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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. 


Filtering by Tag: animal enrichment

The Day I Took Ellies Toys Away.

sandy mcpadden

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

And this beautiful lady is to blame. 

parrot foraging parrot enrichment

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. 

parrot foraging parrot enrichment

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. 

parrot foraging parrot enrichment

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. 

parrot foraging parrot enrichment

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. 

parrot foraging parrot enrichment

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. 

parrot foraging parrot enrichment

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. 


No Business like Snow Business

sandy mcpadden

A story about Louie the lop. 

I recently moved to the midwest. 

I am from Arizona. 


rabbit enrichment

Im not a fan of snow. 

Louie the lop from Arizona has never experienced snow. 

I brought in some snow. 

rabbit enrichment

The original intent was to use the snow bin as a foraging activity, hence the romaine and cranberries. 

Louie, in true Louie fashion, ignored my original intent and used it as a digging box. 


Louie the lop decided today that snow in his living room is the best. 

The End. 

*If you want to know if snow is safe to play in,  here is an article on NPR speaking to a couple scientists about it.*



The Right Stuff(ed)

sandy mcpadden

When you read the title of this post, Im going to need you to think of New Kids on the Block. The Right Stuff, get it? Stuffed animal? OK then. 

Stall rest isn't fun for anyone involved, but make it a baby on stall rest and it's the worst. Two upsides to foals on stall rest. 1) Mom can keep them company (because misery loves company) and 2) Babies are a tad more receptive to new weird things. 

Manipulating things orally is what horses do as a part of their natural behavioral repertoire so, why not give them things that you don't mind being manipulated? Playing with a toy is a much better alternative to dismantling your automatic waterers or worse, developing a habit like weaving or cribbing. Preventing abnormal behavior is often easier than reducing them once they've become established. 

This little dude was interested in the rope that I hung his banana pony pop from, so I made sure to find a durable dog toy with a rope tail. A rope toy probably would have worked but thats not nearly as fun.  Every time I went into his stall the stuffed toy was in the shavings, so I would just pick him up and stick him somewhere new. Elf on a shelf style. Novelty of the environment is another great way to enrich their worlds. 

Handsome kid, isn't he? 

Catering to an animals natural behaviors and helping them solicit them is a great way to keep a healthy mind and body. Just because playing with stuffed animals isn't seen in horses who are kept on pasture, doesn't mean the behaviors displayed aren't the same. Oral manipulation to explore the environment is seen while turned out, and can be duplicated on stall-rest too.