Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Tilly is Sick

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.

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

  • Leslie

    I'm keeping Tilly in my thoughts. I just lost my PeeWee overnight last night. He was my first ever little frizzle roo. He was your chicken of the day a few weeks ago. I nursed him for a week not knowing what was wrong. I tried everything. You're lucky to have a vet that knows chickens. I never thought I'd fall in love with a chicken. Now I love 18 of them.
    I hope Tilly feels better soon!! <3

  • I will be praying for you and Tilly. I know how hard it can be when they are ill.

  • Anonymous

    I will keep Tilly and her Momma in my thoughts and prayers. My "girls" are like my children and are worried over and nurtured every day. Tilly looks so much like my head hen Blackie and from your description of Tilly, act much the same. I will be waiting to hear news of her vet visit.
    Best wishes,

  • I am so sorry you are going thru this and I feel your pain. I pray for Tilly and for you and hope she gets thru this quickly and back to her old self. <3

  • Tilly! You get better soon!

  • My thoughts are with you and dear Tilly. Thank you for your words. You write so eloquently and as a new friend, I feel as if we are neighbors.

  • Blessings! Tilly is like the animal messengers I have had in my life. I have come to the conclusion that I get their messages sooner than I would from people. We lost our big boer buck, Fred, today. He taught me to enjoy every day and to love unconditionally. Tilly isn't just a bird, she is your Muse! Bless her soul!<3 Frances

  • fingers crossed for Tilly that the vet can help her back to her normal self

  • So sorry Tilly. Be blessed and strong. Prayers going up for you and your family.

  • I'm So sorry to hear Tilly isn't feeling well. I will say a pray for her speedy recovery. Diane ~ The Lazy Chicken Coop

  • Their illnesses do sneak up on even the most observant chicken-mamas… but they have this remarkable ability to recover. My Dilly was sick and was even coughing up blood, I really thought it was the end and just held her and was said goodbye to her every way I could think of. The next morning, I looked in the playpen and she was roosting and wide awake like nothing had happened.

    I hope Tilly makes a speedy recovery !

  • While I have no chickens of my own, I would love nothing more….and I've come to love your blog and your sweet girls. I'm so sad that Tilly is not well. She will most certainly be in my thoughts and I do pray that it's nothing serious. My heart goes out to both of you!!!

  • Oh poor girl! I hope she bounces back. They are so fragile. Perhaps she's just deppressed about the lack of chicks 😉

  • I will be waiting to hear how Tilly is doing. Hugs to you….and Tilly.

  • Caroline

    So sorry Tilly doesn't feel well, breaks my heart. I hope the vet can find out what's wrong with her. I'll say a special little prayer for her tonight 😀


  • Oh, no. Not Tilly!!! I do hope it's nothing and that she's just broody.

  • Kp

    Sending good ju-ju vibes to your leading lady!

  • I am new to chicks (hatched 4/30) so am happy to have found your blog and enjoy reading along. I hope Tilly is ok. I will keep good thoughts!

  • I thought my broody hen was sick. Hopefully she is just putting extra drama into the effort. Good luck with her.

  • Anonymous

    Is she egg-bound?

  • I send all my love from Australia. Get well soon Tilly! 🙁

  • I am praying that Tilly makes a full recovery. I know what it is like to care so much for a remarkable pet chicken. She reminds me of our SS, Coral. Tilly is a strong girl, and with you for a mommy, she is in the best hands.

  • try giving her a small Asprin. It works on my girls.

  • I'll be keeping Tilly and you in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so sorry to hear she is sick.
    Your blog is inspiring and so full of great tips for raising backyard chickens. Thank you for a wonderful site.

  • Anonymous

    I am sure you are thinking of all the possibilities, but my broody became very infested with mites. They are easy prey when they are bound to their box. I learned a lot about mites on your site! Best of luck with Tilly. Dianne

  • I am praying for Tilly. Hope she gets well soon!

  • I love this line: "It is amazing what your life and heart can lead you to if you chose to follow it."

    Like you, I was nervous three years ago when I began my journey of keeping chickens, but they have taught me so much and literally changed my life.

    I'll be sending positive vibes Tilly's way! I'm dealing with several sick hens at the moment so I know how tough it is. Hang in there! 🙂

  • Get well, Tilly!! I love reading about you!

  • Oh, Tilly sick? I so hope and pray that it isn't serious; praying for her and for her Mamma, and sending love.

  • Oh no! Best wishes for Tilly. I hope she feels better soon.

  • I'm wishing the best for Tilly! She's such a special chick that I really hope she pulls through.
    *hugs for you both*

  • My thoughts and prayers are with you and Tilly for a speedy recovery!

  • snapshot_fanatic

    Oh No, I know by experience that your whole day is interrupted when there is trouble in the coupe. I SO hope that she is going to be alright. I know you will keep us updated to tilly's prognosis. This is very worrisome indeed.

  • Kathleen Lewis

    Ohhh not Tilly! They are so sweet and then so miserable when they don't feel good. We have 17 hens and 2 roosters. We've had a few bouts of issues ourselves so I commiserate with you. Bless her heart. I hope she feels better soon.

  • Jen

    🙁 Sending you and Tilly love and prayers.

  • My thoughts are with you and your dear Tilly! May she call on her chicken strength and pull through!!

  • Anonymous

    Hoping Tilly is recouping,waiting for updates:( I know
    what this feeling is like, especially when it is one of
    my many favorites.

  • Anonymous

    I hope sweet Tilly pulls through. I'll be waiting anxiously to hear what the vet has to say.

  • Thank you to EVERYONE who left a comment today. I was just so exhausted that I hope you can forgive me for not taking the time to answer all of you individually like I usually do. You all are amazing and I feel so blessed to have each and every one of you in our lives. <3