree. I finally had a good night's sleep last night. The night before I had tossed and turned. Thanks Elaine for your well wishes.

  • Anonymous

    I love this blog, and I am incredibly relieved that Tilly seems to be physically OK.

    • Thanks! We are glad you are here!

  • I'm so happy to hear the good news, and delighted that Tilly may yet become a Mom. The process is taking a toll on Tilly and Chicken-Mamma, but when you see the baby(ies) the first time, it will all have been worth the effort 🙂 Praying for continued good health for both Moms.

    • Thank you so much! So many things are worth the wait and effort. I guess time will tell for us.

  • So glad to hear it isn't anything more serious. I hope the fertile egg helps Tilly get to where she wants to be…being a mother hen. 🙂

    • Thanks! Now to just find some eggs…

  • Anonymous

    Not sure where you are but I would be happy to send Tilly some eggs, if you did not mind mixed breeds… Cheri Kaelin @ Angel Hill Farm

    • How sweet of you! Thank you. I will let you know. I am continually amazed by people's wonderful random acts of kindness. You have touched my heart.

  • Tilly a surrogate Mum? How beautiful! I hope it works out 🙂

    • Me too! We shall see. I just need to make sure that she is set on being broody. There is nothing worse than a mother hen abandoning her eggs. Then again, I guess there always is a broody Silkie at our place for back-up 🙂

  • So happy she is ok!

  • You are such a good momma to Tilly…she is one lucky hen.

    • Thank you! You are so sweet!

  • That's fantastic news! Thanks for sharing it (tbh I was afraid to check your blog for an update!).
    I'm so relieved to hear that Tilly's just going through a rough spot and not dangerously ill! You're a great chicken-mommy! And Yes, if I were in your shoes I'd see if your friend could pony up a fertile egg or two…it really might do a lot of good for Tilly!

    • Thanks Erica, I was on pins and needles yesterday. I had chickens instead of whale watching on my mind for sure. I will see what I can do about the eggs.

  • Happy to hear that Tilly got a clean bill of health! I am in central Mass and have fertile eggs (Copper Maran rooster, your choice of Ameracuana, Buff Orpington, or RI Red eggs). I come to visit my parents near the cape frequently, just let me know! Email hamletgrove at yahoo dot com. – Darcie

    • You are so sweet! I will definitely keep you in the loop and let you know what we all decide. I really have no preference as to what she decided to set upon. As long as she is happy and healthy- That's all I could ever ask for 🙂

  • Hallo, my names is Annika .. your blogg is fine

  • Anonymous

    I'm so happy to hear that Tilly is ok. I will be adding 3 new girls to my coop in a few weeks. This will be my first time to add new girls to the flock so I'm a bit anxious. We are beginning construction on a bigger and better coop today and I can't wait. I'd have a hundred hens if I wouldn't be run out of the neighborhood! I just love them! Thank you for sharing your girls with us. I love your blog. Do you have the smaller breeds in with your larger hens? I am considering getting some bantams but all of my hens now are larger breeds and I just wondered if they all get along.


    • I could not agree more they are addicting! Yes, I keep all the breeds together. They have no trouble at all. They even sleep side by side.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much. Looks like my breed choices have expanded!

  • So glad Tilly's not seriously ill. Good news for all! As for a possible solution, I see a few have already thought of this but I wanted to refer you to another wonderful blog: Little House In the Suburbs. She had a similar problem with a broody hen recently and fixed it with some fertile eggs:

  • Jen

    Well, I am glad it wasn't as dire as first thought. So glad to hear she is just broody!

  • Amy

    Awh! Poor Tilly! But glad you’re deciding to hatch some more chicks… SO excited!!