Post by mustelidmusk on May 5, 2008 0:45:42 GMT -5
After owing ferrets for years, I finally found the one toy my brats play with EVERY DAY - and they're NEVER BORED with it..........
Has anyone tried a foraging cup??? I don't know of anyone else that has one...but I imagine others use them for their ferrets as well.
The foraging cup is the most incredible toy for a ferret that I've found to date - it even rates higher than the longest tunnel in my ferrets' list of favorite things.
The problem with ferre toys is that there are no toys out here that chanllenge a ferret's ability to solve problems. Ferrets need problems to solve, which is why they get into everything! The only problem I've found is that my brats have become smarter over time - so they're little monsters these days!
Post by mustelidmusk on May 6, 2008 0:17:09 GMT -5
I can be such a brat...my ferrets trained me
Anyway, here's the background on the foraging cups...they're made for big parrots! You want to get the acrylic or tough plactic cups for the big birds. You need to watch out for non-ferret-proof materials in some of the toys. get some freeze-dried meats to put in the cups, and hang the cups in the cage.
Basically, my brats enjoy bird puzzles!!!
I recommend either of the following for starters...
Jungle Talk Carousel Dispenser: www.finefeatheredfriends.net/carouseltreat.htm (use flat broad strips of chicken "jerky" and lay them flat so the ferrets have to rotate the meat to slide it out of the carousel. I stack up a bunch of pieces, and they have to work to get the food out.
Post by mustelidmusk on May 6, 2008 12:45:18 GMT -5
See the shopping section for some great treats for foraging cups!!! And....
Here are some tips on using foraging cups....
* Move the cups around the cage or room - where ever you can hang them - then they'll have more foraging to do.
* don't fill the cup every single day - they will check out the cups several time a day (and night!) even when the cups are empty.
* DO NOT fill cups in the evening if you value your sleep and can hear your ferrets thrashing the cups from the bedroom!!!
* the cups do not have to be FULL - in fact, it's better to leave the bigger cups less full since they have to work harder to spill the treats
* Vary the types of treats, toys, or whatever you put in thse cups. I've even put yucky things they don'y like in the cups - they yank the "ickies" out and keep looking for a treasure!!! I've even stuff pieces of crackly mylar or fleece fabric in the cups (Be careful not to do this if you have fabric eaters and use scraps that are about 3"x3")
* If your brats master a puzzle toy, you can cram more stuff into these cups to make them more challenging to open (friction).
Remember, your ferrets will probably cache the dry treats elsewhere - unless they're hungry. But I never find treats since they all run around caching and eating. Plus, dry treats are no issue (at least not in dry climates!) If humidity is an issue for cached treats, provide fewer treats.
My brats will sometimes hiss and thrash their tails when two or more a working on a cup together!!! (of course, I've seen them do that over treats that are hand fed as well).
ONE WARNING...your ferrets will become smarter, more feisty, and more crafty once they start mastering the puzzles. SO you may need to do more ferret-proofing.!!! My brats have become EXTREME trouble-makers!!!! According to Bob Church, using your brain generates more brain cells - literally.
Do't forget to check out the Shopping section for freeze-dried treats!
Oh! and is there anything special we should look for when researching the cups? For example, shoudl we get ones that are made of hard plastic as opposed to wood. Should we avoid ones with too many small pieces? Anything like that?
Well I broke my husband's "no more ferret toys" rule. I figure it's a 3-paycheck month, right? I found some neat ones on Ebay (cavalier bird toys) that help rescued birds, and becasue I use I-give, 2% of my purchase also helps out the GCFA. I also sort of like that they are home made, and unique.
I got the small parrot party fiesta foraging toy (OK, this one doesn't look homemade, but it was only $10) and the medium trap door.
Post by Forum Administrator on May 6, 2008 15:33:49 GMT -5
This thread is so useful and informative, Jennifer, that I am going to sticky it at the top of this section, so that everyone can see it all the time. I am also modifying the title slightly so that ppl know this is about foraging cups.
Post by mustelidmusk on May 6, 2008 18:35:03 GMT -5
There was a question about safety.... its like any other ferret toy...anything they might want to chew on/eat is off limits (leather, small plastic items that might break off easily. Wood is fine but will collect oil from treats and paws over time. A lot depends on the ferrets - each one is unique
Also, some foraging cups have parts that parrots can manipulate with their feet and beaks. Ferrets won't have the dexterity required for some of these toys. - no beak, no claws with opposing digits.
Start with a simple cup and move on from there. The more advanced cups require that the ferrets align a notch with a groove to "unlock" the cup. the key is to train them that these cups hold surprises before challenging their learning abilities. If they start out with a puzzle cup, they may not realize the cup opens up in some way.
Here's another thing I do that psychs up my brats....I hang all 5 cups in one area of the cage to make a forrest of dangling cups (I have 5 cups so far) Some of the cups have treats, some don't, some have other stuff. The brats get in there and start attacking all the cups...its rather humorous to watch them.
Post by jennifer5799 on May 7, 2008 0:23:51 GMT -5
What an awesome idea! I've looked at the dog version of the puzzle treats things (the treat balls, cubes and such) but I never would have thought to look at bird stuff! Thanks so much for the ideas! I'm going to have some spoiled fuzzbutts when I get back to Houston!!