11/27/2008

Few teeth? No teeth? No problem!

This handsome devil to the left is Orion, a good friend and fellow reader's dog. Orion isn't like most other raw fed dogs, you see, he only has 3 teeth which are not much use for eating. I was asked to post this story as an inspiration to those who have dentally challenged dogs or cats.

"He gets chicken most days.. usually around 1lb or .5lb.. he eats chicken since he can eat those bones, but he also likes organ meat (especially liver), other meats like turkey and pork, loves venison, and somedays he eats raw egg," says his owner. "He gets fish oil on some of his food. For the chicken, I cut the leg or thigh into several pieces with a cleaver.. other meats he usually eats without cutting. I kept him on raw because I feel it's the best for dogs. I've seen how healthy Amos is and I think that's proof that raw is best. I'm a vegetarian, but I have no issue handling meat for Orion."

Orion's owner is clearly dedicated to the health and wellbeing of her boy, and even though his food prep may take a few minutes longer than what most of us are used to, she is willing to do what it takes. And it looks like Orion is happy about eating raw food too!

11/24/2008

Be an independent thinker!

There are many different ways out there to feed a raw diet. There is prey model, dehydrated "raw", commercial/premade, BARF, and within that is high bone content like necks and backs as the raw meaty bone, there is a variety of fruit/vegetable combinations, and add in supplements it gets pretty tricky. It can seem more complicated than it really is. What I encourage people to do is to question the information being given to them. Ask for sources and research studies. Make sure the sources are not bias or motivated to sell you something. If you can get in the habit of picking things apart and finding the truth or dishonesty in them, you will be able to defend (if you so choose) your choice or educate those less knowledgable. The Raw Fed Myths page is great for getting answers to the most common debates.

11/23/2008

Venison surplus

Not that I'm complaining but deer season is really proving fruitful here! Hoping it is going well for everyone else now that gun season is here. On Friday I picked up 2 deer minus organs and head from someone in IL. May possibly get more as her family has a farm and sometimes get more than they can use. The only things thawed enough to cut were 2 rib cages and 2 thighs and the rest needs to thaw in shifts so it can fit better in the freezer. Right now it looks full but it's just because it's odd pieces that don't fit together real well. I also picked up about 10 lbs of pork, 3 lbs of ground turkey and a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts. The chicken is being fed to Trevor, who has fallen off the raw bandwagon but seems to be back on now that I have boneless stuff to feed him. I haven't had pork or turkey for him, which is the only other meats he'll eat. Venison he won't touch which is unfortunate because I have atleast 200 lbs! Yep.. we're stocked for the season!

The long awaited sheep post!

So after much anticipation, I have gotten a whole sheep and processed it myself. I would have posted yesterday when I was done but I was too exhausted. I am posting only links to the processing photos as they may be a bit much for some and I do not want to have them viewable on the front page for those who don't want to see them. So, you can either view them or not.

Let me make a note here that #34 was 3 years old, a gorgeous ewe that was being culled from the flock as she was a smaller frame at 90 lbs and could possibly have trouble bearing lambs as she aged, compared to the larger ewes. Her death was pretty quick and painless, the farmer made sure of that. I could tell he cared deeply for the sheep and had the utmost respect for them. That made all the difference. These sheep were grassfed and had many many acres to roam on. What a life!

Levi, my step brother helped me skin and remove the front legs. Our tools were a small hunting knife for cutting the hide, tendons and muscle and a cleaver for chopping thru bone.

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c377/MalignStar/1.jpg
Hanging, before skinning. Skinning was done by cutting around at the ankle, then down the back of the legs and pulling down while cutting carefully down the stomach.

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c377/MalignStar/2.jpg
Skinned, abdomen slit. What you see is the stomach and intestines.
*Make note the sheep is hanging differently. Something happened with the tendons (accidentally cut while skinning I think) and as we were halfway thru skinning, it came crashing down on the ground.

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c377/MalignStar/3.jpg
Gutted, head removed though not visible.

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c377/MalignStar/4.jpg
Neck, front legs, shoulders and ribs removed. Cleaver was used to cut the ribs along the spine. Front legs were removed by cutting the muscle and tendons around the shoulder blade and twisting it out of the joint.

Though I didn't get a picture of the last shots (I was about to collapse at that point in pain), the next things to be done were removing the back legs in the same fashion as the front, and sectioning the spine by cutting the muscle and fat around the vertebrae and bending it backwards to break.

Here's the pictures now of everything that was cut and bagged. The only thing you won't see is the intestines. The hide was saved for tanning.
Fat, trim, and legs

Back thighs, spine, hips

Ribs

Shoulders and misc pieces

Stomach, before emptying contents which didn't smell at all.

Tripe after emptying/rinsing in blue ziploc, above is kidneys and pancreas or spleen, heart to the right of that, neck and head, lower right hand corner is liver and lungs are to the left of that.

Cleanup crew! She ate all the meat pieces in the sink after I was done.

11/19/2008

Eating chicken

Since blogger is not letting me upload the video right now directly, here's the link.

http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c377/MalignStar/?action=view&current=PictureorVideo001.flv

Breakfast, au natural!

11/12/2008

Salvaging the deer

Does everyone remember the entry on respect? This is exactly how to DISrespect an animal that dies in the name of "sport" or the dinner table. You kill it only for memorabilia and a tender piece of meat. Then you throw it out in the weeds to rot.

