Shoot a Note To

sandy mcpadden behavior consulting 




The Buzz on Enrichment

Come and learn how to spice up your pets life! Follow The Buzz on Enrichment for great DIY enrichment for the animals in your world. 


Guess What? Pumpkin Butt.

sandy mcpadden

You went to a pumpkin patch this fall. I know you did. Did you grab some pumpkin love for your feathered beastie at home? 

No. No you didn't. 


Because, if you could make an awesome, simple, healthy, all natural, fully edible foraging toy. Ill give you a minute to run to the grocery store. 

All You Need Is:

  • Pumpkin
  • Greens
  • Knife
  • Drill

Clear out your pumpkin. Your parrots can eat the seeds, but for this I decided to save them for later. 

Drill some holes. 


Now, just shove all sorts of greens all up in your pumpkin. I chose kale and collard greens today because thats what was super green and on sale. I see your organic section, Safeway. 


Now hand it over. If I were cool I would have hung this, but this particular aviary is filled with rescue lovebirds from Little Lotus Rescue and Sanctuary who spent the majority of their lives in tiny toyless cages. Enrichment is a wee bit intimidating to them so making things difficult for them is only going to result in an untouched pumpkin and then what's the point? So, for these little nubbins they get a pumpkin on the floor to chit chat about for today. They went for the greens tonight and I will have their care taker update me in the AM. Over time we will offer enrichment of varying difficulty all over the aviary, but we start where they are most likely to be successful and for these guys its ground foraging. 


Leave No Trace: Canine Edition

sandy mcpadden

If you wear Chacos and own more than one bandana, then Leave No Trace is something you're probably familiar with. For everyone else, heres the gist. 

Leave No Trace is an ethical guide to embrace while enjoying the outdoors. Simply put, leave no trace of your having been there. The Center for Outdoor Ethics has a stellar website that goes into detail about the various principles involved if you want to learn more about it.  

You can break Leave No Trace into about 7 areas to think about, but one that divides pet owners is waste disposal. Womp Womp. 

So, what do you do with your dogs poo when your out and about?

Do you do the same on walks around the neighborhood as you do in State Parks? 

The official answer on how to properly dispose of poop is one of two options:

  1. Pack it in. Pack it out. 
  2. Bury it 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet from trails, water, and buildings

I'll be the first to admit that I used to treat walking my dogs downtown and heading off on trails VERY differently. AKA I was adamant about picking up poop on sidewalks and I didn't pick it up if it was off of the trail. my bad. BUT-You know better, you do better. If picking up my dogs poop will help preserve our natural places, I can do that. 


You choose whichever option works best for you and your crew, but now that you know about Leave No Trace, do better. 

You can dig cat holes to bury their poop in or you can bag it and take it out with you...OR you can be super cool and bring along a poop tube. 


I like to hike, but I'm not intense. In my head I imagine myself one day backpacking the Arizona Trail, until then I'll stick to my day hikes. BUT a girl can dream and some awkward google searches lead me to learn about "poop tubes." There are people out there that are SO cool and rock climb SO hard that on really big walls they have to have a way to dispose of human waste. The solution is a poop tube. 

Ill let that just sink in. Or float. 

Now, I still use my good ol' biodegradable doggy poop bags, I just have the greatest poop Nalgene to put it all into.  When you're out just bag your poop and throw it into your designated (preferably wide mouth) poop Nalgene and hang it on the outside of your pack. I recently upgraded to this cool color because being environmentally conscious doesn't have to be lame. 




Alright, so when I go somewhere, I roll deep.

I have a squad if you will- At least one dog and definitely my two little human sidekicks. 


I try to be as conscious as I can with reusable food packaging and pack whole foods to reduce waste, but who can hike without granola bars?! With granola bars come trash and with dogs come poop and when you know better you do better so Keep Calm and Carry a Poop Tube. 


The poop Nalgene is a great way for you to pack out yours and your dogs waste without having to carry around mini plastic wrapped stink bombs all day or be the guy who leaves bags of poo all along the sides of the trails for everyone to enjoy until you get back to them. 

Now, you have a place to stash all of your trash. The bottle locks in the smell, it stays on the outside of your pack, and when you get back to your trail head, just empty it out at the nearest bin before heading home. 

Leave No Trace. 

.ITS SPRING.Im so excited that I wet my plants.

sandy mcpadden

.Spring is my favorite. 

Everyone feels it. What do you think of when you think of Spring? Flowers growing and...

.Birds Singing.

I have cockatoos, so insert ear piercing shrieks where you would typically think of beautiful sing song melodies. If you have cockatoos, you feel me. How about those hormones? Yep. Broody hens? Got it. Molting? THANK whoever is upstairs. 

With spring comes new beginnings and fresh starts. Get your behavior modification program up to speed. No behaviors you want to decrease? Thats cool, step up your enrichment game.

How better to start than to knock out a few birds with one stone? <-except don't do that. 

.Lets make an herb basket. 


What you'll need:

  • soil
  • herbs
  • pot


So, I won't lie. I decided to do this because of this stellar pot from IKEA. Its powder coated steel and I can hang it wherever I want. Coolest part? The whole pot is solid so I don't have to worry about heads or toes getting caught anywhere. Done. 

The soil is from this cool company, Ecoscraps. I opted for this soil because its organic and consists of two ingredients: compost from plant material and compost from forrest material. no poop here. Dont stop there though, did you know that you can sterilize soil? Yeah, just pop some soil in your oven and cook to 160 degrees like research shows here to kill off mold, fungi, bacteria, and creepy crawlies that you don't want in your cage. Ill be honest though, I bring my parrots outside, they have an outdoor aviary and I bring browse in. They're exposed to a whole lot more than what comes in a bag of soil. 

Last, pick out some plants! I went with some of Bonnies Organic choices. Romaine Lettuce, Kale, Oregano, Basil, Spinach, and Dill. You can go crazy and choose some greens to fit your birds fancy and your green thumbs ability. 


I like simple. The more simple you keep things, the easier it is to keep up with it. This little garden is cool for a few reasons:

  • novel/healthy food choices
  • offers these choices in a novel way
  • change in environment...and this pot is easy to move around. 
  • promotes foraging and exercise. 

Hang it. Let them munch. Pull it out to let it recover.