Our days at the PRC revolve around the care of our animals. From the moment we get here in the mornings, to the moment we leave, our number one concern is the well-being of our residents.
When we arrive to start the day, we immediately begin preparing to feed everyone. The chimps get a piece of fruit or a vegetable first thing in the morning, while a caretaker checks on the monkeys by driving around the property to each monkey house. We pass out some seeds and lettuce for the monkeys to snack on while we prepare their morning feed, and we also check on the monkeys and ensure that the temperatures in their houses are warm during the winter months.
Laura, a caretaker, getting ready to go on morning check.
During this morning check we also feed the dogs, as well as our sheep, goats and mini-donkey, while another caretaker is working on moving chimps out of their playroom. We do this so we may clean the room and scatter their morning forage. Some mornings this is a simple task, but sometimes chimpanzee Pozna is just not ready to get out of her nest and move out of the playroom!
Rosie the donkey, with our goats Lonnie, Cinnamon, and Rosco.
Pozna in her nice, warm nest in the playroom.
Once we have everyone successfully moved out of the playroom, and we have double-checked that the room is secure, we enter the room to clean. We remove all the straw and shavings, and then lay down fresh materials and scatter the chimps’ morning forage over that.
Usually while one caretaker is cleaning the playroom, another caretaker will select produce from the refrigerator and chop it up for the chimps. Once the playroom is ready to go, we lock the doors and let the chimps in to eat.
The next item on the day’s agenda is preparing the daily diet for our monkeys. Staff and volunteers gather produce and chop a big bin full of veggies, fruits, and lettuce to feed the monkeys. We also prepare any medications that need to be given out. Everything is loaded onto the back of a golf cart and driven around to each monkey house.
Freshly chopped produce for our monkeys to eat.
Meanwhile, another caretaker is already making lunch and dinner for the chimps and monkeys! We select a recipe from our recipe book, and make enough food to feed dinner to the monkeys and lunch to the chimps. Once that is all portioned out, we start sorting our produce donations.
Every day, we pick up from three local Kroger stores who donate produce to the PRC. We must sort through each bin of donated produce and decide which items we will store for use in our coolers.
To ensure that all of our residents have nice clean houses to live in, we put all of the houses on a rotation to clean. Every afternoon we will clean a monkey house or two, and also clean the chimp areas. This takes a large portion of our time in the afternoon, and we are so grateful for our volunteers who help us complete these tasks. Once we have thoroughly cleaned an enclosure, it’s right back to food preparation!
Melanie, one of our caretakers, cleaning a monkey house.
As the afternoon continues, we must chop up more produce for the chimps, and then gather all of the dinners we made earlier in the day for the monkeys. One caretaker will load up the golf cart and drive around to feed the monkeys, while another will get chimps out of the playroom, and then clean the playroom again. We scatter more forage materials for the chimps, put new enrichment items in the playroom, and then let them in to eat.
Once the monkeys and chimps are fed, we clean up all of our food prep areas, check on the dogs, goats, sheep and donkey, and then lock everything up and head home.
And there you have it…a typical day in the life of a caretaker. Some days are harder than others, but we love the animals we care for, and wouldn’t change it for the world.