Today I came across a deer, a beautiful buck, that was dead and laying off the side of the road. Amos and I were out biking and about 2 miles from my house I came across the carcass, with the antlers sawed out of it's head and the backstraps (which are the leanest, tenderest part of the deer and are located along the spine) missing. One back leg was partially missing, the other 3 were there. I took Amos home and called around, finally getting the number for the conservation department and gained permission to take the deer. Went back with steprother in tow, and a large plastic tote and began to load it into the car. Someone had stopped to give us trouble, thinking we were the ones dumping the carcass and I explained to him it was already dumped, we were picking it up. He didn't seem satisfied so I said I already had it ok'd by the highway department. He then left.

We got it home and were able to salvage the rib cage, shoulders, neck, one back leg and some meat from the hide that was cut along the back. All in all I'd guess there was 40 lbs. I'd like to get on the list for roadkill deer in the future.

11/09/2008

Some thoughts in the Biology department

When I was in high school, our teacher informed us that we would be dissecting frogs, worms and possibly a mouse that year. I was completely horrified, and told my teacher I refused to take part in an activity in which the animals were killed just so some kids could cut them up. I believed if anyone wanted to make biology as their career, they would have plenty of time to dissect, and everyone else who didn't choose that path in life wouldn't have to partake, especially when 99% of them had no respect for the animal. I thought the school would save so much money by cutting out (no pun intended) dissection and investing in some latex models.

So while I did protest dissection in biology class and was able to dissect a computer model, I never believed that the most valuable experience I would receive would come years later. When I found Waverli close to the fourth of July in 2007, I had no idea the journey that lay ahead. Sure it was tiring for many weeks with 3-4 nightly and early morning bottle feedings, her terrible constipation issues, ringworm and the constant worry but it was all worth it. Of course, I was doubting that when it came time to switch her onto raw, which she promptly did at 4.5 weeks old and refused to even look at the KMR anymore. To be honest, the whole prey thing upset me. I've had mice and rats as pets (and currently do) and I wondered how was I going to deal with her eating quails and guinea pigs and rabbits? I knew this was the best thing for her and that's the only thing that got me thru the first pinkie mouse purchase (they were humanely euth'd with CO2, I don't buy whole prey any other way). As time went on it got easier and I was able to move her up the scale onto adult mice. The quail were right at meal size for her but the guinea pigs were another story. I bought them because they were on a good sale at Rodent Pro but I had no idea what I'd gotten myself into! The first GP I just handed to her and after the entire house reeked of crap (literally) I thought there must be another way. It was then I realized I would have to take the intestines OUT. The thought was sickening but in order to keep the kitchen smelling (and looking) decent, it had to be done.

I remember the first few times were awful. I did it as quick as possible and the carcass was still partially frozen. As time went on I became quite curious about the insides and explored a bit more each time I prepared her GP breakfasts. I became very familiar with the look and feel of the stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen, reproductive organs, heart, lungs and so on. It was such an interesting thing to explore the different aspects of life and not have it wasted. Since then I have had the honor of processing rabbits, squirrels and ducks and learning so much about anatomy, more than biology class could've EVER taught me.

Now, down to my thoughts after I have rambled on into a novel! I've been thinking how neat it would be to offer these services to local schools. Every child would not get their own whole animal but perhaps one for every 6-7 students. Raw feeders could loan them (and of course be in the room so you can be sure they are being respectful of what will feed your pet later) rats, guinea pigs, rabbits or whatever else and the children would be able to actually see the position of the organs, as well as note their color, size, shape, texture, instead of trying to guess what all of those details were before it was soaked for months in formaldehyde. Even if just 20 animals per year were spared at one school from having to be killed "in the name of science" it would still make such a huge difference in the long run. The idea might even catch on. Of course I would not visit my local high school or junior high and propose the idea, rather perhaps a parent of a student or several parents could casually bring up the idea to the teacher in private. All things considered, it could blossom into a wonderful program, and the children would also be indirectly familiarized with an aspect of raw feeding. What a great way to get involved in your community and local schools.

11/08/2008

New freezer!

Today my family went and picked up a 19.7 cu ft Frigidaire chest freezer for $100. There was nothing wrong with it; it was bought to store lots of meat and the deal fell thru so the freezer wasn't needed anymore. It's almost $600 new and was purchased in 2007. Now I can buy a whole sheep, and fill it up with venison scraps.. all for Amos and Waverli... and maybe a new puppy in the not too distant future. *wink*

Moral of this story- check craigslist daily if you need a freezer!

11/05/2008

Picky

Amos has decided to go on a hunger strike. I partially thawed out some duck tonight and he played around with it, Waverli stole it a few times, he stole it back, etc etc and still he hasn't even eaten a bite. I took it away and I'll offer it again tomorrow when he's hungrier. If he'd never eaten duck before I could have some mercy but he's eaten it on and off for almost 3 years. He did this with rabbit too. He ate 3 rabbits before and then I offer it again and he refuses to eat it. Luckily he will eat it now but only if it's frozen.

For those of you with suddenly picky dogs- stick to your guns. A healthy dog will not starve him/herself.

11/01/2008

Ducks! (Part 2)

I only got 4 ducks defeathered before I was cursing under my breath and fed up with it all. They are a pain! I ended up breaking the wing tip to the first joint off because it wasn't worth it to pull those large thick feathers out for a tiny amount of skin and bone. I froze the other 3 whole in my freezer and will attempt to defeather them when the other 4 are eaten. Amos has also decided he doesn't care for duck anymore and that he'd rather eat rabbit, his most hated meat, instead. I think the fact he hasn't had it in a year has alot to do with it, and the oil glands of the duck have probably got on the skin and made it taste a bit funky. He may eat it frozen but I prefer to feed things thawed. Even if he'll eat it half thawed that would be better than frozen solid. Waverli on the other hand happily stole what he refused to eat (though he did roll on it) and ate that on top of her ration as well. Isn't that pathetic? My DOG is pickier than my CAT.