Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I had to ask my mum and dad to budgie-sit

YOU may have heard of pampered pouches, or even cosseted canaries but the lady of one Suffolk house is besotted with budgerigars! ANDY ABBOTT reports.

FATHER and son Steve and Guy Rodwell, have been well down the pecking order in their Suffolk home.


Besotted over budgies: Karen Rodwell from Bury St Edmunds with her fifteen year old budgerigars Snowy and Joey who put her husband Steve and son Guy, 8, well down the pecking order.


Steve's wife Karen inherited a pair of budgie brothers Snowy and Joey, after they appeared in a friend's aviary as the result of a naughty liaison. The budgies have now celebrated their fifteenth birthday, and it's all down to Karen's care and attention - which Steve jokes definitely makes him the underdog in the house.

Life is certainly a trill a minute as Karen, 47 makes sure “her boys” have the best.
Snowy and Joey
While Steve, 54 and eight-year-old Guy eat food from the supermarkets, the budgies get only the best. Up before the beak is daily fresh veg - the favourite being mange tout (always raw and has to be from Africa), succulent grapes (must be seedless), parsley (must be flat leafed), and mineral water, “obviously my husband has his out of a tap!!”

The budgie brothers only eat Trill, and on their birthday and Christmas always get a treat of millet and wrapped presents.

And it is not only food and drink the birds get that Steve is envious of, they have the best living conditions with lights on a timed dimmer for them, radio on for background music, their own radiator spot to keep them nice and warm in winter, and the television to keep them interested. Their favourite programmes are anything showing football, motorsport and Channel Four racing.

Steve bemoans his lot: “Sometimes when they get tired and want to roost, they go berserk so we have to turn down the lights and adjourn to the kitchen for the evening”.

The couple from Gilstrap Road, Bury St Edmunds, have been married for nine years and the budgerigars have been part of their life from day one.

Steve met Karen at her home in Sudbury for their first date, and he thought she had younger brothers and sisters because her parents arrived to “baby sit.”

Karen said: “I had this hot date but had to get mum and dad round to budgie sit because I had been at work all day and they just had to have their fly around”.

More recently, even a special 50th birthday treat for Steve with a trip to Paris meant a visit to a specialist bird market where they stocked up on fresh bird food, that could only be obtained dried at home.

And Karen thinks her TLC has made her boys two of the oldest budgies in the country.

“They normally only live five or six years, although I read recently there was one that was 17 but that was a single bird living on its own. To have a pair and brothers must be very unusual.

“They are wonderful pets, they used to fly around a lot but not now they are older. Joey has got gout so I bought them a new bigger cage so they could get their exercise flying from perch to perch - I told Steve my dad bought it because he might have been angry I spent all that money on them.

“At the end of the day if you have a pet you should look after it well and that is all I am doing,”

Deep down Steve even has a soft spot for the family's feathered friends. Karen reveals she found him crying over his cornflakes one morning after he found Snowy was ill.

He said: “The missus thinks the world of those birds, I dread to think what will happen if I come downstairs one morning and one is flat on its back with his legs in the air.

“I'll have to sneak out and get a stuffed one and stick it on the perch. If she looks after me like she looks after those budgies I will live to 130!”

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