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I have to say that you're pretty lucky then Jen. I get venison for free since my housemate hunts, and I guess I could have gotten the latest group of roosters for free (plus the cost of raising them), but didn't have time to butcher myself, so paid the butcher to do it. I didn't add up the weight of all the meat I got back, but it cost me $71 and I'm pretty sure it wasn't 71 pounds of meat, but can't say that for a fact.

 

I still can't wrap my head around a company (Eberly) that can produce free-range poultry and then process them by hand and charge less than what you'd pay at the grocery store, but if what they claim on their website, and what you say you pay for it, is true, then I guess y'all are truly blessed.

 

I know we have a lot of variety for a great price in this area and due to the co-op. I do hoof it out quite a distance on occasion for a good buy. There are some suppliers who sell in this area and make trips out to meet various groups as well.

 

I never said I was a raw feeding purist. I am very cautious due to the last few years of recalls and plant issues on what commercial dog food I will feed, but as I did say my dogs do get kibble once a week and when I travel or someone stays at my house when I travel. I just very recently switched a dog that was eating kibble back to raw and I have switched back and forth from raw to kibble and back again a few times in the past 10 years. The last switch back to a raw diet after a few years of Orijen happened when my one Border Collie first developed epilepsy. My vet, who is homeopathic and promotes a raw diet, and I were trying to rule out possible causes. Changing her diet didn't work, but I found my dogs were being fed a really good diet for probably half or a little over half of what I was spending to feed them Orijen with fresh food and dairy supplementation. I was getting tartar build up which is now gone and my dogs love the raw diet.

 

Eberly's, Koch's and some of the other suppliers sell us their seconds, organs or processing scraps for great prices. It is product that they can't sell at retail (like a Cornish hen with one wing missing) or 50 lb frozen blocks of what Koch's calls lima meat, which is a mix of dark and light meat scraps collected during processing the stuff they can sell and then ground.

 

The fish supplier sells us chowder fish, which are pieces again cut off in processing that they sell to people or restaurants to make soup and aren't pretty filets they can sell at retail and salmon or other fish heads for the same reason.

 

Frankly, you are getting, at best, human grade meats in any kibble that you buy which are no better or no worse then anything you get raw whether direct at a supplier or at a grocery store, so I don't much care about the what free range arguments mean or don't mean. I was just pointing out to an earlier post that there are really good quality suppliers who offer cost effective alternatives to raw feeders. If I can get antibiotic and steroid free and animals that aren't fed crap, I do it. If I see something on sale for under $1.50 a lb at the grocery store that I'd like to add in as variety, I buy it. I average out at about $1 a lb.

 

For every person that comes up with research that shows that dogs are different anatomically or have developed to eat different foods then wolves there are just as many people who can show you research that shows that they are not. I did my own research as did the vets I use that promote a raw diet and I don't really intend or plan on arguing the point. Personally I believe this is a species of animal that developed on the Earth for far longer then people have had it domesticated eating raw prey. Any related animal that is not domesticated eats a raw diet. I am happy I am able to feed a raw diet to my dogs.

 

Best,

Jen

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IEberly's, Koch's and some of the other suppliers sell us their seconds, organs or processing scraps for great prices. It is product that they can't sell at retail (like a Cornish hen with one wing missing) or 50 lb frozen blocks of what Koch's calls lima meat, which is a mix of dark and light meat scraps collected during processing the stuff they can sell and then ground.

This is the part I don't get, though. Not trying to be argumentative or anything. But when I took the roos to be processed and filled out the cut sheet, one of the questions asked had to do with what do with a bird that was missing parts. I didn't understand that, so I asked. I was told that since they are a USDA-inspected plant, they are not allowed to package parts that might be damaged (bruised) and therefore considered unfit for human consumption. I was clear all along that I was processing these chickens for my *dogs* to eat, but was told that as a USDA-inspected plant, they couldn't give back to me any parts that had not passed inspection (again, bruising being the most common reason for a part not to pass).

 

And yet, you detail a situation in which the parts not fit for human consumption (seconds) are sold to you. Obviously someone is interpreting USDA rules differently, but with both sheep and now chickens, the USDA-inspected butcher I use has made it clear that they are not allowed to sell/give those "second" parts back to me for animal feeding (I had assumed because of the risk that I could be untruthful and actually turn around and sell those parts for human consumption). In fact, this is the explanation that has been given me when I've asked for certain organ meats back for the dogs--that if I didn't get it back it's because the USDA inspector wouldn't pass it.

