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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. 

 

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

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.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. 

The Day I Took Ellies Toys Away.

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That't right, I said it. I took Ellies toys away. 

And this beautiful lady is to blame. 

I push enrichment down the throats of anyone who will listen. You have a dog? yeah, you're learning about enrichment. You have a neighbor who's sister used to have a bird? Yeah, you're learning about enrichment too. 

Sometimes I forget to think like a zookeeper with my pets at home. If you're new here, then you haven't heard me talk about how zookeepers are the most creative enrichment creators in the entire world.

Zookeepers are the most creative enrichment creators in the entire world. 

The #1 go-to enrichment at zoos has to be a tie between cardboard boxes (cats aren't the only ones who love a good box) and browse. When I say Browse, I mean natural tree/shrub/plant clippings that are safe for the animal getting them. 

I am still new to the Midwest and not that great with plant identification off the top of my head so browse doesn't jump out at me like it did in AZ. But, as I was trimming this tree in my front yard I figured I should see what she was. 

Naturally, its a parrot safe tree that I have been walking by a million times a day and not sharing with my bird...whoops. 

Anyways, my tree happens to be a Hawthorn and she is listed as parrot safe here and here

Do me and your pets a favor and walk around your property and familiarize yourself with whats growing around you. You'll be blown away by what is growing in your own garden. 

Like the name implies, she has thorns. Even though I think that Ellie would probably be fine with some thorns, these things were no joke. 

So I nipped them off before filling her cage. 

We don't use pesticides or fertilizers on our property so I feel comfortable using browse from my yard. I would be a tad more cautious taking browse from unfamiliar locations. 

I only put browse in half of her cage and left her door open to give her the opportunity to stay away if it was a little too scary. But, in true Ellie fashion, she blew off my concern and dove straight into it. 

Bring the outside in sometimes. Let them be birds and shred some shit up. We all know that its what they love to do and what a great way to change up their environment and try something new. 

P.S you'll be cleaning up a huge mess. I remove it all the next day and bring back the basic toys. This fun doesn't last forever. 

 

About that Egg Cup

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There is an easy rule to feeding rabbits. Always have free access to hay and you can feed about an egg cup full of pellets per bun a day. That being said, lets make a festive supervised foraging toy! 

We could get way more nitty gritty about diets here, but I am no expert on nutrition so I will leave that to your veterinarian to discuss with you. 

I am, however REALLY good at helping animals display natural behaviors so, lets do that! 

 

Heres what you'll need:

  • Fillable Easter Eggs
  • Drill
  • Pellets
  • Espadrilles (Sort of Optional, but they really help get you in the Spring feel)

 

Just drill a hole or two a tad larger than your pellet size in each egg, scoop some pellet in and your done. 

Easy, right?!

I would only suggest this foraging toy be used supervised. While its great fun, novel, and allows them the exercise their bodies and minds...the plastic is flimsy and not suitable for alone time.