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What is now in freezer awaiting puppy's arrival:

10 lbs of chicken gizzards/livers
2 whole beef hearts
5 lbs liver (beef)
40 lbs of chicken necks/legs backs/wings
15 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts no sodium (start him with some good stuff!)
5 lbs of beef kidney/pancreas
4 whole chickens without sodium
4 beef tongues


I am avoiding pork, but will get/freeze fish once I find a cheap option.

Currently I would say I'm about $2.25/lb, but under $2/lb if you don't count the chicken breasts.... I actually threw one oh the chicken breasts on the smoker for myself before freezing the rest!
 

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Not stupid at all! I find this site helpful. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search

You can search items like "Chicken, broilers or fryers, drumstick, meat and skin, raw" and this comes up: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/865?manu=&fgcd=

Click "Full Report" and you'll see:
Carbohydrate Factor: 3.87 Fat Factor:9.02 Protein Factor: 4.27 Nitrogen to Protein Conversion Factor: 6.25
Refuse: 66% Refuse Description: Bone and cartilage 33%, Bone and connective tissue 33%

So that means on an average drumstick, you've got 33% bone.
thanks again Sibe for this link. i'm finding it really helpful as i plan this all. a few more questions if you guys don't mind me picking your brains!

where for chickens it mentions 33% bone/cartilage and 33% bone/connective tissue- why are we only counting the bone with the cartilage and not with the connective tissue?
Also, should I be feeding skins? and if so is there a certain percentage?
over how long of a period of time is it safe to balance out the diet? a week? a month? somewhere in between?
what is the opinion on feeding ground beef? and if its okay how lean am i looking for?
 

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thanks again Sibe for this link. i'm finding it really helpful as i plan this all. a few more questions if you guys don't mind me picking your brains!

where for chickens it mentions 33% bone/cartilage and 33% bone/connective tissue- why are we only counting the bone with the cartilage and not with the connective tissue?
Also, should I be feeding skins? and if so is there a certain percentage?
over how long of a period of time is it safe to balance out the diet? a week? a month? somewhere in between?
what is the opinion on feeding ground beef? and if its okay how lean am i looking for?
Connective tissue is not similar to bone, it's things like tendons. Great source of glucosamine.
To start, I don't feed skins as too much fatty stuff = cannon butt (explosive poops) so for the first week or so I remove skin as is reasonable to do, don't obsess about getting every last bit if it doesn't come off cleanly.
I try to balance over a week. I think a great way to do it is to buy what you need for a month (assuming you have the space to do so) then you know that you had balance over the month.
Ground beef is not frowned upon, but is not really encouraged either. It's expensive, it's not whole so there is no chomping-into-meat benefit, it's eaten quickly, grocery store ground meat tends to have a lot more bacteria and it's from many, many different individual animals all ground up together. It's GREAT to use for introducing organ to a picky dog, great as an occasional other source of protein, and great for stuffing in Kongs! It has its place but most people don't seem to feed it regularly. Get 80/20, not the lowfat kind. Fat is good for doggies :) But if there's an awesome sale on 93/7 or whatever then grab it.
 

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my dog is only 15 lbs so having room for a months worth is not an issue. in fact, thats been the plan all along. i've calculated how much of everything he needs for a day/week/month but what i'm struggling with most is finding a small enough source of bone so that i can feed some bone everyday to keep good poops. my dog does best on 2 meals a day but that means that he gets really small portions because he only gets 0.3 lbs for the whole day. according to that USDA link, bone in chicken breasts are 20% bone which means that 3.6 lbs of breasts would fulfill all his bone requirements and half his meat requirements for the month. but a chicken breast is probably more than a whole day's worth of food. even small parts like wings/necks seem to be 2-3 days worth of bone each :/
 

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Just cut the breast to size, it is easy to get through those ribs with scissors or a knife. Ginger is 14 pounds and if you can find chicken feet or necks they are a good size of bone for a small dog. A neck would be an every other day bone, a foot a daily bone. I buy bone in breast and do a very poor job of boning so there is still quite a bit of meat on the bone. Humans get the meat, she gets the bone cut into ~1 ounce bits fed daily along with meat/organ. You might be able to cut necks in half and wings are fine cut into 1/3s for Ginger, might be for your small dog as well. Try it but don't repeat the experiment if you are uneasy about dog wanting to swallow without enough chomping.

