Regular followers of this blog will be familiar with the legendary Sharing Sausages, who, over the years, graciously shared their wild grass with my flock. Here is a tribute post to them written by follower rosebudgie.
THE LEGENDARY IAN AND MARSHALL (not forgetting Eric …)
It had been many years since I’d had budgies in my life, and by 2007 the pressure was building. Then I saw this picture on a forum:
Ian on the left
I can’t say for sure, because there was a whole brood of similar chicks, but I’ve always felt that Ian was the budgie on the left: there’s a certain look in his eye … Anyhow, I drove to Oxford to meet the family (born in a big cage in a living room) and chose Ian to take away with me. Even before I got him home, I realised that, as I worked full-time, it would be crazy to try to keep a budgie on his own, and that I would need to return to Oxford as soon as possible to get him a friend.
Ian was absolutely over the moon when I brought his brother Marshall back the following Saturday: kissing him, preening him … he couldn’t get enough of him. It’s remembering this that has totally convinced me that, in the vast majority of cases, budgies do need to be with budgies.
Ian as a baby
Marshie as a baby
For the next ten years, Ian and Marshie colonized the living room. Theoretically their home was the Mini Manor but, especially in their younger years, most of the time they were out and about, flying from cage top to picture frame to window perch to curtain rail, tearing the leaves off my (non-toxic-to-budgies) house plant till it was completely naked.
From the window they would observe the seasons changing:
Ian & Marshall looking out the window
Ian on the window perch
Marshall on the crane’s beak
And they particularly loved to kiss and canoodle in the curtains:
Ian and Marshall canoodling
As they got older, podgier and lazier, even though the cage was usually left open, they often couldn’t be bothered to leave it after an initial morning flight. I set up a webcam so that, when I was at work, I and their other fans (including, of course, Sweetpea) could watch them eating, snoozing and – in Ian’s case particularly – loudly addressing the nation from the perch in full view of the camera.
Apart from the odd spat, the boyz got on wonderfully well – though they could be fussy about having their personal space encroached on, and they would only share the long horizontal swing (big enough in fact for at least three budgies) under duress:
Ian & Marshall sharing the swing
They also had a two-tiered swing and, at night, one of them would always sit on the top rung, and sometimes the other would dare to sit on the bottom rung, an unmissable target for overnight poops from above:
Ian & Marshall on the two tiered swing
We were lucky enough to have over ten years of happiness together until, on the evening of July 3rd this year, Marshie managed to escape. Frightened by a loud bang, he got into the kitchen, where the window was open … Despite an intensive ad and poster campaign, I haven’t seen him since the half-hour I spent up a neighbour’s step-ladder, trying to coax him down from the roof. Marshie was always strong-willed and refused to be persuaded.
Needless to say, Ian and I were devastated, and it was obvious that I needed to find Ian a companion for his teenage years as soon as possible. I didn’t want to get a baby budgie, who could well have been too boisterous for a budgie who was getting on and set in his ways. And so I found Eric, who had lived his first two years in an aviary:
I’d bought a new Mini Manor just before Marshie left, in order to replace the rather battered old one, and I set it up in my bedroom. After the quarantine period, Eric was wheeled into the living room for Ian to inspect:
Ian and Eric meet
And they were soon getting on like a house on fire:
Ian & Eric getting on
But alas and alack, after only two or three weeks together, Ian became quiet and withdrawn. He was obviously not well, and on September 12th he died of a cardiac arrest during hospitalisation at the avian vets’ in Swindon.
I had to agree to a post-mortem in order to find out what exactly had been wrong with him, in case there were implications for Eric, and after the initial visual examination had noted inflammation in the isthmus, an area of the intestines which is a key site for Avian Gastric Yeast (AGY), a highly infectious condition very difficult to treat, I was on tenterhooks till the histology report came through.
It was with enormous relief that ten days later I learned that Ian had not had AGY. As Eric had never really become a ‘house’ bird (he just didn’t understand toys) and was unlikely to do so without Ian as a role model, I decided it would be best to take him back to the aviary he came from, before the weather got too cold for him to adapt.
‘I don’t suppose the others will remember him, will they?’ I said to his breeder as we watched his flock of 70 or so birds zooming round the aviary.
‘Oh yes,’ he assured me, ‘they will!’
The new Mini Manor is now in storage, cleaned and disinfected, until the day comes when the budgie bug bites me again.