 

Interesting. It makes sense that a facility would sell the stuff it can't sell for human consumption at good rates to people who want it for raw feeding, but I find it odd that this isn't the case everywhere or that there aren't some controls in place to make sure that the meat being sold is in fact not being fed to humans.

 

J.

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Interesting. It makes sense that a facility would sell the stuff it can't sell for human consumption at good rates to people who want it for raw feeding, but I find it odd that this isn't the case everywhere or that there aren't some controls in place to make sure that the meat being sold is in fact not being fed to humans.

 

That is odd. I wonder why? We buy from quite a few suppliers - 8 or 9 who all sell us seconds. We also have some private farmers who sell rabbit and duck and some other items. This is the first year that I will actually (unless my friend is a really bad shot or has really bad hunting luck) be paying to have an entire deer processed. Since they dress the deer in the field, I won't be able to get organ meats, but I do plan on asking for everything and anything that can be fed to the dogs to be cut down to size and just packaged up, including bones for recreation. It will be interesting to see if the butcher has an issue with doing that for me. I doubt it since the person I often get venison from gets the venison from a butcher in huge quantities during deer season herself. I also used to drive over an hour to another butcher who sold venison during deer season.

 

If I could just bring myself to hunt, I'd have organ and tripe too. :rolleyes:

 

Jen

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I used to feed Diamond, then to Flint River and now Dynamite. Nothing wrong with the Flint River but I wanted a product line that offered more than dog food. I feed the Super Premium. The dogs coat has gotten shiny and soft. The dogs overall have more energy, less poop (yah) and better health. It was NOT cheap so I became a dealer and now I order 1/2 ton or so to make it a good price. In addition, I have the dogs on other supplements from Dynamite. I really like this food and it is a keeper!

 

I feed raw 1-2 x a week. I have my cull ewes and leftovers from my locker beef. Also my friend saves me locker beef parts. The dogs also get free range eggs. It ends up to being about $1 a pound for the ewes/beef but I know the history too. I get them bones and they love it.

 

I alos make homemade yogurt and give that to the dogs too.

 

A friend of mine feeds llamas to his dogs. He gets them free so just has to pay for butchering. His dogs love it and it saves on his cost.

 

 

Below are the ingredients of the dog food.

Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Rice, Barley, Chicken Fat, Feeding Oatmeal, Lamb Meal, Pea Fiber, Flaxseed Meal, Herring Meal, Dried Tomato, Natural Flavor, Dried Carrots, Dried Peas, Dried Apples, Dried Yucca Schidigera Extract, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Celery, Dried Beets, Dried Parsley, Dried Lettuce, Dried Watercress, Dried Spinach, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Betaine, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Folic Acid], Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate], Dried Chicory Root, Direct Fed Microbrials [Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, Dried Lactobacillu casei, Dried Enterococcus faecium], Lecithin, Rosemary Extract

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Note that there may be differences between USDA inspected and state inspected custom processors and what these facilities can sell.

Things are not uniform across the nation when it come to food.

I know there are differences in what milk can be purchased; PA allows the sale of raw milk while MD does not.

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Around here pastured poultry is popular -- the chickens are in some kind of house on wheels that can be hooked up to a tractor and pulled around a field to a different location at regular intervals. I have to say that the birds I bought were the fattest chickens I ever had - they barely fit in my designated chicken roasting pan. but then, I personally knew the person who grew them. I'm suspicious of "organic", "free range" or other labels applied to mass marketed foodstuffs for the very reasons you state.

 

Support your local farmers and growers! Even if they're not wholly organic, you're still getting a better quality product.

 

 

ETA I live in PA and yes, you can buy raw milk, though the inspections are brutal. If you want raw milk, the best thing to do is cozy up to a local farmer and do a little bartering...

Liz

 

 

That is because the USDA definition of "free range" is so loose that it's essentially meaningless.

The consumer envisions poultry roaming around fields or barnyards feeding where the USDA only requires that the door is left open for some undefined period of time and the birds don't actually have to go outside OR the pen is outside with some shelter at one end and the pen is packed full of birds.

However, another USDA site lists this for turkeys.

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Note that there may be differences between USDA inspected and state inspected custom processors and what these facilities can sell.

Things are not uniform across the nation when it come to food.

I know there are differences in what milk can be purchased; PA allows the sale of raw milk while MD does not.

