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Discussion Starter #1
I bought 20 pounds of leg quarters for about $12, so I figured it was worth a try. They all love the chicken, and the pieces are big enough that everyone is chewing. I got some ground chicken also to make sure everyone was getting the correct amount of ounces. They have been on the chicken most of the week. But now I have a few more questions. Ok, I think I will number these to make sure I don't forget anything.

1) I have read that leg quarters are mostly meat and not that much bone. So I have still been adding egg shells, but now only in the morning. I plan on switching them to whole chicken carcasses as soon as I have finished this meat. But I need to go to my butcher for that, so I can get it cut the way I want. In the meantime, do I still need to give them egg shells, or is there enough bone in the leg quarter that it's not a worry?

On a side note, the butcher gave me four free packages of chicken necks. I haven't been feeding them because they’re so small. But all of my dogs seem to be taking their time since they have been separated for eating. Could I give them each a couple of chicken necks for extra bone?

2) I have been feeding them outside in runs. I really don't have anywhere inside to set up 4 crates. But I don't want them to rush through the bones in order to keep them from the other dogs. I also don't want them walking around my house with a leg quarter dangling from their mouth.:eek: But they tend to throw the meat on the ground, and it gets pretty nasty. Is that a health risk? I am a little OCD about making sure everything is very clean up until the point where I set it in front of them. And wild wolfs eat outside all the time, so this shouldn't be a problem, right?

3) When I am measuring their food, is the bone already considered in the ounces per day that I am suggested to feed? Or is that just muscle meat? The leg quarters are pretty heavy. If say a fourth of that weight is bone, then they might not be getting enough food.


I think that's it for right now. Sorry if I'm getting to be annoying. I just find that the longer I do this, the more questions I get.:eek:
 

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Chicken necks...go slow with large dogs. They can be a choking hazard. YOu could mash them with a mallet and cut them up into small squares, then just throw them in the bowl with a regular meal.

Where to feed...Not sure how many dogs you have. But I started out separating my dogs with ex-pens on the patio for eating. That way they weren't "stealing" food from slower eaters and couldn't run out to the pasture and get it all icky. I still separate them for eating but I don't worry anymore about dirty food. I ahve one dog that routinely buries her food in the dirt and digs it up days later, eats it, and suffers no ill consequences.

Measuring meat vs bone will be a non-issue once you start feeding the entire carcass over time. A chicken is as close to perfect for C:p and bone to meat ratio as they come. If I feed a boneless meal and add calcium to supplement I just feed the whole amount due for that meal as meat, since the calcium is by the spoonful.

You will know if you are getting the right amount of meat and bone by watching their stools. If the stools are white, chalky, they are straining...lighten up on the bone a bit. If the stools are very dark and runny...add more bone.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, that makes sense.

A couple questions on organ meat. I will plan on starting next week. Do I need to do just one organ at a time? Or could I blend up a mix of different organs and give them each a small sample? This could be easier sense a chicken carcass will come with all the organs. And are chicken gizzards considered to be an organ?
 

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Gizzards are considered muscle meat, not organ. As far as mixing organs, not sure on that one, but if it's just chicken, considering it's such a tiny amount in the first place, I wouldn't thing that should be a problem. I know heart is a muscle meat too, so you're left with digest organs and lungs...yum...!!! If you think they may have issues, then just dissect it, and give each one a taste...just take your time, no need to rush.
 

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I'd buy a small piece or bucket of liver and start with there. Liver is a good source of vitamins A & D so it's good if your dogs get some of that. There's always kidneys, and whatever else you can find at the market. Even though heart is more muscle than organ, I consider anything in that little bag to be organ. Generally, as I clean out the bird to hack up for the dogs it turns out that there are enough "pieces" of organs in that little bag to have one small piece with each meal, usually works out pretty good. No need to stress that much, just choose variety, in moderation.
 

