10/31/2008

Ducks!

(Hard to see, but I numbered them in red)

So thanks to a connection made at my anti raw vet's office (of all places!) I have been fortunate enough to get dove, duck and goose meat from when her husband goes hunting. He doesn't really like the meat except when it's cooked just right (and by the way these things smell on the outside I cannot imagine that's very often) so just ends up giving them out to anyone who wants them. The last 2 times I've only gotten breast meat, but last year told him I can use absolutely everything on the bird and that it would actually be a time/effort saver for him to just leave them whole. He was worried about the insides going bad so last year I still ended up with breast meat only. Well last night I got a call from his wife saying he had 2 ducks to give me if I could pick them up today and she'd just put them in the freezer at her work. She brought up a huge bag and I said "Are those 2 ducks or geese in there?!" and she said no they were ducks. The bag looked like it weighed about 30 lbs. So I traded her off some apple butter for the ducks and drove home. When I got them out to thaw, I counted not only the 2 for sure, but 5 more! She probably seen since there were 2 bags that there was one in each. The mallards are almost as big as my 8 lb cat. There is a teal, a few wood ducks and I think a female mallard, and 3 males I believe. I have them thawing now to defeather hopefully before I go to work. The kids haven't had duck for a year because I don't buy it in the store, I only get it from my hunter friend.

So now that duck season is starting, be on the lookout and start asking around for the meat and/or whole bird. There is a lot more sport shooting going on with ducks than deer, and I bet you will find people that don't eat the meat either that are wanting to give it away. Wild duck is definately better than the kind you buy in the store. Atleast you know they had a great life!

10/29/2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I came across an interesting point of view on the rawfeeding list, posted by steviesun that I had to post here.



Here is the video that the whole thing was about. Clip occurs at 1:55 and ends at 2:55. What you see in this short one minute is what raw feeding is all about. I used to call it being "resourceful" when using all the unwanted parts that people don't usually eat like the organs, head, bones, and when feeding things that are thrown away like old, freezer burned meats, scraps from wild game, or fresh roadkill. What James McAvoy (the chef) teaches is that it is truly RESPECT over anything. Raw feeders respect the animal that is butchered for our pets and even ourselves by wasting as less as possible, and maybe even wasting nothing except the weight bearing bones.

Just think how the Native Americans lived on the plains. When they hunted an animal, they used EVERYTHING, not just the choice cuts of meat. I even advocate finding some place to take the hide if the whole animal is being processed. Many people can tan it and find good use for it; the alternative is what? Tossing it out in the woods to rot? I understand some things just cannot really be used/fed effectively, intestines probably being one of them but some patient raw feeders will clean them out and feed them (whether the dog/cat/ferret eats them is another story), and sometimes they are used as sausage casings.

My final thought on this is that we need to make sure we are being as respectful of the animals that make it possible for our dogs, cats and ferrets to eat a natural, healthy diet. Every cow, pig, mouse, rat, chicken, turkey, deer, duck and so on was once an intelligent, emotional being. Let's not take it them for granted.

10/24/2008

My crazy dream..

I've had this desire to open up my own raw feeding store where people can come in with their dogs, sample new meats, ask questions, get advice, and enjoy the shopping for their pets. The store will be focused on the prey model diet with books, articles and other resources.

Everything will be under $1/lb. How can that be done you say? I would also love to pasture raise my own poultry, rabbits, quail, possibly goats and sheep. If not the larger animals I can easily find someone who can supply. The processing will all be done at the store, ultimately cutting out the middle man and keeping costs way down. Being pastured also keeps the price down because grain based feeds are getting more expensive by the year, not to mention grains are not a natural food for the animals humans have domesticated. Grassfed meats contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and are much healthier for the people and pets that eat them.

There is much to be considered before the store can go up. The husbandry aspect must be addressed first and foremost and if it is indeed sustainable then it can be used to supply a limited amount of food at first and expanded as the business grows. The building will be "green" as well, deriving energy from solar panels, and relying on a floor plan that is relatively open to take advantage of natural light, among many other eco friendly modifications. Like I said, it's a crazy dream, but it's MY crazy dream and I plan to make it a reality in the not too distant future. The name of the business? The Raw Truth. How ironic. ;) And to think it all stemmed from a vegetarian who didn't want an allergy ridden dog, but fell in love and determined to make it all better, stumbled across this wonderful life giving diet.

10/17/2008

Feeding raw on a limited budget


With the economy the way it is, food prices rising, gas prices (luckily) starting to fall but still expensive, an uncertain future politically and many other issues, there's just no room for worry about the cost of pet food too. Here is a list on ways to cut the food bill, and often times, be friendly to the environment by reducing waste.

The Lis List is full of great ideas for finding cheap sources of meat. Permission to post from Lis. Most current edition 4/16/09.


Finding Cheaper Sources of Meat (For Raw Feeding):

If you have the space, get yourself a freezer, so you can take advantage of the savings when you find them. There are often freezers for free (or cheap) on Freecycle, Craigslist, and Kijiji.

1) Look up meat and poultry packers, plants, and distributors in the yellow pages (or online).
You may be able to get great prices from them if you order in bulk, and/or they may have a discount outlet that is open to the public.

