Learn About Husbandry (Part 2)

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!

A typical day for the Chimp Haven Husbandry team:

  • The chimps at Chimp Haven receive round-the-clock care, so there are both day shift and night shift teams to care for the chimpanzees.
  • With more than 300 chimpanzees to care for, there is a lot of work to do every day!
  • Care staff follow daily routines to make sure they finish all their tasks. Do you have a daily routine?
  • The days start bright and early. Staff begins by checking on each chimpanzee troop and bringing them their morning chow. It’s just the first of several meals the chimps will receive throughout the day:

Click the image to enlarge.

  • After checks and morning chow, care staff asks the chimpanzees to go outdoors so they can clean their inside bedrooms. Moving chimpanzees from one area to another is called “shifting.”
  • Have you ever been asked to change rooms while reading your favorite book or watching your favorite TV show? Care staff must be patient and creative when asking the troops to shift.
  • The chimpanzees eat their breakfast outside while care staff cleans indoors.
  • Chutes connect each chimpanzee living space so troops can move from place to place. The chutes are kind of like above ground tunnels high in the sky!
  • Husbandry staff sometimes do “troop moves” by shifting an entire chimpanzee troop into a new living space. By doing this, the chimps get to experience new and exciting environments, which they really love.
  • Care staff think of chimpanzee moves like a puzzle game because there are lots of moving parts!
  • The team works closely with the chimpanzees each day to build strong bonds and trust. When the chimpanzees trust the team it’s easier to shift!
  • Because chimpanzees love new things and exploring new spaces, they pant-hoot and get excited when they see care staff getting the chutes ready for a move!
  • Care staff also spend time throughout the day doing loads of chimpanzee laundry. Like humans, many chimps like to sleep with blankets, especially when it’s cold outside. Staff makes sure there are always plenty of fresh clean blankets for the chimps to cuddle up in.
  • Some chimpanzees also love stuffed animals, so the team makes sure to clean those regularly too.
  • The colony receives enrichment every day, which sometimes must also be cleaned (like puzzles or plastic toys). Care staff work hard to clean those items so that they can be used again.
  • The team makes sure that the chimps’ food is ready for the next day by prepping their meals. Last year the colony went through 200,000 pounds of produce! Can you imagine chopping all of those vegetables?

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: Help the husbandry team finish their daily routine by filling in the clocks

Activity Sheet #2: Make your own clock to help you track your daily routine, just like the care team

Chutes help chimp groups move from one space to another. Watch Jonah’s group use the “sky bridge” to go to their new corral!