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Struggling to cut costs

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!

  
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Daisy

Use your nose!
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 28, '13 5:51pm PST 
I know that raw doesn't mean cheap, but that doesn't mean I couldn't use some help. smile
Right now I can buy a 10lb bag of chicken leg quarters for $8. Not too bad, but I have to debone the drumsticks, and that is quite time consuming, as well as wasteful. Not to mention my difficulty of trying to buy in larger bulk, or other meats. I can get beef heart for $1.19/lb, but it isn't always in stock. I just haven't been able to find someplace to buy in the bulk I want to, and the types of meat I want. Any suggestions?
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Shadow

24032
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 5:26pm PST 
Out of curiosity why are you deboning the drumsticks?


Not sure where you are located but see if there is a yahoo raw feeding group in your area. It's possible they can share some sources.

Or try to shop the sales. I don't really have any other tips for you, sorry.
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Daisy

Use your nose!
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 6:11pm PST 
The leg quarters are like 30% bone, and since I don't have another plentiful source of meat (boneless) to dilute it with, I have to get rid of some bone. It is a major pain though, and makes me dread making up a batch of food. frown I will look for a yahoo group, but I am pretty much in the middle of nowhere now. Thanks for responding at least!
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Shadow

24032
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 8:19pm PST 
Another thought, if you only have the chihuahua you might be able to buy premade raw. It's typically only affordable for people with tiny dogs.
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Daisy

Use your nose!
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 11:50pm PST 
I have 3 dogs and a cat though. So yes, it would definitely be affordable for say, just the cat (and for litter box reasons, he is the one that absolutely will only ever eat raw for the rest of his life no matter what happens!). I am sure that once I find a job it won't matter as much, but right now I am trying to cut as much cost as I possibly can until that time. As mentioned before, I am kind of in the middle of nowhere, so finding a job is also proving difficult. Bleh. SaveMart has Pick 5 for $25 every once in a while, and as mentioned, I found beef heart (which I am considering a muscle, not organ) for quite cheap, I just need to call and figure out what days they stock it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! smile
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Dandelion

helloooo....! - i\'m TALKING to- you!!!!!
 
 
Barked: Sat Aug 31, '13 11:55am PST 
i never debone the chicken - if he gets too constipated, i give him more sweet potato, squash, and carrots.

fwiw, i honestly could not afford to feed my dog and two cats kibble; raw is FAR cheaper.

Edited by author Sat Aug 31, '13 11:57am PST

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Maxwell

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
 
 
Barked: Sat Aug 31, '13 2:25pm PST 
If you don't find pork, beef or lamb affordable you could do some fancy stuff to balance the diet. I wouldn't feed mostly chicken whether you remove excess bone or not. It has a poor omega 3:6 balance and is very low in a number of minerals and vitamins. Steve Brown's book Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet: Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way has a balanced chicken recipe in it and you can view it on google books.

I found a huge number of ethnic markets 20 miles away. Several have online flyers so I can spend the gas money wisely. Perhaps you could google and find a place further out and combine errands once a month or so? There is a really great market 50 miles away from me that is just past IKEA for instance.

Or advertise on free cycle or Craig's List to find free meat.

Or find a wholesale meat market and buy a case of red meat.

Or ask if you can special order that nice cheap beef heart from your local market.
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Dandelion

helloooo....! - i\'m TALKING to- you!!!!!
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 1, '13 6:28pm PST 
score!!!!!! $32 turkey marked down 50% - this thing weighs something like 20lbs!
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Daisy

Use your nose!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 2, '13 3:43am PST 
I do add vitamins and such back in, as I am using the recipe on catinfo.org. Lots of fish oil, some taurine, and some other stuff. According to the vet there, it is nutritionally sound with the additions, but maybe that is wrong? Among the cat people I have talked to it is kind of the standard. Before though, I was able to add more beef and pork as we had this great local meat market in my former location. I think the biggest problem is storing it right now. We don't have a big freezer, and we also don't have the funds to get an extra one (though as soon as I get a job that is the first thing on our list!).

I am sure they would order me a whole case (once I have room to store it!), and my boyfriend talked to them, and apparently they do normally always have it, they just didn't order as much as normal last month. I do worry about the high iron in it though, and basically no zinc, which is a big reason to feed beef in the first place.

As for ethnic markets, I kid you not, we went to EVERY SINGLE ONE in town, and this is a mainly Hispanic town. I thought for sure before we moved here I would hit the jackpot, but it has so far been incredibly disappointing. I can get some kind of weird stuff, like whole cow feet, and lots of beef tongue (but geeze it is pricey!). If I did manage to find tongue for a cheap price, would that be an acceptable large quantity beef replacement? I used to do cheek meat, and that stuff was the complete bomb, super cheap and nice and chewy for the teeth, but I can't find any here. That, and it seems like any pork I find has been plumped. Otherwise, there is one more market we want to check out that is a town over. If that doesn't pan out, I will probably contact the wholesale meat company that is back in my hometown (about two hours away), but again, that is more of a "once we have storage" thing.

Thanks for all the thoughts and tips, I really appreciate them!

Edited by author Mon Sep 2, '13 3:44am PST

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Ember FDX

Go Go Devil- Bunnies!
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 3, '13 7:56am PST 
FWIW, beef heart is not suitable as a dietary staple. It's technically muscle meat, but the nutritional break down is not the same as true muscle meat. Feeding too much beef heart can cause deficiencies. Think prey model - an animal is not mostly heart, therefore feeding mostly heart does not work.

I classify beef heart as an "other" with items like tripe, gullet and lung. All good to feed, but none should be a major part of the diet.

Pork is the cheapest red meat around here. I usually buy bulk packs of loin for between $1.75 and $2.29/lb. That is a sale price, so having a freezer helps. Buy it up while it's cheap. I've never seen any of it with solution in it in Stop & Shop, Shaw's, Market Basket, or the local grocers. I work the occasional $2.99/lb beef bottom roast in there for variety.

Whatever you buy, watch your fat and bone content. There are cheaper cuts of pork available - bone-in pork shoulder, for instance, is often $1.19/lb - but they are typically covered in fat, on a very large bone, and you'll end up throwing so much away that it's cheaper to just buy something that costs a bit more up front.

Another way to cut costs is to switch to something more along the lines of a homecooked diet. A sort of deconstructed kibble that you make yourself, and feed as raw as possible. I've done this using bulk dried beans, lentils and peas. If your dog does ok on grains, you can also use things like rice and oatmeal. I did some white potato, but I hear so much iffy stuff about them I'd rather just stick to beans. Sweet potato is great, though, if you can find it cheap enough - usually there are sales around Thanksgiving.
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