Tilt is a Cornish Cross chicken. A breed of chicken who have been genetically altered to be raised for their flesh.

Tilt when he was found in an RSPCA approved chicken shed.

Tilt was rescued from an RSPCA approved ‘broiler’ shed in August 2018. As I walked the length of the shed, the 5-week-old babies all moved away from me, except for one little guy, who was unable to move, sitting face down, trembling, in 5 weeks’ worth of excrement. As I picked him up I could see that he was unable to hold his head up due to his bent, twisted neck. I took him home, named him Tilt and so began his new life.

Nicole runs Rosie’s Hospice of Compassion, nursing the sick, injured and palliative chickens who are taken in by Melbourne Chicken Rescue. The minute she saw Tilt, she fell in love and took him home. Because of his terrible start to life, Tilt was fraught with many issues. His neck issue turned out to be wry neck, caused by lack of nutrition at a very young age, meaning he had eating and drinking issues, sinus problems, ear infections and neck spasms.

Tilt enjoying an adventure out in his pram.

Nicole immediately set up a recovery plan for him, with many vet visits, medications, vitamins, exercise, therapies and lots of love and attention. She had the hospice room full of interesting items such as photos of his favourite people all over the wall to look at, shiny, sparkly hanging mobiles, all encouraging Tilt to keep his head up, to improve his chances of recovering from his multiple issues. He even had his own iPad to watch his favourite cartoons on, Josie and The Pussycats! He still loves that iPad today.

Tilt and his friends Lizzie and Ivy.

Nicole’s care and dedication has seen Tilt blossom into the amazing rooster he has become; funny, cheeky, naughty, happy, sad, curious, experiencing the whole spectrum of emotions that you and I do.

Tilt and Nicole’s oldest dog Comet became best buddies, and when Comet sadly passed away last year, Tilt was as grief stricken as all of us. He is aware that Comet is no longer there living with him, often just standing looking at the empty spot on the couch where Comet used to sleep.

Tilt having a lovely day in the sunshine at the beach.

As his breed is designed to keep growing until they are slaughtered at 6 to 7 weeks of age, it’s a constant battle to keep his weight down. The excessive weight also causes ‘bumblefoot’, infected calluses, from constant pressure on the soles of his feet. For this he has foot spas, red light therapy, massage and his feet are sometimes bandaged. Due to his genetic manipulation, he has been in constant critical care his whole life. Nicole’s world has revolved around keeping him alive and happy, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. He brings so much joy to so many.

Tilt aboard the Sea Shepard vessel.

Tilt, who will be 3 yrs old in July, lives his life to the fullest. He goes on ‘walks’ in his pram, goes on picnics, goes to the beach and parks, rides in the car, visits his friends and he’s pretty sure he runs the hospice, visiting all the residents to make sure that they have food (that he wants to steal), water and are comfortable. One of his best adventures ever was the day he was invited onto the Sea Shepherd boat, the Steve Irwin, to collect goods they were donating to Melbourne Chicken Rescue. He was captain of the ship for a day! He has his own bed, but prefers to creep in next to Nicole at about 3 or 4am every morning for a cuddle and then does a few ‘alarm clock’ crows.

Lizzie and Tilt having a cuddle. Image: Tamara Kenneally Photography

There are 551 million little lives just like Tilt, brutally slaughtered each year at 6 to 7 weeks of age, to satiate the human desire to consume their flesh. Each of these little lives have the potential to be Tilt.

Tilt is one of the lucky few who are saved. He is living the life they all deserve.

Melbourne Chicken Rescue

Melbourne Chicken Rescue is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of chickens who come from situations of exploitation, abuse, neglect and abandonment. Melbourne Chicken Rescue is committed to showing that all chickens deserve respect and compassion, by treating all with dignity, love and the best of care.

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