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Getting started with foraging

Enclosure, cage, nest box, building and enrichment ideas for any species.

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Getting started with foraging

Postby minervasden » Mon Nov 09, 2015 3:54 pm

A few simple ideas and common materials to help get you started offering foraging opportunities to your pets

Start easy and increase difficulty, some animals don’t know how to forage at first. For example offer an open or loosely closed cardboard box so that the animal can see/smell the food/treat. Then move to a tightly closed box and then to gift wrapped box and then a paper mache coated box.

Vary the presentation. You could give it to the animal directly, place it in the enclosure while the animal can see, or hide it in the enclosure while the animal is elsewhere. Use all levels that can be accessed. Don’t forget about hanging items including items that the animal needs to pull towards themselves

Offer a toy or activity several times before deciding your pet isn’t interested. The exception would be if the animal is overly fearful and stressed by the object. Remember to rotate enrichment so it doesn't become routine and uninteresting.

Knowing your pet's needs is your responsibility. This is just a materials list that covers a variety of species. Not all materials are safe for all individuals or species and all that disclaimer stuff.

A few commonly available materials to create with:
Commercial foraging and treat toys
Any safe children’s toy with stuff able spaces
Make a brush pile from twigs, small branches, and browse trimmings
Leftover Christmas trees clear of ornaments, fake snow, etc.
Paper bags
Cardboard boxes
Cardboard tubes without glue residue
Paper Mache
Shredded paper
Mulch, leaf litter, wood chip bedding
Drinking Straws
Plastic baskets
Wicker type baskets
Wire baskets and suet holders
PVC pipes and elbows
Hollow logs
Cholla wood
Clean empty eggshells
Clam shells (still hinged)
Ball pit balls
Wiffle balls
Tennis balls
Rocksand pebbles
Storage drawers (come in many sizes). See link at bottom for example.
Paper cups
Dirt/Soil
Sections/panels of fence
Clothespins and other clips with or without suction cups
Wreathes and wreath forms
Large lettuce of other safe leaves
Wooden beads and balls
Buckets
Barrels
Those little plastic ’bubbles’ that you get from the small toy vending machines
Hollow plastic Easter eggs
Milk/plastic crates
Wooden crates cleared of nails, staples, splinters, other hazards
Wild bird feeders-there are MANY styles
Blocks of untreated wood with holes bored in them
Tissue , wrapping, craft/packing paper
Hay nets
Trees, shrubs, rock formations which are added or naturally occurring in an enclosure
Coconut halves
Hay and Straw
DIY/other fake birds nests
Plastic jugs and bottles from nontoxic products
Hollowed out produce such as pumpkins and melons
Bamboo poles (hollow)
Floating rafts in water feature or kiddie pool, etc. as appropriate
Storage bins, covered litter boxes, etc.

Super easy examples
I may put some leaf litter plus food/treats in a small kiddie pool
I may put some treats in a basket that I hang so that the only way to get it is to climb above it and pull it up
I could fill a box with wiffle balls most of which are plain but a handful have treats-have to forage through the box.

If you still need ideas or don't understand something on the list, just ask and I'm sure someone will try and help icon-smile

Storage drawer example: http://www.target.com/p/sterilite-3-drawer-desktop-storage-unit-black/-/A-15133634?ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=15133634&ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Storage%2BOrganization%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Storage%2BOrganization&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=1023496&gclid=CL6JrMWIhMkCFQOUaQod8XYKLQ&gclsrc=aw.ds
I stay in the dark because too much light will blind you

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