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{raw meat- dog food}

01.05.12

Something that Mr. Farmer Jones and I have been mulling over is wanting to feed ALL of our animals the best that we have to offer.  Currently we feed our adorable furry friends, Toby-Bears, Bula-Bears, and Trudy-Bears {you have to hear their names with the ‘bears’ at the end, it just seems to roll off the tongue- annoying, but somehow cute at the same time} a great doggie and kittie kibble from our local pet store, Animal Crackers.  The store provides the best, organic, good-for-your-pet food, toys, flea treatment, and more.  We have been so happy with what we have gotten there- including are precious Trudy.

{toby-bears}

 

Though we have been contemplating a better diet for our animals for some time, it just didn’t seem to ever make it the top of the priority list.  We love our pets, but we have 100’s of other members of our farm family that we have to put at a higher priority most days.  After much contemplation and both of us feeling much more up for the task and somewhat extra labor, we have decided to take the plunge.

{bula-bears}

When we run out of our current bag of dog food, we will be replacing our furry loved one’s meals with chicken necks, backs, pieces of chicken and turkey, and pork primarily.  We are low on beef and don’t yet have lamb, so we will start with what we have.

{trudy-bears}

 

We found a great website- raw feeding–  as a resource for feeding your pets a raw meat diet.  I hope you check it out.  There is amazing information on the site and it makes you feel like it’s actually not that hard to feed your pets raw meat.  We also highly recommend you do further research and take your vet’s advice with a large grain of salt.

Below are some quotes from the site’s FAQ page:

Start with the basics – a range of different raw meaty bones, or preferably whole items, such as chicken, quail, fish, eggs. For the majority of raw feeders – chicken is the base of the majority of their dogs meals. However, if chicken is not available readily, use what is available locally – raw meaty – lamb, beef, venison, duck, rabbit, kangaroo, pig, raw whole fish. You get the picture.

A raw diet provides a range of benefits that commercial dog diets can never hope to even closely match.

These benefits include:

  1. no doggy odour
  2. naturally cleans teeth – no need for toothbrushes, de-scaling jobs, or gum disease
  3. the time it takes for a dog to chew a raw meaty bones give their stomach adequate time to get the acids moving
  4. much less stools produced – and they are firm, and turn chalky after a couple of days
  5. decreased or non-existant vet bills (your dogs are healthier!)
  6. less cost for dog food – commercial dog foods are ludicriously expensive
  7. mirrors what a dog would be getting in the wild – and certainly even the modern day dog has a digestive tract exactly the same as a wolf
  8. puppies develop at a more appropriate rate – and quick growth spurts are avoided. A GOOD breeder will want to stop fast growth in any pup.
  9. the ripping and chewing involved in eating raw meaty bones develops the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles of the dog. Commercial dog foods will never assist in this important muscle development.

 

What about raw chicken bones?

This is one of the biggest myths of all time! Raw chicken bones are fantastic for your dog. They are soft enough so that they bend easily, and break well for the dog to digest.

On the other hand, cooked chicken bones can be a problem, and I recommend that you DON’T feed COOKED chicken bones.

Some people are worried about their dog choking on bones. While such incidents are very rare (far more incidents occur with dogs choking on kibble), I encourage the feeding of bigger portions of meaty bones, or if available, whole carcasses, such as whole chickens or rabbits.

So could a raw chicken bone kill a dog? Well I guess that anything is possible. Certainly scientifically you can’t prove a negative argument. However what we do know is that dogs have died from inhaling kibble the wrong way and choking and suffocating to death.

Feeding your dog is about management of risk. No matter which path you decide to take there is always risk. There is always someone who will criticize your decision. However you, and only you can decide what is best for your dogs. Weigh up all the benefits and risks. Do your own analysis. Do your research. Do what will have the greatest overall benefit for your dog.

Being we are more or less in our ‘off season’ of certain products, we won’t have a lot of ‘typical’ animal parts to feed your pets (i.e. chicken necks, chicken backs, beef, lamb, etc) but we do have whole chickens, turkeys, various pork cuts, and we will be getting more items back from our butcher that typically only get saved when a customer special orders it.  Email us at mail{at}aftonfieldfarm{dot}com to request food items for pet food.

Bow-wow!

{a king, looking over his domain}

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. 01.05.12 7:47 PM

    When I purchase your chicken livers, it is to make our dogs their food. I love Animal Crackerz as well, but have found that our babies do so much better when I make their food. I cook the livers and puree them with cooked spinach. I add it to cooked rice. We put a dollop of pumpkin in their food once a week. They love their food and we love Afton Field Farm for taking care of our whole family.

    • 01.05.12 8:12 PM

      That is awesome! Thanks for sharing! We wish we could raise 10,000 more broiler chickens just for the livers! ;) We always sell out so quickly. Happy eating!

