Oh God. For nearly two and a half years there has been a clear leader in the gobby chicken leaderboard: Doris. She has owned this dubious accolade with her shrill baby seagull impression. Many a tea towel has been shook in her direction in a bid to shut her up when a passing cloud or rustling leaf has spooked her. But now she has competition. And, dear Lord, it's an assault on the eardrums.
If Doris sounds like a baby seagull, Gladys sounds like a cross between Alan Carr and one of these things:
Yep, it's a skeksis. From 'The Dark Crystal'. It makes a sort of 'Hmmmmmm?' noise, as if curiously inquiring. It's a sound that lingers, just past the limit of human endurance. I have a skeksis impersonator living in my garden. And she is LOUD. And she really likes to sing.
This is a problem. There is currently no known way of muzzling a gobby chicken. She is impervious to the tea towel flappage. Chasing her only makes her squawk more. Treats merely stall her ghastly song. Just yesterday, as she began her unlovely serenade, the ever tolerant husband looked up from his paper and inquired: 'Who the hell is being strangled out there?'. I pretended I couldn't hear anything. I doubt this will work for long.
So, wat to do? Well, there's nothing I can do to be honest. I can only hope and pray that Gladys is making such a racket because she is coming in to lay, and that once spring has sprung she'll settle down. When Hilda goes to lay her egg, her frizzled mate has taken to sitting with her, shrieking encouragement. Even the other hens seem irritated by Gladys's need to be heard, and mabel has taken to chasing her around the garden in an effort to make her breathless just so that she shuts up. It doesn't work, merely delays the inevitable.
I am beginning to hope that chickens can get laryngitis.