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Enrichment Products - Cocoon and Refuge

Jason Baker | October 19, 2011

So I am diligently fulfilling my duties at work one fateful day in 2005. The company I work for, Ketchum Manufacturing Inc., produces many things from livestock identification products to grocery store signage. My boss has come to me and told me a colleague is sick and cannot attend a trade show in St. Louis and I am needed to fill in. No problem, I think to myself, I do trade shows all the time. What product line? I asked my boss, he tells me it is the Laboratory Research Animal line. We sell identification and enrichment items for lab animals. My heart sinks, I’m still pretty new at Ketchum , what’s the right thing to do? Should I tell my boss he’s looking at a guy who didn’t even walk down the science hall at school? Should I tell him my 70% in chemistry came from a summer school course where attendance and not blowing up the lab were the only things that mattered? It was a small fire by the way, not an actual explosion hence the 70% and not an 80. Or should I smile land nod and say no problem.

In reality my boss may have been asking one of those pesky rhetorical questions anyway as before I knew it I was off to the AALAS nationals at St. Louis. Our booth a small island in a sea of displays pushing machines and cages, scalpels and syringes. It was a long week. I had figured out our identification products. Simple concept thought to myself, but what is this enrichment stuff. As it turns out, nothing is more intimidating than standing in a booth and having extremely intelligent scientists speak to you in that language of theirs. I’m lost in the syllables, words that go on forever hoping my blank stare portrays something other than the desperation I am feeling. I learned a few things that week. One the phrase “I’ll get back to you on that” as a response to almost any question buys you enough time to actually find out what the heck they were asking you. Two, it never pays to try to enter a conversation about something you know nothing about, (which is how I discovered number 1), and these research employees really care about their research animals.

Research brings us many advances whether that is medicine or makeup. The use of laboratory animals has helped scientists the world over to improve our lives. Thanks to these caring people and a host of animal welfare associations, enrichment items once a rarity are now the norm. As a lab animal lives its life in a facility aiding scientists in their research, it is incumbent upon these scientists to ensure that these animals are humanely treated. One way is to attempt to make their life in the lab as natural as possible. Even how they are fed allows them to exercise and perform like they would in their natural habitat. One thing I already knew is that budgets rule the day. Ketchum Manufacturing Inc. knows that as well and that is why our enrichment items; Cocoon and Refuge have become so popular. Our goal is to provide a quality product at a lower cost and Cocoon and Refuge have achieved that. The building process of Cocoon provides a good social activity creating an enrichment that benefits breeding and trial results. The cotton fibers in Cocoon are very short which is safer for the animal and pups. This mice can pick this cylinder up fulfilling their foraging instincts. They can carry it around their cage and then pull it apart where they will eventually use it as an ingredient in building their nest. The activity keeps them busy and allows them something to do. Cocoon is whitened without chlorine.

Our Refuge product is a paper hut. The mice like to play with it, climb on it and hide under it. Eventually they will tear this up as well. Refuge and Cocoon are two of the many products that caring scientists use to help enrich the lives of their animals. Refuge an excellent to play with while Cocoon is a fantastic product to encourage nesting.

For more details and information inquiries on any of our Refuge or Cocoon products or to place an order, please contact Ketchum Manufacturing Inc. at 613-342-8455 or email to ketchum@ketchum.ca


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