Ginger has been very easy in regards to fewer bony meals but keeping good stool quality. I had a lot of trouble with Max though. Turned out he did okay if he got bony meat with the organ alternating with plain meat days. In addition to that I fed bigger meals on bone days. Conveniently he ate 10 ounces a day or 20 ounces over 2 days. I fed him 12 ounces on bone/organ days and 8 ounces on meat days. He happened to eat once a day but it is possible to do the same for dogs fed 2x a day. Ginger sure notices that the dish has 1 ounce rather than 2 but she doesn't have an upset tummy if she gets short rations for a day. I used chicken feet and small whole fish as my crutches while working through attempting to get his gut used to bone every other day as a single chicken foot was 1/2 his daily bone and fish even less.
 

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Sigh...Vitae NEEDS 5 pounds a day to keep a good body condition...in perspective that how much Manna eats and Manna is about 100lbs heavier than Vitae and about 80lbs above Vitae's predicted adult weight.
 

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one more stupid question please! this may be an obvious one but i'm a vegetarian so i'm kind of lost with all these meat "parts"
A grocery store nearby has "chicken legs with backs attached" on sale for $1.77/lb. What exactly is this? Obviously theres a drumstick and what else? a thigh? what counts as a back? i'm just trying to figure out the bone content using that USDA link but i'm struggling.
 

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one more stupid question please! this may be an obvious one but i'm a vegetarian so i'm kind of lost with all these meat "parts"
A grocery store nearby has "chicken legs with backs attached" on sale for $1.77/lb. What exactly is this? Obviously theres a drumstick and what else? a thigh? what counts as a back? i'm just trying to figure out the bone content using that USDA link but i'm struggling.
That sounds like chicken quarters with the back attached. It will have a pretty high bone content, in that case. I'm not very familiar with prices in Canada, but I can get chicken leg quarters for $0.95/lb regularly in a grocery store, so you can probably find a better deal. Just the leg quarters will have a slightly higher MM % than legs with back, I think. And don't worry about the different names for everything, it comes with time - I'm still learning! (Vegetarian here, too! :) )

ETA: Chicken leg quarter is drumstick and thigh still attached to each other.
 

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Lena currently gets around 10-13oz/day (depending on the day). We do organs every 3rd or 4th day. Bone-in meals are generally organ days. We feed one meal a day to keep the meals larger and encourage non-gulping habits!

Depending on what we have stocked in the freezer, our menu changes, but here's a "sample" week with what we currently have:

Monday:
Chicken leg quarter, eggs

Tuesday:
Beef heart, ground green tripe

Wednesday:
Chicken leg quarter, chicken liver, beef kidney

Thursday:
Salmon (lake caught), ground green tripe

Friday:
Beef heart, egg

Saturday:
Chicken leg quarter, chicken liver, pork kidney

Sunday:
Salmon (lake caught), ground green tripe

Lena also gets Nupro Silver and Bug-Off Garlic Granules daily. Puréed fruit/veggies are fed occasionally, depending on what we have float through the house. (also fish oil when we don't have oily fish in the menu rotation)

We're still working on finding affordable variety. Lamb/mutton and pork are out because Lena is allergic.

Here are some things we've fed in the past, and likely will again:
ground venison
ground rabbit
whole whiting
turkey hearts
ground beef
goat pancreas
pork liver
beef liver
duck feet
chicken feet
beef spleen
chicken gizzard
turkey neck
whole chicken
 

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My crew is relatively new to being raw fed, and even then it is only partial (I feed kibble on the road).

I will say once you get started, things become much easier. I am a very anxious person by nature and had a very hard time with the idea, but once I got going, I felt better.

The bulk of my dogs' diet comes from super market chicken with other meats rounding out the variety (this makes feeding raw the most affordable for me). I recently joine a co-op, which really helped. I can order quality meat in bulk and have an order of just under 200 lbs of meat coming to me for $145.25

It consists of a variety of things, including one commercial mix (Eureka Hi Pro mix IIRC). I also got a ton of tripe, venison, salmon, and 50 lbs of bones to make bone broth for my Old Man dog.