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Don't spend a lot of time or energy worrying about the "correct amount of ounces". Raw feeders quickly learn nothing works out to be the "correct amount of ounces" so one meal may be a little heavy and the next may be a little light. Don't worry about that. Also, you are going to be constantly changing meal size anyway. You will look at the dogs build and adjust meal to compensate. If the dog is getting chubby, feed less. Too thin? Feed more. You will quickly learn there is no "correct amount of ounces" and will soon learn that each dog will need a different amount of food even if all the dogs are the same size.

Leg quarters are 35% bone which is way more than you need. I suggest feeding some boneless meals to compensate over time. I normally feed 3 or 4 boneless meals a week. Dogs normally need around 10% to 20% bone in their diet over time. Whole chickens are about 30% bone which is way more than necessary so even when you stitch to those, some boneless meals are in order. If chicken is going to be the staple of the diet, forget about feeding egg shells anytime. They are getting more than enough calcium as it is. Cutting chickens in quarters is pretty easy to do yourself. I wouldn't pay a butcher to do it. Just cut the leg quarters off at the thigh joint then cut up the backbone and there you have 4 quarters ready to feed.

The chicken necks may or may not be a problem. If your dogs are very small necks are no problem. Many people feed their toy dogs chicken necks. If your dogs are very large, it's no problem either. They will regularly swallow chunks larger than a chicken neck. The midsize dogs MIGHT choke if he swallows a chicken whole. You don't need to feed necks just for the extra bone. As you know the rest of the chicken supplies more than enough bone for your dogs.

Feeding them outside is neither here nor there. Feed them wherever you wish. Don't worry about dirt. It is just not a problem. My dogs do go wandering through the house with a chicken quarter (or a pork roast) dangling from their mouths. :)

Don't worry about weighing the food. You will soon learn that a meal is a chicken quarter or two chicken quarters or a chicken quarter and a back or a pork roast or half a pork roast. You will forget about lbs and oz's. Maybe a dog will eat a quarter for one meal and two quarters the next then back to one, etc to balance out 1 1/2 quarters. Again, you will judge how much to feed by the dogs build, not the weight of the food. Raw feeders mention weights only to give beginners a starting point. The amount will always be varying.

Thanks, that makes sense.

A couple questions on organ meat. I will plan on starting next week. Do I need to do just one organ at a time? Or could I blend up a mix of different organs and give them each a small sample? This could be easier sense a chicken carcass will come with all the organs. And are chicken gizzards considered to be an organ?
If you are just beginning to feed raw, I would wait a while before feeding organs. Once you do, you can mix or not mix however you want. Some people feed a very tiny amount of organs with each meal. I perfer to feed a chunk of organs once a week or so. Either is fine. Sometimes I miss a week. It's no big deal. I don't worry about details and things have gone fine for me for 15 years.

One more piece of wisdom. You can talk to 100 different raw feeders and not find any two who feed exactly the same way. Most all of the things newbies spend a lot of time and energy worrying about just aren't all that important. The things that are important are: Feed a variety of animal parts from a variety of animals. Feed meat, bones, and organs. Mostly meat, some bone and some organs. Nothing else is critical.
 

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Don't spend a lot of time or energy worrying about the "correct amount of ounces". Raw feeders quickly learn nothing works out to be the "correct amount of ounces" so one meal may be a little heavy and the next may be a little light. Don't worry about that. Also, you are going to be constantly changing meal size anyway. You will look at the dogs build and adjust meal to compensate. If the dog is getting chubby, feed less. Too thin? Feed more. You will quickly learn there is no "correct amount of ounces" and will soon learn that each dog will need a different amount of food even if all the dogs are the same size.
I have already started changing their amounts based on which dog I'm feeding. The 2% was just used as a guideline, and then I adjusted up or down in comparison to how much kibble I was feeding. I've made adjustments every couple of days since then. I tend to look my dogs over at least every other day to see if their weight is about right.

