Catching Miffy, by Jo Barlow
How do you catch a chicken like Miffy? With great difficulty, it would seem. Now Miffy, The Miffster is many things — clever, feisty, a willow-the-wisp, a clown — but a cuddler she is not. Some girls love a cuddle. They will ask, wings upstretched, to be picked up, or they will flap onto your lap for a chat. Some will sit on your shoulder and nestle into your hair. Some girls, though, are convinced that you are trying to kill them. Despite endless years of affection from you, in their chicken minds you are hell-bent on murdering them. They may rush delightedly towards you to eat treats and pretend to love you, but reach out a cautious hand to stroke them and they are off. And that is sadly the case with Miffy. Last year, some of you may remember that she had some nasty eggs stuck inside her that Chicken Legend Uncle Jason the Vet cleverly removed. Catching her that time had been a doddle as she was such a sick girl.
However, this year, after Miffs laid a couple of softies, we booked in to see Uncle Jason for her (annual) implant. And so my troubles started. Foolishly, I had booked an appointment when my husband, Gary, was away, so I was flying solo in the chicken catching department. I failed — dismally — and had to ring the vet and confess my shame. Miffs, on the other hand, was triumphant. She had the waft of victory in her chicken nostrils.
But Gary returned and the dreaded Catching Day #2 dawned. It included two humans kitted out in macs and thick gloves, one bowl of scrambled egg, one bowl of mealworms, one cat basket and a nonchalant whistle. Had it been a bit later in the day, a couple of stiff gins would also have been included. For the humans, obviously.
Eating egg with her knickers in the air, Miffs was at her most catchable