Raw Treats

I forgot at what temperature essential enzymes in raw food starts to deteriorate (I want to say 110-115F) but I have been dehydrating treats for Amos since he started having reactions to a grain free kibble I used to use for training. I've done boneless venison and beef liver cut into 1/4" slices and I set the dehydrator on 95F until they are not real flexible anymore but they're not hard and crumbly. Then I cut them in appropriate sizes for training which is about 1/2" x 1/4" and put them in a ziploc baggy in the fridge. I used to freeze half inch cubes of beef heart and train with that but guess what it looks like when it thaws? Gross, that's what! I couldn't put them in my pockets either so I had to use them all up at once. I will also be dehydrating strips for camping. Not sure I want to take a small cooler along because I'd like Amos to carry his own rations. Although dehydrated at low temps isn't as good as raw, it's better than dehydrated commercial products that are done at higher temps and certainly better than kibble! If you dehydrate for your dog or cat (Waverli LOVES venison treats!) be sure it is boneless meat and not bone in! Dried bones can be brittle and may splinter and cause problems. Doing this at home is also way cheaper than buying freeze dried meat for training. You can also dehydrate other boneless meats for variety to keep the kids guessing! My dog also works VERY well for these treats- better than anything else I've ever used.


Guinea pig video

Boy, I'm loving the video option on my new camera! Even though it only takes 30 seconds at a time, that's all I need. For all of you who have cats and are interested in feeding whole prey, I shot this video especially for you. Waverli is eating an XL guinea pig from Rodent Pro. When done she tried to give the head to my stepdad who gets pretty disgusted when she eats whole prey. It was laid nicely by the recliner for him to step on when he woke up. It's like living The Godfather scene in my own house.


Sheep leg video

I thought of it after he'd eaten most of the meat off the bone to record it. I'll get one of him tackling a venison bone sometime. Tonight was his big meal of the week and he'll just rest tomorrow. The piece looks pretty bare only because I let him strip it, eat the joints, and then it gets tossed outside in "the boneyard" as it probably closely resembles one by now. The venison bones or whatever you wish to call it were from 2 skinned and quartered deer I received (from craigslist) in which I cut most of the heavy meat off the leg bones and let them real meaty as a gorge meal for Amos. I did the same with the backs, though those bones may be more edible than legs. I have a whole giant bag of them in the big'n (freezer) downstairs. Anyway, here's the video. Has kinda poor quaility but I think it was the lighting so excuse the fuzziness.


Peer pressure?

Trevor has been increasingly interested in raw lately and always licks on Wav's food before she eats it. I'm shocked she lets him do this, but I think she understands he nutritionally challenged and is trying to convert him. Tonight I couldn't keep him off her lamb tongue so I cut off a small piece and gave it to him.. fully expecting to be cleaning it off the carpet 5 minutes later but he's kept it down for over an hour! Safe to say it's staying where it belongs, eh? Now his list of meats is growing and so far includes chicken, turkey, pork and lamb. Venison and beef he eats but cannot tolerate yet. Mr. Bone Detector used to eat one day quails too but I haven't had them around in forever so who knows if that still stands true. I'm so proud of my boy!


Posting on craigslist

You can get some pretty good replies from a craigslist post for meat, but you must know how to word it, key phrases, where to post it and what will get you flagged. I have had much success using a simple ad, posted in wanted, sporting and farm+garden. Never post in pets. You will get flagged (atleast this has been my experience 100% of the time). This is normally what I post, with some insignifigant variations occasionally.

Title: WANTED: freezer burned/old/unwanted meat

"I home cook for my (dog/cat) with severe allergies to kibble/canned food and am looking for any freezer burned, old or unwanted meat. Must be uncooked and unseasoned. I will pick up in the (list where you are willing to drive to) areas but will drive further for amounts over 50 lbs. Email me with what you have and an estimate of pounds."

I will also include an insanely cute picture of Amos with something like "Amos thanks you for your contributions!"

It is important to have proper spelling, grammer and punctuation. I don't know why but it just looks like a more serious posting vs a run on sentence in all lower case letters with "ur" and "4" and other typing shortcuts. Don't mention the word "raw" or "raw diet" anywhere in the post, don't try and educate the public thru your posting and don't post a novel of a sob story on how you cannot afford to buy meat in the supermarket or how bad your dog/cat's "allergies" are. Keep it short, simple and to the point for the best chance of getting replies. You may tailor your post in sporting to ask for old/freezer burned venison and in the post mention you will accept other meats as well. Don't list what you want in the ad either- be broad in just asking for "meat" and if you don't want it when you get it, toss it or find another raw feeder to pass it on to. I'm sure they will appreciate it.

All in all, craigslist is a great place to get free meat and cut your food bill, as I'm sure you will find. If you get a few responses, combine trips if they are near one another to save gas. Always reply quickly and don't set up a pickup date a week away- do it ASAP otherwise you seem uninterested and people may be less likely in the future to call you when they have more meat to get rid of. Always be curteous and friendly, again don't try and educate them about a raw diet unless they ask (there's nothing worse than doing something nice for someone only to have them try and "convert" you) and don't invite yourself into their house to help get the meat. I don't want a stranger in my house anymore than a decent, honest person wants to be in my house! Always be safe. Everyone I have met has always been extremely nice and I have met quite a few friends through CL because of either my postings or postings of theirs I have replied to.

So get posting! You'll get real used to free meat- I guarentee it! ;)


Sheep legs

Here's Amos, chewing on a sheep leg. The upper portion was meaty, and the bottom section he pulled off the tendon and ate the hoof.

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a wonderful 2008! Have you made a New Year's resolution? I received an email from the natural meat store in town encouraging people to get healthy this year and buy hormone/antibiotic free and grassfed meats. It got me thinking about everyone who is sitting on the fence about whether or not to start the raw feeding journey. There is no better time than now. Sure, you may decide to buy that gym membership and get fit in 2009, but what are you doing to keep the rest of your family in tip top shape? Your little carnivore deserves to eat real food this year, and years to come. Stop sitting on the fence and hop on over to the raw side! You and your furry child will be happy you did!

*You may notice that there are no messages on here promoting or advertising for commercial raw companies. I do not, and will not ever, make a single dime promoting a species appropriate, prey model raw diet to my readers. That isn't just a promise for the new year, that's a promise as long as this blog is up and running, no matter how large it gets.