2) ***** I get many of my best deals in Asian/Oriental markets. I've also heard that Hispanic and Caribbean markets have great variety and prices too. But not all ethnic markets are the same - some are much cheaper than others - you must visit a few and compare.

3) You may be able to join a barter group.

4) Google breeders (i.e. rabbit, goat, lamb, etc.) who are in your geographic area. They may have culls they want to get rid of, or stillborns, or lower prices overall. Don't forget 4-H breeders.

5) Try bulk buying - Look up bulk suppliers and frozen bulk foods in your yellow pages (or online).

6) If you have a Chinatown nearby, definitely make a visit.

7) Let your friends, relatives, and neighbors know you want any freezer burnt or old meat when they clean out their freezers, and tell them to pass the word along. Freezer-burnt meat may be dried out on the edges but is perfectly safe for pets as long as it has been frozen all this time.

8) If you belong to a church or social group, tell those members to mention it to their friends and relatives as well. You may be allowed to put a notice on the bulletin board or in the newsletter.

9) See if there are any co-ops or meat buying groups near you. Check on Yahoo, or Google to see.

10) Try a free ad website, like Craigslist or Kijiji - it's amazing what you can get for free or cheap.
Here are the best ones:
http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites.html
http://www.kijiji.com
http://www.backpage.com
http://www.usfreeads.com/
http://www.oodle.com/

11) ***** And I get meat, poultry, and fish all the time (for free)
through Freecycle. Join multiple lists if you live or work close to the boundary of another list.
And join some of the other variations too:
http://www.freecycle.org/
http://www.freesharing.org
http://www.sharingisgiving.org
http://www.reuseitnetwork.org /
http://www.freesharing.org/sites_like_us.php

12) Some Wal-marts and some Costcos and some Sams Clubs have good deals, but you may want to make sure it's not enhanced meat you're buying (most of the time that is what they have, and some pets have difficulty with it).

13) Definitely watch the store flyers, and you can usually see the rest of the flyers online (the ones that don't get delivered to your home, but are only a short drive away).

14) ***** Hands down, the bulk of my best deals have been marked down meat at regular grocery stores. They reduce it the day before it is going to expire, and I go as early as I can in the morning to get it before it is gone.

15) Tell friends and relatives who hunt and fish that you want first dibs on any body parts they don't want. You can probably get at least the organs and maybe the head. Also ask them to put you in touch with their other friends who hunt and fish.

16) A great tip I learned a while back- some restaurants and caterers throw out things they don't use, like the organs that come inside whole poultry, or raw meat that falls on the floor.
See if they'll save them for you. Find somebody who knows somebody who works in a restaurant or knows a caterer.

17) Farmer's markets are great, but pick and choose carefully for the best bargains. And sometimes at the end of the day some vendors will reduce their prices, cause they don't want to take it back with them.

18) Some people contact taxidermists, who have no use for the meat.

19) Join the RawFeeding Yahoo Group and find people on that list from your vicinity, and ask them where they get their meat deals.
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/rawfeeding/
Join other raw feeding lists or other pet or breeder related lists (there are many, some may even be local to you), and ask if there are other raw feeders in your area.

20) Tell your butcher you want the meat that they would normally throw out, that is almost out of date, that people ordered and didn't pick up, stuff that was dropped on the floor, their freezer clean-outs, and parts that don't sell (like trachea, lungs, spleen, etc.). Some butchers will save their trim for you (once they get to know you). Build a relationship with them first. Many butchers will give you these things for free, once they know you (and especially if you are a regular customer who buys meat for yourself).

21) Yes, roadkill works too (where it is legal). In some places you can get your name on the list and get called when they have large roadkill (like deer). You may be able to move to the top of the list if you say you don't mind getting called at night or for kill more than a couple of hours old.

22) You can raise your own meat/poultry if you have the space.

23) Post a message in CarnivoreFeed-Supplier or CFS-Canada if you are in North America.
Both of these groups specialize in matching up meat suppliers with raw feeders:
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/CarnivoreFeed-Supplier/
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/CFS-Canada/
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/CFS-Australia/

24) Speak to local farmers. Also, you may also be able to get their injured or old stock at very
reduced prices.

25) You can look for heart, tongue, and gizzards which count as meat (as opposed to organ) in the world of raw feeding, but are often cheaper than other muscle meats.

26) Find somebody who knows somebody who works at the grocery store. They can introduce you to the meat guy, who may become more willing to save stuff for you or reduce items about to expire, once they know you.

27) Check the internet. Some suppliers have affordable prices, even after shipping costs are
calculated.

28) Double-whammy: if a meat is on special this week at the grocery, go in and check the expiry date on the packages. Then go back to get it when reduced again (reduction on the reduction)
the day of or day before expiry (depending on their policy).

29) Somebody had a great source a while back: some schools (colleges)that teach butchering sell the meat really cheap, that the students have worked on.

30) Check out the meat processing plants and/or slaughter houses they process the animals for farmers or hunters (amongst others). You can often get the left over pieces for free. If you have the stomach for it, you can ask to go through the gut barrels and trim barrels yourself.

