What Is Enrichment Rotation?

What is enrichment rotation, and how do you apply it in your enrichment program? When developing an enrichment program, you determine which animal requires enrichment, and you decide the frequency, variety and variation of the enrichment. You try to stimulate the animals' full behavioural and therefore use different types of enrichment. When you used an enrichment item at one animal, it can be very enriching when you rotate this same enrichment item for another animal. For example, when you use a big hanging log of wood to stimulate the manipulative behaviour of an oryx, it can very effectively trigger responses in a carnivore like lions and tigers, to express olfactory-related behaviours. These animals want to set off their smell again on this log piece when this novel odour is in their territory. In a nutshell, therefore, enrichment rotation can be defined as "rotating enrichment items between different animal species where the enrichment item's effect is amplified to trigger species-specific behaviours." With this concept, you can stimulate specific behaviours that otherwise will not be encouraged. 

Enrichment rotation

" Rotating enrichment items between different animal species where the enrichment item's effect is amplified to trigger species-specific behaviours. "


Rules to take into account when rotating enrichment

When implementing rotation enrichment in your enrichment program, you should make attention to the considerations below. Rotation enrichment is not well-documented or researched, and mostly based on error-and-trail assumptions. 

  • Always take the basics rules of enrichment into account.
  • Be aware that not all enrichment is suitable for the other species.
  • Rotational enrichment can be a vector of diseases. Consult your veterinarian about what is reasonable allowed. 
  • Enrichment with the smell of predators can be stressful for prey-species. 
  • Enrichment with the smell of prey-species can be frustrated for predator species when it is predicting the arrival of food.
  • Always assess rotation enrichment if the outcome is as planned. 

Enrichment rotation is a fascinating principle that definitely should be ventured to implement in your enrichment program. It can stimulate certain behaviour more effectively in contrast with other enrichment items. So next time, when you search for new enrichment ideas, try to find items that can be used within this concept. 

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