[QUOTE=Fabbecky;704676]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?[/QUOTE]
I've yet to do it, but on some raw feeding forums I have read about people feeding their animals freezer-burned meats, which they get off craig's list for next to nothing. Another source is hunters cleaning out their freezers from last season to store this year's kill. If that is not an option you could try the closeout meats at stores. Buy it the day it is on sell-by-date, and freeze until needed.
We had a kitten that had horrible problems on any food other than raw - I read a fair amount on it to switch her over. We have 5 cats which when I did the math was pretty spendy to feed raw. We feed the kitten with issues seperate and I read that some of the "non-premium" wet foods are better than dry..... I realize they aren't optimal...
I began reading labels... there are 2 flavors of Fancy Feast where the first 2 or 3 ingredients are real meat and there is no grain, berries, veggies or anything in them.
Like I said - I know it's not optimal and I realize feeding raw saves lives and prevents vet bills because the animals are healthier. The wet food with more real ingredients is better than dry food with grains when you are feeding many or if your budget or another issue won't allow you to feed raw.
I was suprised to discover this... read that info in the Lisa Pierson DVM site [url=http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood]Making Cat Food by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: homemade cat food, cat food recipes[/url] another good site was [url=http://www.catnutrition.org/index.html]cat nutrition - home[/url]
Cheers and heres to our happy, healthy, long-lived and well loved pets!
+1! Super cute
You guys should hear the sounds that come out of our 8 week old kittens when I give them beef fat... They will fight you for pieces of raw beef or pork bigger than their heads :)
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 :)
[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JAU7XpEo9s&feature=email&email=comment_received]Oliver's Dinner - YouTube[/url]
[QUOTE=Lily Marie;704319]While it's true that wolves and dogs don't eat the stomach contents of large prey animals(have you seen how HUGE they are?), they do eat the stomach contents of smaller prey - such as rabbits and rodents - which make up a large part of their diet.
Cats, I've seen catch mice and eat them, but leave the guts.[/QUOTE]
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.
[QUOTE=Fabbecky;704676]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?[/QUOTE]
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: [url]http://www.rawdogleather.com/DACARawArticle.html[/url] --I hope it's okay to link here, that is my commercial website but the article isn't selling anything ;0)
[QUOTE=the1stpsycho;704728]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 :)
[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JAU7XpEo9s&feature=email&email=comment_received]Oliver's Dinner - YouTube[/url][/QUOTE]
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.
:) 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!
[QUOTE=mixie;704867]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: [url=http://www.rawdogleather.com/DACARawArticle.html]Raw Dog Leather - Quality Gear for Rugged Dogs![/url] --I hope it's okay to link here, that is my commercial website but the article isn't selling anything ;0)[/QUOTE]
That was a damned good article. Brava.
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)