Big Chill

  My freezer has arrived!  I can now store as much as 711 lbs of food in it. I already have put 51 lbs of frozen dog food in it.  That is about 10 days worth for my crew.  I feel that I have more flexibility now with shopping for bargains for my crew.  Having the contents so easily seen and accessible eliminates one of life's almost daily annoyances (rummaging through cascaded stuff in the freezer) is a welcomed thing.

 I ordered some information on balanced raw diets from Monica Segal. Her e-publications are good to my eye.  However, after reading them, my confidence in feeding a 'balanced' raw was left lagging.  Why?  The finesses of the menus was such that it was unlikely that I could/would go through the fuss of making these menus.  Nevertheless, I did get some good ideas, and I would encourage you to visit her website if you have an interest in RAW feeding. 

I do appreciate that a variety of proteins are recommended.  However, kibble diets (and let's face it, many of us feeding kibble feed the same thing due to the admonishments of NOT changing up our dog's diets too much). So, I'm wondering, if I'm just obsessing.  I want to be solidly in the middle of the spectrum of being cavalier about what I feed my dogs and being OCD.

To find this middle ground, I do the following:
  • grind fresh chicken leg quarters.  
  • Add vegetables
  • Add heart/gizzard and liver
{CRITICAL UpdateI had some concerns about the Ca:P ratio in this grind, and please know that it is far too high in absolute Ca and the Ca:P  proportion is in the upper acceptable range.  I have purchased Steve Brown's book.  Visit his site here, See Spot Live Longer.  His recipes in his book Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet are easy to follow.  However, the only source that I have found for beef heart is 30lbs of frozen!!!!! at a restaurant supply}. 

 The above graphic shows the breakdown of the meat-only that I used starting with a base of 40lbs of chicken leg quarters.  To this I added 4lbs of "Normandy" vegetables (cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli and carrots), bringing the total product values to 49lbs.  For the 3 or so lbs of water that I lose, I simply let the dogs slurp it down. At first, I added it back to the mix, but it made it to slushy.  There is already so much moisture content, there is certainly no need to add more.  But to pour it down the sink would be a crime.

As my dogs have always loved vegetables, I find no discordant notes in offering vegetables as part of their food.  Further, I make no apologies for not feeding my dogs the entire piece of meat v. grinding it.  My dogs; my risk control.  I find that RAW feeding 'opinions' reach the same pitch as religious and political discussions.
 Nevertheless, I'm concerned about the reasonable  admonishment by several professional to offer a variety of proteins. However, a reasonable counter is that on an exclusively kibble diet, there really is not much of a variety in proteins.

At the very least, I would like to offer inexpensive beef in the rotation (along with liver and organ meat). I went to Restaurant Depot to see if I could find some deals on fresh beef, as well as to better equate myself with other offerings.  There were no beef deals to be had.  A deal to me is something south of $3 per lb.  My last deal was $1.79/lb, and to be clear, I'm rummaging on the mark-down shelf. 

The frozen section was studied.  I found some 30lb boxes of frozen beef hearts.  It was all just a glob together.  I'm confident that I would NOT want to tackle that job.  Ground turkey can be had in a 10lb chub for .88 per lb.  That is a deal--but it would have to be supplemented with chicken wings to get calcium:phosphorus ratios correct.  I still obsess on this ratio--and I think for good reason.

I have plenty of poultry for the moment; but as I'm developing menu options for the pups, this turkey chub could be in the rotation.They also had chicken backs as well as  duck and rabbit.  Duck and rabbit are at a much higher cost/lb than beef. Nein!  I would rather get chicken leg quarters v. the backs, and a frozen glob of chicken backs is not attractive from an Adam Smithesque way of thinking about processing food for the dogs.   Fresh leg quarters have the backs attached and have more meat on them.  Accordingly, I'll pass on this part and this packaging and stick with tried and true.

One bit of advice I see in respected circles, is to look at your dogs.  Coats are excellent; energy is bountiful. Because Dexter is young, I particularly watching him to ensure that he is getting enough calories.  His coat is better than when he came to us; he is putting on weight, he is happy and energetic.  All good.



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