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  • #46
    Originally posted by Fabbecky View Post
    Mixie - can I ask what you get/feed? I have between 3-5 dogs (2 of our 5 puppies need new home) and depending on the season 8-14 cats (in the winter a couple of the primarily outdoor Toms and spayed females tend to stay inside as the weather is cold and the hunting is sparse). I am on a ridiculously limited budget when it comes to food - human or animal - but if I can stretch my food dollars to feed my animals better I would love to do it. Currently the dogs go through a regular non-premium 50lb bag of dog food in a week or less - at a cost of $20 a bag it certainly isn't cheap... the cats - at least in the winter - are going through a $20 25lb bag of food (Commercial, non-premium) in a little over a week. So on average I would say pet food costs over $100/month. In your experience would it be possible to feed my animals on a raw food/real food diet for close to the same cost?
    What canio6 said, and more. I don't actually spend much on animal food, but I do a little extra legwork to save the money. My overall goal is under a dollar a pound for anything, and a great deal of the food we get is pennies per pound or free.
    I scout Craigslist especially just before and after the major hunting seasons. Also, meat processing plants, butchers, fish markets, game processors, the grocery store, carnicerias and asian markets... plus my friends all know the situation and will call me up when they have a couple freezer-burnt chickens to get rid of, or whatever. That sounds like an insane lot of work, but it's really not. I don't check all those places weekly or even monthly. I know when the kill day is at my local meat processing place and will go out and bring back a haul of elk legs and green elk tripe maybe two or three times a year, for example. Or the local fish market for a 30lb box of sashimi-quality heads, tails, and chum scraps for $5 maybe every two or three months.

    If it helps to think about it from another direction, consider that what you're paying for now is mostly indigestible corn. It moves right through your pets and you wind up cleaning it up from your yard or litter box. You'll end up saving money in the long run feeding more highly nutritious and digestible food because they simply won't need to eat the same volume of calories to be satiated and nourished (sound familiar? =) ).

    It's hard to say with any degree of certainty what raw feeding costs, given different concerns about the cost and availability of animal foods, but most folks I know who are willing to do a little "hunting and gathering" are able to keep their costs very, very low. Others would rather spend the money for convenience and not the time. There's plenty of room for balance in whatever suits you and your pack. We save a great deal of money not just on the food bill, but vet bills too.

    ETA: to answer the first question more specifically, I'll feed more or less anything that used to be alive. Somewhere around here I've got a photo of the inside of our pet food freezer which, at the time, had something like sixteen different species of animals represented =P. We'll feed marked-down grocery store beef one day, and wild-caught nutria the next. It also helps to remember that dogs are scavengers too and will eat just about anything they can get down their throats. My dogs don't seem to care how green or slimy a thing is, and they'll happily chow down on stuff that makes me gag to smell it. That's not to say I'm going around scraping up roadkill or anything, but certainly if my butcher's freezer goes down over a weekend I'm the first one he calls to come pick up a load of sour, slimy lamb ribs.

    Also, if it's helpful, I wrote a Q&A for my dog club's newsletter a while back that answers a bunch of the basic questions: http://www.rawdogleather.com/DACARawArticle.html --I hope it's okay to link here, that is my commercial website but the article isn't selling anything ;0)
    Last edited by mixie; 02-02-2012, 11:06 AM.
    “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

    "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
    - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by the1stpsycho View Post
      You cant definitely feed whole prey. Rodent Pro is a site that a lot of people buy mice from. Harte Today sells whole rabbits and I believe chicks as well. If your cat will eat them, and you don't mind having bodies in the freezer. My cats were not thrilled about mice. I even cut them open (kinda gross!) for them. They get whole chicken thighs and game hens on a semi-regular basis, which doesn't include any organ meats. As a part of a rotational diet they are fine.

      Video of the youngest eating. Much better with sound

      Oliver's Dinner - YouTube
      Yaar =). My cats will eat whole chicks but don't seem to know what to do with mice when they don't first try to run away. Whole-prey feeding is absolutely possible, but very pricey unless you're raising your own critters. Also you have to be comfy with whatever diet the prey animal is fed. In a commercial operation, they're eating lab blocks and alfalfa pellets. Alfalfa is probably fine for commercial rabbit diets, but lab blocks are exclusively grain food. One of my cats reacts poorly to grain-fed beef (barfs spectacularly, everywhere) but can eat grass-fed, no problem. On the other hand, he'll eat frozen/thawed day-old chicks from corn-and-soy fed hens but won't touch f/t commercially-fed mice. Go figure.