I have a local supplier as well that can provide me ground meats (with bone and organ), which I also use. I get my "novelty meats" (rabbit, duck, lamb) from her, as well as organs. She has a ground organ mix I REALLY like and it is easy to dole out to the dogs.
 

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That sounds like chicken quarters with the back attached. It will have a pretty high bone content, in that case. I'm not very familiar with prices in Canada, but I can get chicken leg quarters for $0.95/lb regularly in a grocery store, so you can probably find a better deal. Just the leg quarters will have a slightly higher MM % than legs with back, I think. And don't worry about the different names for everything, it comes with time - I'm still learning! (Vegetarian here, too! :) )

ETA: Chicken leg quarter is drumstick and thigh still attached to each other.
So does that mean that if a Chicken leg is 27% bone and back is 44% bone then combined they average 35.5% bone?
 

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Close enough. If the back is half the weight of the whole then that is right, the back probably isn't half the weight of the piece though. I think the chicken quarters are generally a pound around here but the half leg quarter back Ginger gets is definitely not 8 ounces, more like 3-4.

Don't worry too much about getting it precisely 'right'. Mostly remember that feeding half the diet in backs, carcasses, skinned chicken necks and the like is a really bad idea as you would be feeding 22-37% bone where feeding half the diet in meaty chicken like breasts and legs is about right. I like feeding super bony stuff like ribs, backs and necks so I can feed more red meat. Ginger gets about 20-30% of her food as bony chicken.
 

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So last night I went shopping for all the meats and today I weighed everything out, portioned and packed it all.
I wound up getting:
4.5 lbs of skinless bone-in chicken breast
1.2 lbs of beef heart
2.4 lbs of beef chuck
0.5 lbs of pork spleen
0.5 lbs of beef liver

This is a months worth of food for my dog. He eats 9 lbs a month. For next time I'm going to try to incorporate a little more variety with proteins. Maybe some turkey or lamb. But for a start, how does this look?

All this cost me roughly $30. I know that's probably a lot but as I get more comfortable making portions I'm going to look for cheaper cuts.

When I was cutting up the chicken breasts I noticed that the large bone that runs lengthwise (sternum?) is quite hard. Is this consumable?
 

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Looks fine to feed a dog that has been on raw for at least a month. Have you started him out already? Each of the meats you listed needs to be introduced separately for a new to raw dog.

I leave the sternum on the ribs and 14 pound Ginger eats it fine, she had ribs+sternum this morning in fact. I wouldn't take it off in case your dog decides it can be swallowed whole and I probably would save ribs+sternum meals for a couple weeks as it is a heavier bone. New to raw dogs don't have stomach juices that can digest bone quite as well as later on plus they have a tendency to hurry and not chomp as much as they ought to. The more broken up the bone the easier time the gut has dealing with it. Delicate flower Max did okay with chicken wing bones but thigh bones were tougher for him at first, took several months before his gut did a good job digesting them.
 

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Okay how OCD do I need to get about weighing/ratios of things?

I have made a couple of batches (one goat/chicken/beef and one fish) of completely balanced ground food - I did the maths for 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other organs, and then I add about 20% of that total weight in vegetables on top of his daily allowance. So, he gets 8 oz per meal (3 meals for 24 oz total) of the meat/bone/organ mixture plus about an ounce and a half-ish of whatever vegetables and fruit I have handy that I steam and puree.

I've been trying to add in more RMBs and chunks of meat, but so far it has been just chicken parts at dinnertime 3-4 times a week and he has had some goat chops and a couple random other things. I got whole organic chickens (Costco has great prices, and they come with ALL the organs) and just broke them down. I usually give him maybe half a back with a whole thigh and a roughly even chunk of liver to other organs, and I typically cut a strip off the breast to go along with it. But since this isn't a daily thing (yet), I haven't been super careful about weighing and getting the bone/meat ratio right. I have been careful to add in pure meaty items with more boney items, and his poop has been fine.