And I tried them on a chicken neck a piece yesterday, and everyone chewed.:D So hopefully they will keep that up and I can use the packages.

Leg quarters are 35% bone which is way more than you need. I suggest feeding some boneless meals to compensate over time. I normally feed 3 or 4 boneless meals a week. Dogs normally need around 10% to 20% bone in their diet over time. Whole chickens are about 30% bone which is way more than necessary so even when you stitch to those, some boneless meals are in order. If chicken is going to be the staple of the diet, forget about feeding egg shells anytime. They are getting more than enough calcium as it is. Cutting chickens in quarters is pretty easy to do yourself.
Is there a site or book that will give me a list of the amount of bone in each cut of meat? I also need some way of knowing which bones are good and which one's aren't. For instance which pork bones and beef bones I can feed and which will be too hard on their teeth. Most of my research is great at telling me why to feed raw and gives basic instructions on chicken, but nothing tells me about the next step. I want them to have as well rounded diet as possible.

I'd buy a small piece or bucket of liver and start with there. Liver is a good source of vitamins A & D so it's good if your dogs get some of that. There's always kidneys, and whatever else you can find at the market. Even though heart is more muscle than organ, I consider anything in that little bag to be organ. Generally, as I clean out the bird to hack up for the dogs it turns out that there are enough "pieces" of organs in that little bag to have one small piece with each meal, usually works out pretty good. No need to stress that much, just choose variety, in moderation.
I will probably just give them each a little piece, and maybe but some beef liver to slowly raise them to 10%. How long should I wait to give organs? If I'm going to keep them on just meat and bone for a month or so can I add another protein source next week. Maybe ground turkey? Or any turkey bones that are OK to feed?

One more piece of wisdom. You can talk to 100 different raw feeders and not find any two who feed exactly the same way. Most all of the things newbies spend a lot of time and energy worrying about just aren't all that important. The things that are important are: Feed a variety of animal parts from a variety of animals. Feed meat, bones, and organs. Mostly meat, some bone and some organs. Nothing else is critical.
I realize the more comfortable I get with feeding them raw and the more comfortable their systems get with eating it I will have made my own program. But now I'm just so obsessed with them getting sick, I want to make sure everything is done right.

And once again if there is a book or website that gives a list of what can and can't be fed, that will greatly help to set my mind at ease. When I move to pork or beef I have no idea what to buy. I believe there are even some turkey bones that are too hard and might break a tooth.
 

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Is there a site or book that will give me a list of the amount of bone in each cut of meat? I also need some way of knowing which bones are good and which one's aren't. For instance which pork bones and beef bones I can feed and which will be too hard on their teeth. Most of my research is great at telling me why to feed raw and gives basic instructions on chicken, but nothing tells me about the next step. I want them to have as well rounded diet as possible.
The bones you feed your dog is based on what they can handle. However, most of us would avoid weight bearing bones of large animals (pigs, cattle, sheep) as they are too dense and the dog could crack a tooth. Any part of a chicken or turkeyw ould be fine for a doberman. And necks, tails, ribs, shoulders...of beef, pork, lamb should all be fine. Basically , I watch to see what they are not getting chewed / crushed enough to swallow...and that's my guide. Dogs generally won't swallow something they haven't chewed well, and if they do it tends to regurgitate back up. Don't be alarmed. I look at it as a safeguard.



I will probably just give them each a little piece, and maybe but some beef liver to slowly raise them to 10%. How long should I wait to give organs? If I'm going to keep them on just meat and bone for a month or so can I add another protein source next week. Maybe ground turkey? Or any turkey bones that are OK to feed?



I realize the more comfortable I get with feeding them raw and the more comfortable their systems get with eating it I will have made my own program. But now I'm just so obsessed with them getting sick, I want to make sure everything is done right.