      @Shanster: some smart guy ( ;0) ) once said "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good". I'd happily feed a commercial, grain-free food if that's what my situation allowed. I'm fortunate to have good access to a wide variety of cheap or free local-source animal foods, but if I lived in Yuma, Az? I'd definitely not be beating myself up for not having access to free fish heads.
      Last edited by mixie; 02-02-2012, 10:57 AM.
      “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

      "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
      - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

      Comment


      • #48
        I was really suprised that something like "Fancy Feast" wet food beat out some of the more premium labels as far as no grains/veggies etc. in a wet cat food! Never would have thought that and it's cheaper than the fancier foods I've seen that have odd items in them like blueberries or sweet potatoes... as if kit-tehs ever hunted blueberries and sweet potatoes. grin.

        The kitten is doing well on the raw we make and our other cats are doing well on the Fancy Feast. And I like feeding at certain times vs. allowing the free choice dry commercial food which is what we were doing. Everyone is doing much better!
        We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. - Oscar Wilde

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        • #49
          Originally posted by mixie View Post
          Also, if it's helpful, I wrote a Q&A for my dog club's newsletter a while back that answers a bunch of the basic questions: Raw Dog Leather - Quality Gear for Rugged Dogs! --I hope it's okay to link here, that is my commercial website but the article isn't selling anything ;0)
          That was a damned good article. Brava.

          Comment


          • #50
            Thanks! It's funny--I wrote that a looooooong time ago, way before I ever found the PB, and I hadn't actually read it over in a really long time until today. There's a few details I should go back and clarify/adjust when referencing human dietary needs ;0)
            “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

            "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
            - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by mixie View Post
              Right, but in a truly wild situation, rabbits and rodents don't eat a whole lot of grain. Certainly they may get some wild grains but they're certainly not eating a concentrated diet of grain-foods the way that commercially fed animals are. What proportion of their diet small critters makes depends entirely on the prey population of their area.
              Oh duh - Sorry, I forgot to specify.
              I was trying to say that dogs do eat plant matter - such as fresh veggies, soft grasses, fruits ect. My dogs even LOVE seaweed - the dry, salty stuff you buy in a bag. I do give them fresh veggie scraps - but I do not give them foods with grains and such in them.

              My dogs are fed whole, raw guinea pigs+chicken thighs and canned food(grain free) on alternating days. This way, I'm not completely filling up the freezer with my dogs' food and I have some that can sit in the cupboard without going bad.

              I just wish there were large scale prey breeders in California - so I wouldn't have to pay so damn much.

              Comment


              • #52
                Holy crackers, no kidding--and you must have the healthiest pooches on the block ;0). Cavies are pricey; just out of curiosity is there a reason you feed them instead of rabbit? I bet the meat is fattier, for one thing.

                My dogs don't rob too much from the garden, though they'll strip the plums off the tree if I don't keep an eye on them. They'll also pluck blackberries out of the hedge. I can't say that I've ever seen them eat veggies on purpose, though. They'll definitely take a single green bean as a treat, but even sweet veggies like carrots they mostly just shred if they have a whole one to mess around with. They'll eat grass but only if dinner's late or it's a fast day. As far as I can tell mostly they're going for the sweet stuff.
                I'll have to try them on seaweed--it'd be nice to have something handy besides freeze-dried liver for random treat events ;0)
                “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

                "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
                - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

                Comment


                • #53
                  Rabbits are much more expensive than cavies in the pet food trade. My dogs' favorite is rabbit, but they're $6 a piece(not including shipping). The cavies are only $1.99 each. They are the same price as rats of equal size.

