Easiest way to feed raw?
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Thread: Easiest way to feed raw?

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    Easiest way to feed raw?

    I'll be getting a chest freezer soon, and that was a major reason I couldn't feed too much raw. My dogs currently get about 2 meals a week of chicken quarters, but no organs or anything. Another major reason is that I have no stomach for meat. It's bad enough for me to pull chicken quarters out of the bag and put them in single-serving ziplocs. I can cut up muscle meats but I won't be able to cut up spleen or kidney or anything that's even slightly icky or smelly. Is there an easy way to feed raw without dealing too much with the meat (besides feeding premade raw, which would be too expensive with large dogs)? Some things I read make it sound so simple, other things make it sound crazy complicated. Or should I just stick to kibble with the occasional meal of raw?

    Another problem is that I can't find chicken that hasn't been "enhanced" with salt water. I'm OK with that for occasional feeding but I wouldn't want to feed them that much sodium on a daily basis. And beef is expensive! Where to find it cheaper?

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    Senior Member wolfsnaps's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    Well if you are going to do raw the right way, you HAVE to touch and cut up meat. Why does it disgust you so? If you keep doing it, chances are you will desensitize yourself to the ickyness factor.

    As far as kidney and stuff goes, if you partially freeze it (enough so that it is firm but not rock solid) it makes cutting it up nicer because the texture is not disgusting and it doesn't smell as much.

    I am picking up fresh tripe for the first time ever and the guy isn't cleaning it out. Talk about gross.

    I would stick to raw. Toughen up for your dogs sake. Its just meat. As far as chicken goes, have you looked at ALL your local grocery stores? Are there any chicken processing plants in your area you can call? I order chicken backs from a meat retailer. Since they are not portioned out (they come in a box) they do not add saline/chicken broth to it. It can be cheaper buying in bulk boxes too.

    raw can be as simple or complicated as you make it. I find it to be fairly simple. I do prey model raw which is like, frankenprey (parts form various animals).

    80 % muscle/ 10% bone /10% secreting organs (liver, kidney, spleen, testicles, brain, etc.)

    2-3% of ideal body weight should be fed. My 24 pound dog get about 8 ounces and my overweight mastiff gets 3.5 pounds or so as an example.

    Start off with chicken. After a couple of weeks introduce a new protein (pork? turkey?) Some people say to wait for beef or venison but my dogs have iron guts so they have had it all already (except fish). Do organs last as they are nutrient dense and rich.

    I add fish oil to mine every other day or so. I am thinking about adding vitamin E as well. I also occasionally give joint supplements.

    So to feed them I take out a couple of days worth of food out of the freezer and put into the fridge to dethaw. Then I take out meat and portion it into their bowls. Doesn't take long. Some people preportion and just defrost and serve. Whatever works for you.

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    Senior Member Sibe's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    Maybe wear gloves? Have a pair of gloves devoted to touching the raw meat? You can also open your windows or turn on a fan before opening things up to help with the smell. Start with meats you are comfortable with, there's nothing wrong with that. Honestly I HATE touching raw meat but I've been feeding raw for a year and a half. I've gotten more used to it, but I still wash my hands a lot when I'm repackaging stuff up and I hate the texture of raw meat. It has gotten much easier with experience and practice though.

    As for organ, chicken liver would probably be great to start with for you as they are fairly small so you wouldn't have to touch them or cut them up. I find them in these little containers. Each liver is a few ounces. With the lid off if you want to see what they look like.


    I found that seeing pictures and videos of dogs eating raw really helped me get over being so squeamish about it. Maybe check out prey model raw feeding videos on youtube, or join some raw feeding facebook groups?


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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    I don't mind seeing them eat it or anything; I just have a super-sensitive gag reflex (to odors and textures), and, well, one gag and it's over . I don't want to be throwing up feeding my dogs every day, lol. The chicken livers would probably work, but don't they need more than that? Something like 5% liver and 5% other organ? Or can you get away with using chicken liver only? I've been following several people on my cat forum who are switching to prey-model raw, and, while they're probably making it more complicated than necessary, the talk of cutting up hearts and kidneys (one lady calls kidney "jelly-pee" because of the texture and odor. Gag) is scaring me off.

