Occasionally we end up with a lot of one type of produce and tonight we had approximately 10 heads of cabbage in the refrigerator. We are always trying to look for new and interesting ways to prepare and present the food for the chimpanzees.(If you have ideas or a fabulous recipe please email it to us to try!) I typed cabbage into the Good Search search engine (set to Friends of Washoe, of course!) and got the idea to make cabbage juice. The website raved about all the nutrients present in the recipe but I was a little skeptical about the flavor combination. I thought it would be fun to serve the juice in cabbage leaf bowls. I also prepared farina (the chimpanzees refer to this as CEREAL) with pureed beets and served it the same way.
We stuffed the cabbage leaf bowls with farina, filled others with juice and placed them in the enclosure for the chimpanzees to enjoy as a forage. We also scattered heirloom carrots in the enclosure. All of the produce used to prepare this exciting dinner for the chimpanzees was generously donated from our friends at Cloudview Ecofarms.
During the set-up the chimpanzees were pretty excited and actually waited beside the door that they typically go through to get into the night enclosures for dinner. After the night enclosures were secured, I invited the chimpanzees in for dinner and they showed absolutely no hesitation – everyone came in at once!
The juice was not a hit but the beet infused farina was a definite success. Dar carried a farina bowl into the tunnel only to discover another bowl that we placed up there! Loulis food squeaked (a noise chimpanzees make when food is really exciting) while eating the farina and carrots.
After the chimpanzees finished their dinner, we spot cleaned the enclosure. Since they spend the rest of the night in these enclosures, we want to make sure it’s nice and clean for them, so we hose down the floors and then offer the chimpanzees towels to soak up the water.
Once cleaning was finished, we gave out blankets and enrichment to the chimpanzees. They typically start constructing their nests and make a nesting vocalization we like to call the “goodnight noise.” It’s at this point that we know it’s time to say goodnight to the chimpanzees.