                  My two will raid the garden like giant gophers. They love the soft, young grass that pops up - not the course stuff that makes them puke.
                  I noticed that if you don't ever give them veggies as pups, they will grow up not wanting them. If you let them eat them as pups, they grow up eating veggies willingly, if not greedily haha

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Oh! Well, that makes sense. We get meat rabbits pretty cheap, but I bet snake food bunnies are pricey. You'd think the opposite would be true, seeing that cavies are not exactly prolific breeders and rabbits breed like... well, rabbits ;0).
                    “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

                    "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
                    - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Here's my mutt.
                      We call her the Abominable Snowdog, but her given name is Pino (named after an anime character.)
                      pinosnow..jpg
                      Last edited by naiadknight; 02-03-2012, 02:01 PM.
                      Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
                      My Latest Journal

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                      • #56
                        Cat pics

                        Here are a few pics of our cats, as requested. They have all been fed raw for the last 10 years or so. Kitten, all her life, Dani after 1-2 years, and the older cats only as older adults. They all benefited from it though. You can't tell from these pics how solid and muscular they are or how lovely their fur becomes. Now I just need to get the human equivalent going for me.
                        Four cats staying toasty on the LR couch: Dani, Livvy, Kitten, Nikki

                        Kitten loves Cat Food Day

                        Jim With Livvy & Dani

                        Kitten in all her (meat-fed) glory

                        Dani, waiting by the fridge for dinner

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Fabbecky View Post
                          Mixie - can I ask what you get/feed? I have between 3-5 dogs (2 of our 5 puppies need new home) and depending on the season 8-14 cats (in the winter a couple of the primarily outdoor Toms and spayed females tend to stay inside as the weather is cold and the hunting is sparse). I am on a ridiculously limited budget when it comes to food - human or animal - but if I can stretch my food dollars to feed my animals better I would love to do it. Currently the dogs go through a regular non-premium 50lb bag of dog food in a week or less - at a cost of $20 a bag it certainly isn't cheap... the cats - at least in the winter - are going through a $20 25lb bag of food (Commercial, non-premium) in a little over a week. So on average I would say pet food costs over $100/month. In your experience would it be possible to feed my animals on a raw food/real food diet for close to the same cost?
                          Hi Fabbecky, our cat food feeds 5 cats (three at our house and 2 of my sons) and we pay about $0.99 per pound for the ingredients. We make food every couple of months. We did just adopt 3 kittens (brothers...bringing us up to feeding 8 cats) and they are eating a lot more than the older cats. (A LOT...they are ravenous! I think they will slow down when they reach their adult weight, they just need more now to develop muscle and bone as they grow) 99 cents per pound does not get you organic food, however. Before we got the kittens, we averaged $100/month on cat food. If you have large dogs, though, they will need proportionately more food, but it shouldn't be all meat, so that will help on costs. Another thing to consider is that you will need fewer vet visits when your animals are fed raw. They just stay healthier....in the same way that the Primal diet is reported to do with us. (I say reported, because I just started) I also think that with a little preventative dental care, you will probably not have gum and tooth issues with raw fed animals. If you go raw, be ready for frisky cats and dogs! --Helen

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by hhelenhh View Post
                            Hi Fabbecky, our cat food feeds 5 cats (three at our house and 2 of my sons) and we pay about $0.99 per pound for the ingredients. We make food every couple of months. We did just adopt 3 kittens (brothers...bringing us up to feeding 8 cats) and they are eating a lot more than the older cats. (A LOT...they are ravenous! I think they will slow down when they reach their adult weight, they just need more now to develop muscle and bone as they grow) 99 cents per pound does not get you organic food, however. Before we got the kittens, we averaged $100/month on cat food. If you have large dogs, though, they will need proportionately more food, but it shouldn't be all meat, so that will help on costs. Another thing to consider is that you will need fewer vet visits when your animals are fed raw. They just stay healthier....in the same way that the Primal diet is reported to do with us. (I say reported, because I just started) I also think that with a little preventative dental care, you will probably not have gum and tooth issues with raw fed animals. If you go raw, be ready for frisky cats and dogs! --Helen
                            Thanks for your input! I am going to research where I can get the best prices on meat and try to start my animals on a raw diet as soon as`I get a job!
                            Originally posted by L8F
                            ... I drank the fermented koolaid, and am totally on board...

                            I'm alergic to carbs - they make me break out in fat!


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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by hhelenhh View Post
                              Kitten loves Cat Food Day
                              Ha! Fantastic ;0)
                              Kitten in all her (meat-fed) glory
                              They are all beautiful, but this one is GORGEOUS! Look at that coat! Thanks for posting, they're really fantastic =)
                              “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

                              "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
                              - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Aaaaaughhhh people are so so dumb. How do you adopt a cat and not realize cats are carnivores?

                                Someone apparently is pissed because they can't put their cat on a vegan diet. This makes me super sad that there are people out there killing their pets with their stupidity.

                                Do any of your little meat-eating friends want a cat? | PassiveAggressiveNotes.com

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