    I've checked all the grocery stores in the area for non-enhanced chicken, but not the specialty meats places. I kind of assume them to be prohibitively expensive. I can order a half or quarter beef from my co-worker, but I need to find 1-3 other buyers to share with, and he charges $3-$4 a pound. Since it would only be for the dogs (I don't cook meat for myself either. The smell!), that seems expensive. There are tons of beef/pork packing plants in the area, and Tyson (chicken) is just down the road, but I don't know if they sell direct to the public or how to find out. There is a natural foods co-op that occasionally sells boxes of chicken parts (I think backs and quarters), so I'll have to look into that. I know they only do it once or twice a year. And the "Goosemobile" that's at the farmer's market has a dog food grind that's affordable, but I don't know if it's balanced or if they just throw everything that humans don't eat into it without regard for balancing. They have all kinds of natural meats but again-$$$$! The custom/game butchers aren't allowed to sell you anything you didn't bring in, even for dogs. Everybody says how prey-model raw is cheaper than high-quality dog food and I'm just not seeing how that could be possible.

    I know that a lot of people in the area feed their dogs raw (hunters feeding wild game), but this seems more of a situation of throwing scraps to the dogs, not well-planned-out raw feeding. As far as I can find, there are no raw pet food co-ops or groups in the state.

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    Senior Member wolfsnaps's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    I don't have any co ops around me either
    And I am as poor as they come (financially, not spiritually or intellectually. LOL)

    What I did was call a meat retailer and buy 40 pound boxes of chicken backs and beef heart. Those are my staples. Then, I check grocery store meat mark downs when I go grocery shopping. You can't rely on this, but it helps supplement the diet. Today I got about 8 pounds of pork for less than 8 bucks (about a dollar a pound). I do hunt and donate most of my deer to them nowadays. At the deer processor, you have to ask if you can HAVE it. There is nothing illegal with giving it away. My place lets me take whats in their garbage bins. As long as its colder than 40 degrees, it is safe. I take heads, legs, and rib cages. So, your gag reflex may not like that too much.

    You can also ask to purchase any venison that no one picks up. Sometimes, people bring their deer in and then don't go buy it. I have heard people able to buy what hunters don't pick up. I called a lot of places and emailed too. I finally found a place that will sell me tripe, trachea, lung, and goat heads. I am actually getting it tomorrow and I am excited.

    You can start with chicken liver but I don't think that is balanced. You would want other organs and from larger animals over time. I have only fed liver and kidney so far. Try partially frozen. I think you might be ok with that.

    If you don't know if a place will sell you stuff you have to ask. I get shy about it too sometimes because most places do not get questions like "Will you sell me a pig head." You just have to get over it and call them. Worst they can say is no, or you are crazy. LOL

    Be careful on ground meats. Ground is good to introduce to cats (they are tough to transition sometimes) and ground can make up some of the diet. But ground can harbor more bacteria because there are more nooks and crannies. Ground does not offer and dental benefit or mental stimulation. If you do not grind it yourself and it is a mix of sorts, you can not be sure what is in it.

    Good luck. I hope for your dogs sake, you give it a good try. Raw is awesome.

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    Senior Member Sibe's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    Edit to add: Meat from hunters cannot legally be sold. It has to be given. It's illegal to sell, and it's also illegal to buy it. Giving it is fine. You should also freeze wild game for at least a week or so to kill tapeworms or other parasites.

    They do need more than liver, but often dogs switching to raw don't get any organ at all for a month or two as they're adjusting, and by that time you should be more comfortable and used to it. Mine get mainly beef liver, chicken liver, and beef kidney for organ. However, they also eat whole fish and sometimes get whole chickens or rabbit or other things where they get everything from the brain and eyes to lungs and spleen and everything else.

    Are you sure the chicken is enhanced? I get the Foster Farms chicken from grocery stores. It's only 80mg sodium per 4 oz serving (ideally it should be under 100mg per 4oz).

