Thursday, May 4, 2017

Boredom & Enrichment, part 2

Speaking of variety... we like to add enrichment to the chin's lives, when possible.

Many of our smaller cages have hay cube holders, which are basically a metal square tube that hay cubes can be put in the top, and slide down, sort of like a hopper feeder... but for hay cubes.  When we have volunteers, one of their never-ending tasks is to refill the hay cube holders.  The chins can't actually pull the cubes out of these holders, but can chew on them, while in the holder.  This reduces waste and reduces the chins peeing on the hay cubes and them getting thrown out with the dirty bedding (though, the cages without these holders do get hay cubes thrown in, regardless).

We also give toilet paper tubes.  My parents (thanks Mom and Dad!) save me their toilet paper and paper towel roll tubes, and these go to the chins.  The paper towel rolls get cut into three pieces, so even more use out of those.  For the chins under a year, we further cut them down the long side, to ensure no chins get stuck.  I usually save up the toilet paper tubes until I have enough to give every chin one, and then when volunteers come, they get to dole them out.  There is nothing cuter than the sound of 150 little mouths crunching and chewing on the toilet paper tubes.

Speaking of, if you ever wanted to help out / donate, but can't afford to... save toilet paper tubes for us.  If you bring them to us, it's free to help, and even if you ship them... you can flatten them down and mail them flat, and it won't cost you much at all.

Occasionally, if we really have a lot of help and are really caught up (ha! not lately... but once in like 10 blue moons), we'll do what we call "hay rolls."  A hay roll is a toilet paper tube stuffed with hay, so that the hay sticks out both ends.  So, again, we'll make up enough of these to give one to each chin and they get to eat, plus play, so double enrichment.  Double yay.

I've also seen people crumple up printer paper... like so...

...real simple for those kids that want to make chin toys...and give that to the chins.  It's light enough that they can carry it around, play with it, and chew it, and it won't hurt them.

Of course, they can also have playtime, or time where they interact with their people.

I've even heard of some people mixing in herbs with their chin's hay, to make what would be called a foraging mix.  The chins basically dig through the hay for the herbs.  Actually, we've even done this before with the toilet paper tubes... we've stuffed hay and herbs inside, and closed the ends (just folded them in).  The idea being, the chin can smell the hay and herbs, and the more they play and tug on the cardboard roll, the more they're going to get out, which will encourage them to keep going at it.

The point is, all of this adds some variety to a chin's life.  Their life is made up of eating, pooing (that's a big part, come on), sleeping, chewing, and taking dust baths... so we like to add a little bit of variety to the mix.  This stuff may seem minor, but it can be the little things that keep our furry family members amused and happy.  

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