So it’s February and obviously I’m only just clearing out leftover boxes etc from Christmas and I received a lovely little gift set from Zoella’s Beauty Range which contained four little cardboard crackers which each held a small bottle of something gingerbread-y. I had planned to create little parcels for my pets so that they could enjoy their fun as well, so of course, two months later (woops), that’s what I did.
Important note: if you don’t already know, enrichment is a way of making an animal in captivity’s life more interesting and it can be via food choices/presentation, toys or a change in environment. If you want to give an animal the best welfare and happiness, enrichment is key in achieving this.
Firstly, I stuffed around half of the crackers full of hay (I packed it in tightly) which was quite easy, except I would advise on cramming it in with a pen or pencil so that you know it’s tightly packed and there’s enough in there.
Next, I dropped around a handful of food into each cracker, along with two small rodent biscuits from Pets At Home. I have guinea pigs and gerbils so I made two crackers for each of them, meaning I put gerbil food in two and guinea pig food in the other two.
Finally, I stuffed the remaining part of the cracker with hay and closed it again. They went down really well with all the animals, however I would definitely recommend that if you plan to give these to guinea pigs, you either cut along the entire cracker so that there’s some give in the shape of it, or fully supervise them whilst they’re playing with them. The guinea pig I tested them with is quite podgy (and so couldn’t get her head in very far) but the smaller one got her head trapped in the cracker (they have cardboard on the inside which acts as barbs and traps their heads) and if you don’t keep an eye on them, they could be trapped for hours and it could impact on their hydration levels, food intake and could stress them to the point of fatality. So just be careful! The gerbils had no problems with them and just chewed them up, ate the food out of them and made them into bedding, so they were happy.
Thanks to Zoella for making Christmas gift sets which are so perfect for rodent enrichment! How thoughtful of her to think of small critters at Christmas…