Learn About Husbandry (Part 1)

What is husbandry?

  • Husbandry is the care of animals.
  • At Chimp Haven, husbandry describes animal care for chimpanzees.
  • Chimpanzees that live in sanctuaries need people to help take care of them.
  • The Chimp Haven husbandry team is made up of animal “caregivers” or “care staff.”
  • Care staff tend to the chimpanzees’ basic needs, like water, food, and shelter. The teams also takes care of the chimpanzees’ social needs and environment.
  • Chimpanzees are very smart animals, which makes husbandry an exciting challenging field!

What is husbandry like at Chimp Haven?

  • Chimp Haven has a husbandry department devoted to caring for the chimpanzees.
  • A team of 25 people look after the whole colony!
  • There are day shift and night shift teams.
  • There are 30 troops at Chimp Haven with an average size of 11 chimpanzees. Each troop has caregivers.
  • Chimpanzees need care 365 days of the year – that’s every single day!
  • Care staff use checklists to keep track of all of their tasks. They have lists for cleaning, feeding, and even nighttime duties! What kinds of lists do you use?
  • Husbandry does a lot to care for the chimpanzees. Two important things are feeding them and cleaning for them.
  • Care staff give the colony their diet 4-5 times per day with forage mixture twice weekly. That’s a lot of mouths to feed!
  • Along with making sure the chimpanzees have clean habitats and are well fed, care staff delivers fresh nesting materials to the chimpanzees each day.
  • The colony always has hay or wood wool in their bedrooms to help them make cozy nests to sleep or relax in. One of the best nest-makers is Jacob, who will scoop up all the hay into one big pile and make a nest that is a foot thick!
  • New team members learn to identify each of the chimpanzees in their care by sight within their first 90 days at the sanctuary. Some caregivers can even recognize the chimpanzees from behind, walking away, or at a distance!
  • Care staff keep color coded checklists of troops to help keep track of the more than 300 chimpanzees!
  • Knowing the chimpanzees is key! Care staff check on each chimpanzees every six hours.
  • Caregivers make notes on each chimpanzee during checks. How do they look? Do they have any injuries? Are they acting like themselves? If anything if off they alert the veterinary team.
  • Each chimpanzee troop is given a name. Naming the troops makes it easier to identify them.
  • Troops are usually named after the Alpha (male or female), but sometimes the name comes from one member who represents the troop. Some troop names include Flora, Ladybird, and Slim!
  • Safety is extremely important when working with chimpanzees, so caregivers must complete a lot of training.

Care staff are skilled to provide proper care to the chimpanzees. Check back for next week’s lesson to learn more about how we care for the chimpanzees at Chimp Haven!

What is Chimp Haven?

  • Chimp Haven is a big sanctuary where chimpanzees live together in family groups, also known as troops.
  • Chimp Haven is located in Louisiana.
  • More than 300 chimpanzees live at Chimp Haven today!

Video: Q&A with members of Chimp Haven’s husbandry team

Activity Sheet #1: Create your own bedtime checklist just like the chimps’

Activity Sheet #2: Help our caregiver gather enough apples to feed the hungry chimpanzees

One part of husbandry is feeding the chimps their fresh, healthy diets 4-5 times per day. The chimps love to see their food coming!