  2. 01.05.12 9:43 PM

    My dogs have been on raw for six years and we are very happy. The poop is reason enough to do it, it turns to something akin to bone meal in a day and their urine doesn’t burn the grass. Be forewarned, however, that the transition from kibble to raw is rough road for a few days, so don’t be alarmed if you have to let them out more cause they are a little unwell-the PH in the stomach has to drop before they can efficiently digest the raw. I would also say to start with parts and don’t give them anything with a face or they are likely to just sit and bark at it not realizing it is a meal-true story. The teeth of my eight year old dog are in perfect shape and he has never had a cleaning. Do be careful about feeding large weight bearing bones of cows and the like as they can potentially crack a tooth if they are an aggressive chewer. Another tip, we feed some table scraps and try to vary the amount they get each day, even skipping a day here an there after a really big meal. One day they may get a whole chicken and the next only a neck. Good luck, its been pretty great for us just be aware you will be branded a loon by most vets and all your friends.

    • 01.06.12 11:32 AM

      Thanks for all the great tips Anna!! We really appreciate it! We are called a loon for many reasons having to do with this type of farming and our lifestyle, so why not add another to the pot ;) Again, we really appreciate the advice!

  3. 01.05.12 10:48 PM

    Raw is good! But not necessarily cheaper. I’ve got a 95# Anatolian Shepherd cross who has to be on a raw diet. Right now I have to buy chicken at the store (my first batch of broilers doesn’t come in until mid February) and even at $0.99/lb, it costs me between $2 and $3/day to feed Chaz. I supplement his chicken with beef liver and kidneys that I get at the local slaughterhouse. I’d love to feed him those all the time, and he’d love to have nothing but liver and kidneys, but that wouldn’t be too healthy for him. Slaughtering the old turkeys and layers has been helping out quite a bit.

    It’ll be nice when the first batch of Cornish X are ready to slaughter. One for me, and 3 for Chaz.

    • 01.06.12 11:36 AM

      I agree, Joanna, that it isn’t necessarily a cheaper diet option for those that don’t produce their own products. We will end up spending more money if we figure it at our retail costs. But if we look at just our cost we will end up breaking even and under on certain cuts. Like we do for us, we look at the extra upfront costs as few doctor and vet bills in the future. We ourselves are more healthy and only have to go to the doctor for routine check ups. We are hoping this will be the same with our little furry friends as well ;) Thanks for the advice! And best of luck on your poultry and farming adventures :)

  4. 01.06.12 10:48 AM

    “A raw diet provides a range of benefits that commercial dog diets can never hope to even closely match.

    These benefits include:

    no doggy odour”

    Have they ever met Booz? This I have to see :D

    • 01.06.12 11:37 AM

      Hahha!!!! That is exactly what Ty and I said! When we read that we were like, “Well, Bula is going to be the ultimate test” :) We’ll let you know how the stinky odor goes ;)

  5. 01.07.12 11:42 AM

    We switched our dog to raw this summer. She’s a 2.5 year-old, 36 pound ranch mutt. She loves it. Her teeth have improved significantly (she had some plaque and stinky breath) and her poop just dries up and withers away in a day or so (it resembles coyote scat). To easily incorporate more produce, I stew vegetables/fruits, like apples, that are starting to wilt with a bit of chicken stock then blend the mixture. After it cools a bit, I put the mush into ice cube trays and freeze it. I then pop out a cube and and feed it with her dinner every few days. We also occasionally process wild rabbits to offset costs. A book we found helpful was “The Barf Diet” by Dr. Ian Billinghurst. Best of luck!

    • 01.07.12 12:59 PM

      Thanks Emily! I love hearing all the different options and methods people use to feed their animals a raw diet. We will definitely have to check out that book. Thanks for recommending it!

  6. 02.01.12 3:36 PM

    For almost 12 years, my doberman was on RAW and the changes from kibble were immense. I started the raw food coop in Arizona and over those years I can’t tell you how many dogs with allergy, skin or weight issues were turned around just by a better raw diet. If you ever have questions.. please, please ask! I so hope you’ll consider adding these items to your offerings. Oregon/Washington really don’t have a good coop and could use one. I’d be happy to help set it up! congrats on your decision. just be sure that you only feed pork that’s had a good, hard freeze… and don’t overload on offal. its incredibly rich. remember that the base is really chicken bones…. the bones, not the meat. (50% bone to 50% meat). and to avoid cruciferous veggies… they lead to thyroid issues, often quickly.

    • 02.04.12 10:46 AM

      Thank you SO much Amanda!! I probably will end up asking you some questions along the way ;) Right now we don’t have very much to offer customers in terms of items for raw dog/cat food but we are hoping to slowly add a dog/cat food line. I have a feeling that we will sell out faster than you can say ‘raw food’, just based on the current demand we have, but it thrills me to continue to develop this market. Thanks again!

      • 02.04.12 10:52 AM

        Kinda the hole in the market up here is ground raw, which is what I used. If you ever want to talk about it, you have my email address. You’ve already got the network established, and there’s a number of coop mailing lists to tap into, but the issue is often distribution, which you’ve solved. The products themselves are easy, we’ve got coop formulas that we give out freely- the equipment is a pain since bones take a toll on them. I’m a new customer since I just relocated to PDX. I’m quite happy to have found you.

      • 02.04.12 10:53 AM

        also…. someone hacked your twitter account:) its spam DM’ing people when they follow you and will then infect their accts too. You can fix this usually by just changing your twitter password and checking the authorization list in your settings (https://twitter.com/settings/applications), and killing any auth that you didn’t actually put there.

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