Put your pumpkin spice latte away, it's still summer. My maple tree out front popped out a red leaf and she's stressing me out. Im from Arizona so this whole "fall" thing in Indiana is cramping my style. Its still warm enough to lay out and that means it's still warm enough for some melon fun, OK? OK.
I have two little roommates and they don't understand the concept of shared space, which means I see their things all over the floor, and POOF Ive got an epiphany. and a new toy.
Enrichment has a reputation for being expensive and intricate(and it can be! just look at some cool shit going on at the Indianapolis Zoos International Orangutan Center and how about all of the fun going on at the St. Louis Zoo?) But it certainly doesn't have to be. What really matters with creating enrichment is helping an animal exhibit "species typical", or natural behaviors. You would want to encourage stalking prey in your pet rabbit because thats not in their natural repertoire (and it would be really trippy to see a rabbit hunt). So, I made the geese out at Omas Haus (my moms farms) in Arizona a cool treat.
Looks super fun, right? Its obviously easy to make and lends itself to a ton of creative combinations to suit the needs of various foraging animals. Some Geese in natural habitats spend up to 95% of daylight foraging! I am 100% positive the geese at Omas Haus don't spend close to half of the day foraging because even when they are free-ranging, they're given two heaping meals a day (a game fowl crumble/scratch mix with whatever goodies come out of the kitchen that day) because they're the luckiest geese in the world (But, I swear every spring when the hen gets broody and her beau gets 7 kinds of protective I am tempted to offer him to the nearest dinner table. If you have geese you know that getting grabbed by a goose and beaten repeatedly with his wing is the best way to start your morning. so stupid).
Anyways. The geese at Omas Haus are healthy. The geese at Omas Haus are happy. The geese at Omas Haus are so lucky that hers is the home that they found themselves at BUT, we can make their lives even better. By increasing the difficulty of foraging, we can increase the time it takes for them to eat, and by increasing the time it takes for them to eat, we are decreasing their down-time. With animals, down-time typically turns into time spent doing things they shouldn't. Think about it. Dog bored while you're at work=shoes destroyed. Bored kids in a waiting room=they can clear a waiting room with whining. By being proactive with increasing "species specific" behaviors, we can curb unwanted behaviors before they stop.
Here is what you need:
Then, all you do is go Edward Scissor Hands on that mess and start stuffing it into the Oball. BAM. Donezo.
Now, the geese will work a tad harder to get their breakfast (giving their noggins a good work out) and spend a tad more time foraging.
Look mom, no mess! I made another salad for the chickens. This can be tossed in the water or on the grass, lending itself to be manipulated in a variety of ways. An OBall in the water is going to encourage beak use, where on the grass you're going to see a lot of foot work. Both awesome.
Make this even MORE fun by adding live mealworms...maybe tomorrow Ill swing by and pick some up for the ladies in the hen house.