I was wondering if that wasn't the difference between Jen's experience and mine. And although selling raw goat milk for human consumption is illegal in NC, people buy it for their pets (labeled for pet use) all the time, with a wink and a nod....

 

Then again, Eberly seems to sell across the country, which would imply USDA-inspection, since at least in NC if you use a state-inspected processor, you are not allowed to sell the meat across state lines.

 

J.

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Hey Julie, if you find the answer to why or how let me know. We have a plant down here, they will not give me the bones from anything not brought in by me, however, if it's my stock I bring in they will give me "everything" so the cattle farmer up the road tells me when he's taking some to market, then he brings me the "not for human" damaged stuff since he knows I want it! And they are a USDA Inspected plant.

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Hmmm...I guess I need to have a talk with the owner of the place and see if we can't come to some sort of understanding. It may be that they think I'm selling the meat, and since it has their label on it maybe they're concerned about what goes out of the plant. Probably my best bet is to set up a meeting with both the owner and the USDA inspector and see if I can work something out.

 

J.

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Dogs are carnivores and do not need carbs. Wild carnivores who do not live on trash from human settlements consume little, if any, carbohydrates.

 

Hi Jen,

 

I guess the coyotes around here didn't read that part of the instruction manual. I see them in corn fields, pulling down ears, and I see coyote scat full of blackberry seeds this time of year. I have also seen them grazing on oats, eating blueberries, and just plain old pasture grass.

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Mark, Julie, et al.

 

State inspected plants must adhere to all USDA requirements at a minimum. Anything that goes out of the plant with the inspected seal on it must adhere to USDA standards. However, custom plants (or in some cases, inspected plants operating outside inspected hours) can stamp packages "Not For Sale" provided that the owner of the live animals is picking up the meat.

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I guess the coyotes around here didn't read that part of the instruction manual. I see them in corn fields, pulling down ears, and I see coyote scat full of blackberry seeds this time of year. I have also seen them grazing on oats, eating blueberries, and just plain old pasture grass.

 

Sure, Coyotes are opportunists. So are wolves. And dogs. Leave some odorous trash out where a wolf/fox/dog/coyote can get to it, they are going to eat it. It doesn't mean that their main source of food is not wild caught prey.

 

Best,

Jen

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Dogs are carnivores and do not need carbs. Wild carnivores who do not live on trash from human settlements consume little, if any, carbohydrates. Dogs certainly can consume carbs, but they aren't neccesary and they are not consumed as efficiently as fat and protein.

 

The problem with grain free foods like Taste of the Wild, Evo, Wellness, Merrick, etc. is the fact that they are produced in a mass production plant that produces multiple brands of food. There have been numerous recalls from every one of these plants and, to me, it isn't worth the risk. Evo and Innova were just bought and will soon be mass produced and sold to Petco and PetSmart, a sure sign that a food is mass produced and quality control is risky.

Jen

 

Actually, dogs, coyotes and wolves are opportunistic carnivores, an important distinction. Physiologically their bodies are set up to use carbohydrate sources very efficiently (unlike cats, who are much more prone to type II diabetes). It is true that if provided with whole, unprocessed grains like kernels of corn that they can't extract the maximum potential energy because of their teeth. However, if provided in a more easily utilized form (finely ground) their bodies can extract and use the energy to its full potential. Even cattle, who I think you would agree are herbivores, can't fully digest grains unless they are finely ground. Just look at the feces from dairy cattle. Any corn that wasn't thoroughly chewed (ground up via their teeth) comes out the other end as whole kernels.

 

Jen, do you have any references showing that Innova diets have ever been recalled? I've fed them for years and keep track of dog food recalls. As far as I can remember it is one of the few brands that has NEVER had a recall. Innova has their own factories, so there is no cross contamination. I have been assured by the former owners of Innova that per the sales agreement with P&G they will continue to use their own factories, the same sources of ingredients as they have been using previously and the diets will not be mass produced for sale in grocery stores or big name pet store chains.

 

I agree that as a breed, Border Collies were likely fed scraps. For a poor shepherd that would mostly be oats and other grains, potatoes, vegetables and smaller amounts of milk, cheese and bits of meat and fish. I have fed diets ranging from 18% to nearly 60% protein to my Border Collies. My experience has fit perfectly with the many studies done on how diets affect working dogs; too little protein and you risk injury, beyond that point the balance of carbs to fat influences endurance. Endurance athletes fare better on a higher % of fat (vs carbs) while sprint athletes need more carbs vs fat.

