I received an email from a friend asking about raw feeding and how it can be affordable. This is my response to her — I thought it might be useful to some of you who gag at the expense. Walmart always has the chicken leg quarters for about $.70/pound, so if no other meat is on sale, and you don’t have hunter friends to supply you with game, the chicken mixture works. Also, many of the stores mark down meat that must be sold that day — if you hit the store very early in the morning, you can pick up some really good cuts for a very nice price.
I bought a grinder on ebay. It is made by KitchenStar and was about $120. It has 2.6 hp, 2000 watts. (Mine is named Bruno.) It will grind poultry (backs, legs, thigh bones) — and fish bones. I use the coarse blade. You’ll need a good poultry shears, a good large kitchen knife, a large acrylic cutting board, and a kitchen scale that goes to tenths of an ounce.
I just bought the makings for a 26# batch of food. 20# fresh chicken leg quarters ($ .70/pound), 3# of fresh chicken gizzards ($1.22/pound), 2 pounds of broccoli, 1 pound of carrots, 1 pound oranges, 1 pound apples, 2 pounds of squash, 3 garlic cloves. I strive to keep the cost below $1.00/pound so I can afford to feed this way. Sometimes I use beef liver for the organ meat, I watch for pork and beef sales (often miscellaneous pork chops are $1.17/pound – and the grinder will chew them up). A whole turkey after a holiday is usually a good buy. I cut the meat and veggies into pieces that will fit down the hopper of the grinder. I have a large plastic tub into which I grind. After I’ve ground up all the makings, I mix them thoroughly together – hands work best – eewww – and pack the mixture into plastic food containers. I own about 30 of the 25 oz. containers. Each holds enough for one meal for the three dogs that are here. I supplement at night with 500 mg of Vitamin C, brewer’s yeast with garlic, and Missing Link Plus. If you know someone who hunts, ask them to have the “trim” packaged for you in two pound or five pound chubs (depending on number of dogs). That is the best because it has no vaccines or growth hormones.
In the morning I feed raw chicken necks. The dogs each get the same weight of chicken necks in the morning that they get of the ground food at night. Nola, who is 6-1/2 months old eats 8.6 oz. of food twice a day. Holmes who is a big boy at 20 months old eats 11.3 oz. twice a day. My old retired girl who is small (25 pounds) eats 4.3 oz. twice a day. The puppy and Holmes were weaned to raw food and know nothing else. Inca was not and her first couple of meals when she came to me, she looked at me like I was trying to poison her. Since I didn’t offer her anything else, she tried it and liked it. I treat the dogs like I did my kids – “This is dinner – take it or leave it.”
On this blog, if you look for Raw Feeding under “categories”, you will find a number of posts about raw feeding. Back a ways – when I was getting the grinder, I posted a Youtube video of someone preparing dog food.
NEVER thaw the food in the microwave because the bone will attract the heat and become brittle. If you forget to take a container out to thaw, set it in warm water.
I hope this helps. The dogs’ coats gleam, their teeth are clean, their breath is fresh, the poops are small and pretty non-stinky. I only see my vet for required shots and hip/elbow x-rays, etc.