    $3-4/lb is way more than I'd ever pay. I try to stay under $1/lb but will go up to $1.25 or even $1.50 sometimes. Leg quarters or whole chickens are usually $0.79/lb but sometimes go on sale for $0.49/lb. I get beef hearts for about $1.25/lb, same for pork roasts. Livers and kidney are $1/lb. I also get packages of "Chicken Hearts & Gizzards" which mainly go to the cats but sometimes the dogs get them, and those are also $1/lb. The most I spend is rarely I'll get beef tongue which is $2.50/lb.

    I get meat now and then for free from people contacting me on Craigslist. I have an ad up for unwanted or freezer burned meat, fish, etc. I've gotten venison from a hunter, and also fish from people who catch too many. Hunter scraps are EXCELLENT! I'd feed venison all the time if I could! It basically is "throwing scraps to the dogs" as it's the leftovers of what people don't want, but it is excellent meat for the dogs and I can assure you it's planned out. Meat from hunters is part of the regular diet, with meat, edible bone, and organ.

    I really really like this guide for starting raw. It breaks things down very well and is simple and easy to follow.
    www.kaossiberians.com/rawfeeding.html


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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    Blue Ridge Beef has a mix that has a lot of organs in it. And then you wouldn't have to cut up anything yourself. Redyre Rott. feeds Blue Ridge products you may want to contact her. I use their stuff at times as well.

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    Senior Member MagicRe's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    i think the easiest thing for you is to buy a grind that includes the organs.

    that way, the worst you'll have to do is cut the proper amount, since they absolutely must have red meats and organs...and serve.

    http://www.hare-today.com has a nice tripe/organ mix or a nice beef/spleen mix

    what you want is a mix that includes lots of organs and i think that http://www.greentripe.com/ would be your best bet.

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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    Yeah I ordered some rabbit meat organ bone mix from hare today. They are located in your state so you may be able to pick up locally making it vey affordable.

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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    Agree, buy it ready made. Mine comes in a tube so I can partly defrost it and slice it up. That might be easier for you.

    Long, long ago liver made me gag. I got over it when I saw how the dogs felt about the stuff.

    Try working with meat outside. When I first dared to buy tripe I handled it completely outside until we got accustomed to the smell. I knew to watch the dogs rather than think about how disagreeable the stuff was by that time so no gagging.

    Check the clearance bin at the meat counter. I can find good enough deals there quite often.

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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    I was wondering about Hare Today. I'm planning on buying from them for the cats, and was wondering if their grinds would do for the dogs' organ requirements. That would be easiest for me, and not too expensive. So the tripe/organ mix and the spleen mix?

    I'm told by others that buy a half/quarter beef that the price is good because you get everything, from heart and kidney and tongue to the prime rib that sells for $30 a pound in stores. But since I wouldn't be getting any use from the prime rib and other good cuts it wouldn't be cost effective for me.

    I noticed the Goosemobile has expanded their dog food offerings: http://sdgoosemobile.com/csa (at the bottom of the page). So, "carcass" is probably mostly backs?

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    Senior Member MagicRe's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    carcass is the frame of the chicken, including the back.

    i like your goosemobile.

    and hare today has awesome product. mypetcarnivore.com does also. and so does greentripe.com

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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    Quote Originally Posted by Me&MyMin View Post
    Yeah I ordered some rabbit meat organ bone mix from hare today. They are located in your state so you may be able to pick up locally making it vey affordable.
    They're in PA. . .I'm not . But I have looked at their products and I find the shipping prices to be very reasonable. So Hare Today is definitely an option. I know that it's best not to use ground meat for dogs so I wasn't sure. But if I can use their organ grinds as the organs and chicken quarters for the meat/bones, then maybe that would work.

    One thing I notice about Hare Today's organ mixes is that they contain things that don't count as organs like hearts, lungs, gullet, etc. So how do you figure the percentages?
    Last edited by Willowy; 04-25-2012 at 12:23 PM.

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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Easiest way to feed raw?

    I guesstimate by counting the bits that go into the mix. Say my mix has lung, heart, liver, kidney, spleen and tongue. 6 bits, half of them are actually fed as organ. I figure 6 ounces of the mix has an ounce of each bit and since Max needs an ounce of organ daily I would feed him 2 ounces of this stuff a day. It might be a bit short on liver as my estimate is 1/3 liver but suspect that it is just fine.

    You could contact the company. My provider won't tell me but yours might.

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