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I have been assured by the former owners of Innova that per the sales agreement with P&G they will continue to use their own factories, the same sources of ingredients as they have been using previously and the diets will not be mass produced for sale in grocery stores or big name pet store chains.

 

I hope that turns out to be true!

 

Oh, and I've never heard of any Innova products involved in a recall, either.

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Jen, do you have any references showing that Innova diets have ever been recalled? I've fed them for years and keep track of dog food recalls. As far as I can remember it is one of the few brands that has NEVER had a recall. Innova has their own factories, so there is no cross contamination. I have been assured by the former owners of Innova that per the sales agreement with P&G they will continue to use their own factories, the same sources of ingredients as they have been using previously and the diets will not be mass produced for sale in grocery stores or big name pet store chains.

 

According to the sales people at PetSmart, they will soon be carrying Evo so I don't know that that assurance is true. I don't think pet food companies have to announce when they change ingredients. P&G is an entirely different entitiy then Natura. I am no longer comfortable with the food. I used to recommend Innova when I was asked about kibble and occasionally fed some canned Evo, but now its off my list. I can't remember ever hearing of a recall, but I switched to Orijen fairly soon after all of the recalls started and stopped paying as much attention.

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I have been assured by the former owners of Innova that per the sales agreement with P&G they will continue to use their own factories, the same sources of ingredients as they have been using previously and the diets will not be mass produced for sale in grocery stores or big name pet store chains.

 

It says not on their website -

 

http://www.naturapet.com/news/letter.asp

 

Everyone I know who used to feed it now doesn't, so they have lost a lot of business, at least in the dog sport world. I guess if I were feeding it and I wanted to stay with it that I would just be watching carefully for any changes.

 

Jen

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I agree that as a breed, Border Collies were likely fed scraps. For a poor shepherd that would mostly be oats and other grains, potatoes, vegetables and smaller amounts of milk, cheese and bits of meat and fish. I have fed diets ranging from 18% to nearly 60% protein to my Border Collies. My experience has fit perfectly with the many studies done on how diets affect working dogs; too little protein and you risk injury, beyond that point the balance of carbs to fat influences endurance. Endurance athletes fare better on a higher % of fat (vs carbs) while sprint athletes need more carbs vs fat.

 

 

Hi Liz,

 

This is really interesting to me especially right now when I have just changed Daisy's food. She seemed to process the food she was on (Nature's Variety Instinct) differently from the rest of the (non border collie) dogs. I was wondering if you could point me to the studies you have read. I would like to try and compare The contents of The Honest Kitchen's Embark to Nature's Variety Instinct to see if I can come up with an explanation for what her body is doing.

 

Thanks,

Nicole

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There are literally thousands of studies. I used to have 4 file boxes full of them before I had to move and throw them out. Here is one that is short, to the point and easily accessible online. The studies all agree with one another, so I suspect they know what they are talking about. :rolleyes: This particular article was written by a man who is a vet and races sled dogs.

 

http://www.purinaproclub.com/sportingdog/P...g%20feeding.htm

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The border collie was developed by poor shepherds. It's highly doubtful that the breed, while being created, was fed a strictly meat diet (although one could argue that the dogs could have at times caught their own meals a la a whole prey model, though I would guess that any such whole prey would have been small whole prey: rats and mice, rabbits, etc.). In fact, it's most likely they were fed a mostly grain and some scraps diet. So while one may argue that dogs, based on their ancestry, are meant to be carnivores (though note that no one calls them obligate carnivores, like cats), it's also true that at least some breeds were likely developed on diets that were not strictly meat-based and so may in fact do well on such diets, since dogs who did well on such diets would have been selected (if not deliberately for that reason, but just as an artifact of the way of life) and bred from.

 

 

I agree that as a breed, Border Collies were likely fed scraps. For a poor shepherd that would mostly be oats and other grains, potatoes, vegetables and smaller amounts of milk, cheese and bits of meat and fish. I have fed diets ranging from 18% to nearly 60% protein to my Border Collies. My experience has fit perfectly with the many studies done on how diets affect working dogs; too little protein and you risk injury, beyond that point the balance of carbs to fat influences endurance. Endurance athletes fare better on a higher % of fat (vs carbs) while sprint athletes need more carbs vs fat.

 

 

There are literally thousands of studies. I used to have 4 file boxes full of them before I had to move and throw them out. Here is one that is short, to the point and easily accessible online. The studies all agree with one another, so I suspect they know what they are talking about. :rolleyes: This particular article was written by a man who is a vet and races sled dogs.

