Gladys is my black frizzle pekin. It took me two years to track her down, and the ever tolerant husband had a 90 mile round trip to pick her up. She is a lovely, fluffy, curly girl. Or, as the ever tolerant husband puts it, she looks like a pekin that has held on too long to the dynamite in a Warner Bros. cartoon. Whatever your view on frizzled feathered fowl, she is undisputedly distinctive.
Unfortunately, at the moment, she's even more distinctive. Gladys has had a go at being broody recently, and as a result plucked her chest and belly. Never a dignified look at the best of times. However, Gladys has accompanied this self styling with a partial moult. And when I say partial, I really mean just her head. I might be the only chicken keeper in the country in possession of a hen with a rapidly receding hairline.
She is taking her ugly duckling status hard. She shrieks her Skeksis complaint call at everyone and everything. The serama have taken to hiding from her, and even the other pekins are giving her a wide berth. The newspaper on the coop floor feels the brunt of her temper, and she is spending a lot of time shrieking in the coop and flinging strips of mutilated broadsheet out of the pop hole door. The others wisely let her go to bed first, and only venture in to the coop when she's settled down to sleep. No one risks perching next to her. To add insult to injury, I have smothered her in mite powder as a precaution. So now she looks like a middle aged, balding goth with dandruff. It's a hard look to rock, frankly.
To be fair to Gladys, growing new feathers is an uncomfortable process. Spotting that her crop area looked red earlier, I grabbed her for a closer look. As soon as my hands sank in to her under feathers, I could feel the sharp quills of her new plumage poking through. Unsurprisingly, she squawked and then pooed copiously down my trouser leg. I gently returned her to terra firma. She shook herself, muttered darkly, and stalked back in to the shrubbery where she still lies like a malevolent, balding feather duster.
I'm not going to disturb her.