So how DO you get the ratios right? Or do you not have to be that specifically careful if you are feeding the whole animal over the course of a couple of weeks? Like say I gave him a 6 oz chicken thigh. That would be just over 4 oz of meat and just under 2 oz of bone. So in order to get that to be an appropriate ratio of meat to bone, I'd have to add in like 12 oz of boneless meat, which would be way more than he should have in one meal. Or as long as he is pooping okay and I know that over time, he's getting a whole animal, do I not have to worry about that balance?

On top of that, I also plan to branch out to RMBs other than chicken - pork/beef ribs, more goat chops, lamb pieces, etc. How do you balance that meat/bone ratio when you KNOW you aren't going to be able to feed an entire cow or pig in a week? Do you just cut the RMB small enough so that you can add enough boneless meat to make it not too large of a meal?

My head is spinning.
 

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At first I weighed things out. By "at first" I mean for probably the first couple years. The last couple years I can eyeball things well enough, and I'm not as paranoid about scheduling meals. Something meaty, something meaty, something boney and hey let's add an egg today, fish and meat, boney, something meaty, oh they haven't had organ in like a week oops let's do a couple meals with organ... I really don't worry about the 80-10-10 so much. I give a lot of meat, meat with bone 2-3x a week (split chicken breast, chicken leg quarter, sometimes pork ribs or such), the one thing I do try to stay on top of is the organ and giving 5% liver and 5% other over the course of the week. Usually have one meal with liver, one meal with other. I also give whole frozen fish about once a week so that factors into organ (and is also bone and some meat, mostly I give it for the Omega 3).
 

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Looks fine to feed a dog that has been on raw for at least a month. Have you started him out already? Each of the meats you listed needs to be introduced separately for a new to raw dog.

I leave the sternum on the ribs and 14 pound Ginger eats it fine, she had ribs+sternum this morning in fact. I wouldn't take it off in case your dog decides it can be swallowed whole and I probably would save ribs+sternum meals for a couple weeks as it is a heavier bone. New to raw dogs don't have stomach juices that can digest bone quite as well as later on plus they have a tendency to hurry and not chomp as much as they ought to. The more broken up the bone the easier time the gut has dealing with it. Delicate flower Max did okay with chicken wing bones but thigh bones were tougher for him at first, took several months before his gut did a good job digesting them.
He's been on raw for 2 months now. But it's been a commercially available ground raw diet. As for proteins he's has chicken, turkey, beef, pork, duck, and salmon. Did fine on all of them.
I've done bone in chicken parts supplementary for years. Mostly necks and backs.
 

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I still weigh out meals! Ginger gets 4 ounces a day, hard to eyeball that.

When I started I only used whole bits of meat and had only part of a combo frig/freezer to use to store his food. What I did was buy exactly 10% bone encased in meat plus organs plus the extra boneless meat needed then I packed it up into daily bags. Some bags would have more bone than others but over the month it came out exactly what Max needed. When I do that now I pack up 2-3 days at a time as the packing for Ginger's 4 ounces a day is tedious and 3 days is fine in the frig and I use foil as the meats don't freezer burn as bad and I can recycle the foil.

Right now there is 8 ounces of a meat/organ/tripe grind and ribs/back/neck of a chicken in the frig. Ginger is getting 2 ounces of that chicken for breakfast and 2 ounces of the grind for dinner one day and 2+2oz of the grind the following day which comes out to about 10-12% bone. Then I watch the poop, perhaps I need to feed 1 boney meal + 2 grinds or cut that chicken smaller and add some grind to it.

Really most of the reason we emphasize 10% bone is to keep people from thinking just chicken is good or feeding just meaty bones is okay. Feed meat! Then feed enough bony stuff to suit your dog's gut and buy enough organ for the month and done. I only feed small amounts of organ at a time but some raw feeders like to feed it weekly. If he happens to really adore that big pork neck and eats twice as much as you figured then no bone for 1-4 days and feed a good sized hunk of liver the following day to take advantage of the stool firming bone. If you got sick of looking at that organ grind in the frig and give him 2x the usual to finish it off then give him a bony bit the next meal.
 
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