 

http://www.purinaproclub.com/sportingdog/P...g%20feeding.htm

 

Thanks Liz! This is so cool. If I am understanding this correctly (and I may not be because I just woke up from a nap :D ) Daisy would be an example that supports yours and Julie's comments about the history of what early border collies might have been fed. Anyway to make a long story short, all the dogs are eating Natures Variety. My dog Daisy is the only one that gets regular exercise (two miles a day for now). The rest of the dogs are lazy bums (weighing no more than 15lbs) that just sleep around all day long. Amazingly these lazy little dogs were eating roughly half a 1/4 cup under what Daisy ate (she was getting a half a cup a day) and this just blew my mind. I was starting to think something was wrong with Daisy so before taking a trip the vet, I decided to try a new food, The Honest Kitchen, embark. Right now she is eating 1 cup a day plus 1/3 cup of ground turkey. Going back to the article and the comments by Julie and Liz, I compared the ingredients...Natures Variety: protein reading of 39%, a fat level of 24% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 29%. Now looking at The Honest Kitchen: protein reading of 28%, a fat level of 22% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 42%. The carbs seem to be the difference maker. Daisy must do better on a carb based diet and I don't know if that has something to do with her lineage or if it is just coincidence. An interesting topic to say the least....I think I may have hijacked the thread.

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Feed whatever you want, what fits into your budget, and what makes you happy and keeps your dog healthy. Owning a dog shouldn't be the province of only the wealthy, nor should people be made to feel bad because they can't afford the best of the best (in some people's opinion).

 

J.

 

 

Thank you for that, Julie.

 

Recently I had a random stranger rip me a new one, when I chanced to comment on the bag of Taste of the Wild she was loading into her car. In a nutshell, she thought I was a terrible person if I didn't spend a fortune feeding my dogs just like she fed hers. :rolleyes:

 

I do the best I can and read the labels, and avoid grocery store brands. Still, with 5 dogs and my husband self-employed while I work part time, we can't afford dog food that costs $45-50 bucks a bag! So, my measure has to be if the dogs look good, if they're pooping normally, and if their performance and energy level remain strong. If I can check Yes to all the above ... that has to be good enough.

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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I guess the coyotes around here didn't read that part of the instruction manual. I see them in corn fields, pulling down ears, and I see coyote scat full of blackberry seeds this time of year. I have also seen them grazing on oats, eating blueberries, and just plain old pasture grass.

 

:rolleyes: Coyotes eat anything. ANYthing. They didn't read the label that carnivores don't eat carbs. :D

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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I just started transitioning from Smart-Pak lamb and brown rice to Wellness Super 5 mix - Lamb, Barley and Salmon meal recipe. The guy at the pet supplies place where I shop gave it the "thumbs up." (even though I'm getting it delivered from Smart-Pak) And I put the cat on Evo. It's pretty pricey, but I only have one dog and one cat, so I'm game to get this stuff in the hope of heading off nutritionally-related vet visits. The animals certainly approve! "Yum yum!", they say.

Would be grateful to hear feedback on both the the cat and dog food.

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Geonni,

I've fed Wellness to my old dog, and he did fine on it. I've also fed it to the cats. I have the cats on the EVO kibble and they like it. TBH, though, the kibble they seem to like the absolute best is the Chicken Soup. Interestingly, I have *never* been able to convince the cats to eat any of the premium canned cat foods, and I've tried them all (e.g., Wellness, Solid Gold, Weruva, Natural Balance, etc.). I've tried Acana kibble and they were kind of meh about it. I haven't tried Orijen yet.

 

J.

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Geonni,

I've fed Wellness to my old dog, and he did fine on it. I've also fed it to the cats. I have the cats on the EVO kibble and they like it. TBH, though, the kibble they seem to like the absolute best is the Chicken Soup. Interestingly, I have *never* been able to convince the cats to eat any of the premium canned cat foods, and I've tried them all (e.g., Wellness, Solid Gold, Weruva, Natural Balance, etc.). I've tried Acana kibble and they were kind of meh about it. I haven't tried Orijen yet.

 

J.

Julie,

You made me curious, so I opened a can of Evo that came free with my last shipment from Smart-Pak. My cat Mugen was VERY enthusiastic. He normally isn't much for "pate' style" foods. He likes chunks and gravy. But that Evo canned food smelled great. I was just about ready to make me an Evo chicken & turkey sandwich! Mugen scarfed that stuff up... Nom, nom!

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