Frank Birdsong, a friend to Phoenix Landing and a yellow-bibbed lory owner, shared a wonderful enrichment idea based on Leigh Ann Hartsfield’s great class on Edible Enrichments held earlier this year.
“I clip dehydrated fruit to the cage for Bingé to work on. He delights in attacking and destroying the fruit and even in eating some of it. Bear in mind that Bingé is a lorry, soft-billed, not a ‘jaws of life’ macaw.
I finally found the perfect clips for this. They are from Bed Bath and Beyond and have the tightest grip I have found in plastic clips. The bar code for the clip reads: “73287 90025.”
I cut apple slices or bananas for dehydrating, but I cut them about 1½ times the recommended thickness for dehydration. I dehydrate them until they are tough like firm rubber, not brittle, so it takes an effort for my lory to tear the fruit apart.
I position the clip around the cage bar so the bar is not pinched; rather, it is loose between the teeth of the clip and the spring and handle assembly. This way the clip of fruit is free to move around as Bingé fiddles with it and tries to pull it apart.
I clip several of the fruit to hang from the top of the cage and along the sides of the cage, separated as much as possible, so he has to work to get at them. I wrap some of them in paper so he has to figure it out and before he gets to the dehydrated fruit. Then he has to pick at the fruit which is tough enough not just to fall apart from his assault.
Initially the fruit is positioned in the clip so that about 1/3 of it is exposed and 2/3 is behind the teeth of the clip where the cage bar is. That allows the clip to hold tight to the fruit. After Bingé succeeds in destroying the exposed fruit, I move half of what’s left so he can get to it. Later I move the rest so he can get at it. These might be a morning position, a position for when I come home from work, and a last position a while before Bingé goes to sleep. As the fruit is dehydrated it does not spoil even though it is out all day.”
Thanks for sharing this great idea, Frank, and for describing it so well. I love learning from all of you, and look forward to our exceptional classes next year.