Lola’s Foraging Feeder
August 26, 2011 § 2 Comments
The majority of Lola’s diet is fed in two square meals: one fresh, raw meal in the morning, and one cooked meal in the evening. I have yet to figure out a good way to get her to forage for these meals without creating a dire mess, so unfortunately I have resigned myself to the fact that these meals will simply be free fed. But she also gets dry food or bird bread in her cage, however, during the day, just in case (since I do work full time). Although she does have several foraging toys that she enjoys, I have mostly used them simply for treats rather than for actual food, and her dry mixes typically just get plopped into another bowl in her cage like any other meal. I’ve recently decided that I am going to make a strong effort to stop allowing her to free feed during the day, in between her two big meals. The problem is, I’m lazy and not very creative, but I figured I could at least do something with a few foraging toy parts and a skewer.
It’s not pretty, but keep in mind that I made this in approximately sixty seconds. I looked through my toy parts and realized that I had some great things lying around that weren’t getting any use. So I threw together a plastic foraging cup, a natural wicker ball, and a cute little woven box on a stainless steel skewer. It’s super basic for now because Lola isn’t exactly an expert forager, but it’s very functional and it works! I put an Avian Organics Mini Truffle in the plastic cup (but in the future everything that goes in the plastic cup will be wrapped in a mini cupcake wrapper or some other paper liner– I have a plastic phobia), an in shell almond inside the wicker ball, and a square of Avian Organics Bird Bannock in the woven box.
Lola had a great time with it. She basically went easiest to hardest with it– first she extracted the Mini Truffle and gobbled it, then she went after the almond. She’s actually not a shredder at all and isn’t very interested in naturals, so a high value treat inside of one is really the only thing that will get her to play with them. In terms of strength or power, I know that Lola could rip up that little wicker ball in seconds, but for some reason she doesn’t like to break them really, so she tries to extract the almond while doing the least damage possible. It makes it actually quite the challenge for her… plus it means I can reuse the wicker balls! The woven box on the bottom actually had her quite confused though. I had to open it up and show her what was inside of it a few times before she realized that she should attempt to open it up. (She’s very visually motivated, I suppose. Out of sight, out of mind!) Eventually, she got to it! The best thing is, she really did have to work for her food, and it kept her busy for quite a long time.
I have a ton of different toy parts that I think would work well for this and will keep things interesting for her. I can definitely make the plastic cup a bit more challenging by putting something over the top that she has to move to get to the treat inside, and I’ve been eying some large leather shapes to do just that. I am also thinking about incorporating some wood beads, perhaps, in the cup, so that she has to get those out of the way as well before she gets to the food.
I also plan on using different boxes on the bottom. Because the one I used is woven with really small strands, it’s actually quite difficult to destroy– it almost feels more like fabric material than a shreddable toy part. So, Lola had to actually remove the cover to get at the bread inside. I don’t mind that, but I’d like her to have the option of both destroying the box and opening the lid. I noticed that Things for Wings has some lovely looking palm boxes that appear to be the same size and shape, and should be more easily destroyed. They also have a cylindrical version called the Pandan Box that looks especially crunchy and fun! We will definitely be stocking up on both of these on our next order to keep Lola’s foraging interesting and fun.
I’m optimistic about this toy as her new feeder, rather than free feeding in a bowl. I could use the box or the plastic foraging cup for a dry mix as well. It really has a lot of possibilities and will keep her working!