EnrichBits: A monthly look at animal enrichment
You may have noticed on your last visit to the Museum, that our farmyard rabbit Nimbus has recently made a move out of her hutch and into the space where our chickens lived. When we decided to retire our 2 older Dominique chickens (they moved to a great home in Tobaccoville where Keeper Larry’s friend is taking care of them), we figured that yard and stall would be a great place to house Nimbus.
We were pretty excited to give her a bigger space, and also excited for all the enrichment opportunities this new space provides. Nimbus has the yard section during the day when we are open to visitors. The ground in the yard is stonedust, and so far she has spent a lot of time digging divets, burrows, and even a tunnel through a big pile of stonedust that we put down. We are able to spread her hay around, scatter her food in many places, and give her “furniture” to explore, rub against, and sit under. There are lots of places to hang her mineral lick and her veggie kabob! At night, when we close, she moves into the stall, where she has a different bedding—wood chips. Housing her inside at night keeps her safe from inclement weather and keeps her from digging under her fence. The night stall has a litter pan, different furniture, and most interestingly, a duck right on the other side of the fence! Our farmyard duck, Scout, beds down overnight in the stall right next to hers, and they can see each other through the fences. All in all, Nimbus’s new pad involves many of those good subcategories of enrichment. She gets social interaction with the duck, a change of environments frequently, and a living space design that helps her use natural rabbit behavior! Of course we add a variety of toys for her to play with, jingle, chew, and smell. Let us know what you think of Nimbus’s new enriching living space!