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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: cockatoo enrichment

Wrap it Up

sandy mcpadden

Thats right, you heard me. WRAP IT UP!

Your cage. Wrap up your cage. weirdo. 

parrot enrichment

We hang stuff. We put foot toys in...but there is SO much potential in the cage itself to be used as enrichment. In the wild, the environment is for the birds taking. To taste, to touch, to shit on. Those bars that keep my little "Ellie" safe when I'm not supervising her are never-changing. In the wild, cockatoos can spend 88% of their day foraging. How many hours of fun are you providing your bird? 

Lowes home improvement is my jam. They have what I need to put enrichment together, but sometimes they provide the enrichment itself! 

parrot enrichment

This is cord made from grass. Think softer than wicker but tougher than hay? 

parrot enrichment

Anywho, I bought it to string toys and to make new ones but, when I sat it down Ellie went right to work tearing it up, so I made it a toy itself. 

parrot enrichment

Im going to be honest. This took a stupid amount of time, but it is SO fun! You can leave it as is or

  • weave herbs through it.

  • attach toys to it

  • sprinkle spices on it

Its a pretty cool way to utilize all of their space to offer the a change in their environment. 


She's a Nekkid, Shrimp Lovin Kind of Gal.

sandy mcpadden

Something tells me that the keyboard warriors are going to come after me once this blog is published. Put your 6plus away and relax! I am going to post a photo of Miss Ellie. I'm just going to put it right here. 

parrot enrichment parrot foraging


Ellies Short Tale

Ok, let me tell you the short version of Ellies story before PETA is at my door. As per her band, she was wild caught and imported about 26 years ago through Los Angeles. The rescue that I adopted her from was told that she lived in complete solitude in a bare wire rabbit cage for about 20 of those years. She then found herself with a nice couple who upgraded her to a size appropriate cage, but once they realized they couldn't offer her the life that she deserved she was relinquished into Little League Rescues care. Annette is the founder of the rescue and fostered this beautiful little "Too" in her own home. She began slowly introducing Ellie to toys, a proper pelleted diet (Harrisons), fresh produce, an outdoor aviary and some one-on-one loving that she SO craves. After a few visits with two different avian specialty veterinarians, it was determined that little Miss Ellie would potentially be able to regrow her wing feathers, but her body had been so severely damaged over the years that she would probably remain Nekkid. Her feather destruction has decreased a ton but its still there, just waiting for me to get too comfortable in our routine and she begins again. 

That brings me to today. I officially adopted Ellie in July, but we've known each other for the past year while she was in Little League Rescue. Right now I am helping her get settled into our new home in the midwest, then the plan is to conduct a functional assessment to figure out the function of the feather destruction. Here is an inforgraphic on the 4 functions of behavior:

For now the plan is to increase enrichment, increasentime in the fresh air and to introduce training. But, back to the reason you're even on this blog. SHRIMP. 

parrot enrichment parrot foraging

Now, even though I am confident that Ellie is receiving all of the nutrients that she needs from her pellets, adding novel food items are a great form of enrichment! When creating enrichment always think about the animals natural history. Cockatoos spend an incredible amount of time on the ground foraging. Not what you would have thought, huh? It is SO important to figure out what behaviors you want an animal to display before tossing toys at them. I would love to see Ellie eventually forage for her entire diet (pellets included) throughout her cage rather than eat from a bowl. For now though, we will start with foraging for high value items. 

High value treats like steamed shrimp are used when:

  • I am gone for work

  • home repairs are being done

  • my toddler wakes up with a wild hair

  • crazy storms roll in

Im nothing if not prepared. My freezer has some crazy concoctions just waiting to make an appearance. 

parrot enrichment parrot foraging

Some parrots are more destructive than others. Ellie has shown a CLEAR preference for paper, leaving plastic items relatively safe. Please supervise animals closely when introducing new enrichment. Always inspect living spaces daily to ensure everyone is safe. Because this was her first time meeting steamed Mr. Shrimpy, I kept it simple and stuck him in an empty wiffle ball. 

parrot enrichment parrot foraging

She. Went. To. Town. I think shrimp is so gross, but I will be her steaming queen if she appreciates the treat. 

parrot enrichment parrot foraging