31) Ask a few of your local grocery stores and butchers what it would cost to order things for you by the case. Compare prices.

32) Someone mentioned that depending on where you live you may be able to attend livestock auctions and then get the animal butchered.

33) If you know any apartment building managers, ask them about the frozen meat people leave behind when they move out.

34) You may be able to order from restaurant suppliers.

35) Find more hunters (and their unwanted meat) by posting a notice on bulletin boards where they may congregate (like feed, tractor, country supply, sports, army supply, or gun stores), or at hunter check points, and by posting in online hunter's forums. Hunters also need to get rid of last year's catch to make room for this years.

36) If you live close to the waterfront, you may be able to buy some of the day's catch as it comes in. If you are close to a lake or river, also speak to people who may be fishing for sport and have no interest in eating their catch.

37) Find people who will be moving (and may not want to lug all their freezer contents with them) by watching for "sold" signs on front lawns in your neighborhood and popping a note in their mailbox.

38) Find a raw feeding buddy, maybe an hour's drive away. When you each find a good deal in your own area, buy twice as much. Then split what you find with your buddy, once or twice a month.

39) Viral e-mail- create a friendly e-mail, introducing yourself and asking for old, freezer-burnt, and wild meat and send it to everyone you know in your geographic area. AND ask that each person receiving the e-mail forwards it to everyone they know in your geographic area. And so on.

40) Put a Wanted ad in the Classifieds section of your local newspaper. Using a headline with bold lettering, like ATTENTION: Homemakers/Hunters may improve your results.

41) I recently saw a Craigslist ad where someone offered to butcher road kill moose or deer (for free) so they could keep half for themselves and give half to the person who found the road kill.

42) Start a freezer cleaning/clean-out service

10/14/2008

Great website!



I just added this website to the Getting Started section.
http://www.rawmeatybones.com/index.html

I find many of the articles right on target, however I have issues with the assumption that pureeing vegetables and fruits are ok to feed as they mimic the stomach contents of prey animals. The correct info is available on the raw fed myths page. Wolves have been extensively studied at the kill site and stomach and intestinal contents are spilled, NOT EATEN, and the tissue is consumed. I haven't gotten thru all the material on the site but I plan to review it for my own curiosity. The books I have not bought, as a raw diet is truly simple and doesn't require a 300+ page read. Raw Meaty Bones may be good to take to your vet if he/she is having trouble accepting that you are feeding a species appropriate diet. You may want to join the newsletter for interesting tidbits and info on the topic of nutrition.

10/09/2008

Know Thy Dog

First off- I am sorry for the lack of postings! My laptop cord finally bit the dust and I had to wait for a new one to arrive. My battery was completely dead, but now I'm back in business!

On topic now, I see alot of people wanting specifics about what to feed, when to feed and how much to feed. The most important bit of advice I've ever come across is "know thy dog." All dogs, and cats for that matter, are individuals and while some can tolerate an entire meal of liver without any change in stools, it would give others the raging poops for a week.

No one can tell you how your dog or cat will react to certain foods, amounts or feeding frequencies. The guidelines such as feeding 2-3% of ideal body weight is not 100% science. Some dogs require less than 2%, some require 4%. Pick a percent and up the food intake if your pet is losing weight, decrease food is there is unhealthy weight gain. You should be able to see a clearly defined waistline, not see the ribs but by pressing lightly, be able to feel them. Keeping weight down will lessen the stress on joints, help reduce the risk of heart problems, diabetes and breathing troubles. Unhealthy weight can also contribute to liver problems, increased anesthetic risk, lower quality and quantity of life, reproductive problems, heat intolerance, skin/coat problems, digestive disorders, decreased immune function and possible increased risk on cancers (information taken from http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1660&articleid=694).

What to feed also requires the "know thy dog" motto. If you find your dog/cat doesn't tolerate a certain food, don't feed it. There's no rule that says to properly feed a raw diet, they must eat x, y, z meats.

Some folks feed their dogs/cats once a day, some twice, some feed 2 days worth of food at once, gorging and resting their dogs (this is only applicable to dogs, cats should NEVER go a day without eating). This may be helpful for dogs that never seem to get enough to eat. It is good to occasionally let your dog fill it's belly. For an explanation, visit this link http://k9joy.com/dogarticles/stomach.php which was found on Jessica's Raw Pets Blog.

Raw feeding is a very flexible diet plan. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Let your dog or cat be your guide. Judge the correct amount to feed on body condition. Monitor stools when introducing new foods, or when switching from smaller frequent meals to once a day feedings or gorge 'n rest style (again, this style of feeding is NOT recommended for cats- gorge 'n rest information will only ever apply to dogs). Keep in mind soft stools are not a bad thing and usually occur when no bone is fed. Understand and learn to distinguish between actual diarrhea (animal cannot hold it, has accidents in the house, stool is like water) and soft/slightly runny stools. Watch for too much bone which will produce crumbly, often white stools (which are white coming out, not like when they sit in the yard and dry out) and can cause discomfort when defecating. Using bone can bulk up the stools to relieve anal glands.

Happy feeding!