9/25/2008

Squirrel

Here is Amos thoroughly enjoying a squirrel breakfast. No, I did not kill this squirrel, nor did he. It happened to be fresh hit on the road.

Fresh roadkill is a great free food source, not to mention good for introducing variety if your carnivore's diet is lacking. I am convinced new to raw people are not going to utilize this wonderful "fruit of the pavement" (as termed by Casey) but seasoned raw feeders might as they get used to the idea of getting food from sources other than a grocery store. So far I have picked up 3 squirrels and one rabbit that I DID hit purely by accident and felt like a real jerk afterward. Thankfully it died instantly. I also just fed a young rabbit to Waverli today that my dad's dog killed in the backyard many weeks ago.

My personal guide for picking up roadkill is this:
Leave it alone if it's stiff, smells of decomposition, isn't in a safe pick up area, is crushed in any way, or is in an odd area (such as in yards or driveways) that may indicate death by other means (ie poisoning, sickness, severe parasitic infestation). Animals are frozen for 3 weeks to kill off any potential parasites. Some feed fresh, some freeze for only a week, some freeze for more than 3 weeks. My two seem to be overly sensitive to parasites (Wav to tapes and Amos to whips) so I err on the side of caution. It does not mean that wild critters are diseased and unsafe to feed.

I skin the rabbits but squirrel is much harder to do so I get as much fur/hide off as possible and don't worry about any remaining around the head, shoulders and legs. This is just a personal preference as some people feed whole fur-on rabbits and other critters to their canine companions. Amos doesn't care for things with full fur on so I try my best to get as much off as possible. He will tolerate a little though. I also remove the stomach and intestines before feeding, as I do with all whole prey as well to avoid the kitchen smelling, literally, like crap.

I've saved about $10 in food by picking up fresh roadkill and my dog has found squirrel as one of his favorite meats. Waverli really likes squirrel too! My closing statement? Don't knock it 'til you tried it (or rather, let your dog/cat try it).

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