Friday, May 29, 2009


This is why I desperately want a freezer.

Chicken drumsticks and thighs - $1/lb.

Pork shoulder - $1/lb.

Beef liver - $1/lb.

Whole chicken - $1.50/lb.

Beef roast - $2/lb.

I bought over 42 pounds of meat for slightly just under $55.

That averages out to ~$1.30 a pound, and brings my running average to around $0.93/day.

Counting the meat I already have in the freezer, I have enough meat to fed Kip until September, and really cannot fit one more ounce in the freezer. But I am SO tempted to go back and get more - really, $1/lb!!!!!

(And yes, I actually bought some meat for me too!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The devil is in the percentages

Kip was getting 1/2 a pound of meat a day, and dropped to below 21 pounds. I'm not too focused on weight, but more on how he looks and feels - and when I can start seeing his ribs, and easily feeling his hip bones and spine, I get concerned.

So, I upped his daily amount, closer to 3% of his ideal adult body weight, or ~11 oz/day.

And the porker packed on the ounces (can't really say he packed on the "less than a pound").

So, new plan:

We're back to ~8 oz/day, with the occasional extra meal thrown in if we've had an extra active day, or I see him getting a bit too skinny again.

One exciting OT thing - my shed got built, so his agility equipment (just jumps and weave poles... for now!) is here for us to play with - yippee!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Organization, you're getting closer

I posted recently about trying a new method of organizing Kip's food, and it's working for me - yippee!!

I "splurged" and bought two more containers. Each container holds 4 days worth of food (Kip is up to 12 oz. from 8 oz. per day, so each container holds ~3 lbs of meat). Based on past experience though, I am changing one thing - the organballs now go into their own container, as they got a bit too mushy for my liking (Kip had no issues, but I was slightly nauseated trying to scoop out soggy organ mush).

Today, I got out all the previously portioned meat, and the 4 empty containers, and organized them as follows:

1 chicken back (~40% bone)
1 turkey with bone (~40% bone)
1 chicken breast with bone (~20% bone)
4 boneless pork
2 boneless turkey
2 boneless beef

Added to that will be a few ounces of organballs, which are ~1/2 heart and 1/2 organ, to round the 4 days out at slightly less than 10% bone and around 10% organ.

These container are relatively cheap (under $4.00 each), but I think they'll be strong enough to hold up to repeated uses. They fit somewhat okay in my freezer, but I'm going to wait until I get a real freezer before buying anymore. Ideally, I'd have enough to hold around a month's worth of food, which would be ~8 containers, plus extras for extra meat (which is currently in the plastic bags).

The best part, in my opinion, is the ability to pull an entire container, and throw it in the fridge, without having to worry about bone percents, meat variety or leaks and spills - all the averaging of percents and varieties is done when filling the containers, so after that, feeding is almost automatic.

Another thing I tried, and will do again, if I have the freezer space - cutting up meat, and placing it on a tray in the freezer to freeze in individual pieces, and then pop those all into a ziplock bag together - pre-freezing allows me to grab individual chunks without thawing the entire pack, or having to package each into an individual plastic bag, which I was finding very wasteful.

It's been trial-and-error but it is all coming together!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Good day

We had a good day on Thursday - our first trip to a new vet. I recently moved back to the area I grew up in, and needed to find a new vet. There are not a lot of vets around, so I more need to find a vet who will listen to my concerns and work with me, rather than try to find the perfect vet.

My two main areas of concern - a reduced vaccination schedule and the fact that Kip eats a raw diet.

Dr. Vet said that while he will not recommend a raw diet, as long as the dog is healthy, he won't oppose it. No, it's no perfect, but at least he listened to what I had to say, and didn't try to sell me on kibble.

And he's fine with a reduced vaccination schedule - yippee!! He said that clinic actually recommends a 3-year schedule on the distemper group, even though that's off label, and went on to expound on the fact that the vaccine companies are behind the times, and won't change the label recommendations since that would cut into their profits, etc.

In fact, he went on at length about a number of things.

At great length.

I was there almost 2 hours!

But - Kip has a clean bill of health, I found a vet I'm comfortable with and life is good.

(Off topic - while I was in the waiting room, and while paying the bill, I saw about 6 other dogs come and go. The vast majority were severely overweight, and the nails!! So long on one, the poor dog's feet were splayed out. One dog was literally dripping with un-brushed undercoat. Not to brag, but maybe my vet is willing to listen to me since Kip is slightly underweight if anything, is bathed and brushed, and has trimmed nails??)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Organization, you continue to elude me

Organization, organization, organization. Sigh.

I'm still working out the best system for me. I was putting each portion into a small ziplock bag, then each meat type/cut together into a larger, labeled ziplock bag. The bags don't take up a lot of room in the freezer (bonus!), but the masking tape labels didn't stick, the larger bags are hard to reseal after a while, and the bags leak blood all over the fridge while thawing (that's what I get for using cheap bags, I guess). Additionally, since the bags were leaking, I stopped saving them for re-use, meaning I am throwing away a LOT of plastic.

Also, I'm not great at remembering what I gave Kip to eat yesterday, the day before, etc., making it a bit harder to keep track of bone amounts, organball numbers, etc.

So, on to Plan B. I bought some cheaper plastic containers, large enough to hold 4-5 days worth of food. I got 2 to start with, as I don't want to waste a lot of money on a system that won't work any better then the one I'm currently using, but it gives me something to start with. Below is one container with 4 days worth of food - a large turkey drumstick, some bone-in chicken and boneless beef, along with some organballs.

In theory, I can load these up with a few days worth of food, freeze them, and then put them in the fridge to thaw and feed from. If I get enough (and if this system works for me), I could prep a number of them at one time, and then have 1-2 months worth of meals ready to go, all in reusable containers. It just means freezing whole cuts when they are on sale, and thawing a bunch at a time to portion out and re-freeze in the container. Which is doable. Again, the lack of freezer space really needs to be addressed soon!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I heart independant butchers!

We have a great independent butcher in the area, and I recently got a uncured "ham" (shoulder? leg? I don't really know my meat cuts!) for $1.19/lb. I portioned it out, and it ended up costing a whopping $0.80 per day - cheap, and boneless too! The only thing, it has a lot of skin and fat, which in small amounts, are great for dogs that can tolerate it. Some dogs can't tolerate too much fat, so I'll have to keep an eye on Kip when he eats this meat.

The running total to date: approximately $1.15 per day to feed raw. (Without those cursed "bargain" turkeys, I'd be at $0.98 a day!!!!) Yes, it's more expensive than cheap kibble, but it's about the same (or less) than premium kibble, and I feel a lot better about feeding Kip real, unprocessed food. And Kip likes it too!

My costs are going to go up a bit though, as Kip is getting a bit skinny, and, as the warmer weather is finally here, we will be more active. So, I've increased the amount he gets daily. He is getting ~3% of his weight per day now (~8 oz of meat, plus ~2 oz of organballs mixed with an egg or sardine to make it irresistible to Mr. Picky Dog), and I'll keep it at that for a bit, and see how it goes.

I think I'm getting better at getting cheaper meats, and figuring out which sales are really a bargain, and which aren't. I'd also like to start sourcing some alternative meats, like rabbit and fish, but, until I get a real freezer, buying those in bulk (generally the most economical way) just isn't an option.