And once again if there is a book or website that gives a list of what can and can't be fed, that will greatly help to set my mind at ease. When I move to pork or beef I have no idea what to buy. I believe there are even some turkey bones that are too hard and might break a tooth.
Most of us started on chicken, started with just meat and bones for 2-4 weeks (basically to be sure that the digestive enzymes in the gut were modified enough to handle the basics), then slowly added in bits of organ from the chicken for a week or two. Then once that is accomplished, I keep one meal per day as chicken and start introducing a new protein but only one new protein in a week. That way if they react you'll know what caused it. Even new proteins take a bit of time since I feed just the meat and bone at the first few meals and slowly add organ from that species before moving on to another. Your dog will not suffer any ill effects from a lack of variety for a few months. After all, most of his life was probably spent on the same kibble for years at a time.

There are no definitive books or sources for feeding raw. Everyone tends to have their own way because raw feeding is based on the premise that every dog is and individual and has individual feeding needs. But if you read through the sources listed in the food forum, read a few well known books then you should be prepared to do the raw feeding without much effort.

Some people have concerns about resources, for others it's about how to packeage / cut up / store the food, for others they worry about balance at every meal (aim for balance over time, not every meal), people with small breeds worry about measuring food...everyone has something that seemed like a mountain when they started. But over time you develop a pace and everything falls into place every day.

I prefer to cut up and bag individual meals as soon as I bring home a "find." Yesterday I found ground beef at a screaming deal and bought 30 pounds. I let if freeze a bit and then sliced it into meal sized protions, bagged it, and put it in a plastic basket in the freezer with a label telling what it is and date purchased. I try to rotate oldest food out first. Last week I found pork shoulders on sale. Same process.

Then in the fridge I have a plastic shoebox container where I keep defrosting food. It helps the humans in the household know what is for the dogs and what is for the humans. So after the evening meal I open the freezer and pull out two bags of something for the next day and put it in the shoebox. If I want to remember to feed an egg the next day I'll put that in the shoebox too.

For organs I figured out how much they need to eat in 3-4 days time to equal 10% of the meals. When I find organ meat I bag it in the amount figured out above. Then I take one of those out every 3-4 days and put it in the shoebox.

You will find that a system develops and one day is just like the next.
 

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You can find out the amount of bone in different animal parts at this USDA site:
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
Enter the word "raw" into the search criteria. For example, "raw chicken", "raw beef", etc.

This site gives you just about all the nutritional information you will ever need. You can feed any bones except the weight bearing bones of large animals. About the only large animals you need to be concerned about are cows and buffalo. I have no problems feeding weight bearing bones of pork or lamb.

Don't rush organs. You have a lifetime to feed your dog organs. Waiting a month or so isn't going to hurt anything. The organs won't hurt your dog but can possibly cause diarrhea if fed too early in the diet. You just need to be patient for the first couple of months. After that you can do what you want and your dog should be able to handle it.

You can add another protein source after you have fed chicken for a couple of weeks with no digestive upset. Turkey would be a good thing to add. I wouldn't add ground ... necks, wings, durmsticks, or thighs are good turkey parts to feed.

The only time I feed ground meats is when it's so cheap I just can't pass it up.

Don't worry too much about them getting "sick". Sometime in his life he will get diarrhea. Once he has adjusted to raw, it will be a rare occurance but it may happen a few times during the adjustmentn period. Diarrhea is not the end of the world and isn't fatal. :) Dogs also sometimes vomit. This will happen more often than you are used to. My dogs may vomit every 2 or 3 months usually because they swallowed a piece too big and they vomit it back up, re-chew it, and swallow it again. This won't be too unusual in the beginning until they learn how much they need to chew. Other than those two things, there is nothing in a raw diet that will cause any other type of "sick" to occur.

I like Dr. Tom Lonsdale's book, Work Wonders. It gives a lot of practical advice. You can feed any part of any animal that you can find in a grocery store plus deer, goat, and other animals like that. Your dog can eat any bone for any animal except for leg bones from cows or buffalo or maybe deer.
 
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