Question about leg quarters

Postby amalie79 » September 18th, 2011, 12:40 pm

So I'm waiting for approval to lurk on the Yahoo raw feeding forum... But I thought I'd solicit some info here.

Right now the adult girls are getting Nature's Variety patties in the evening until I can sort out my home-prepped raw feeding. They'll get morning kibble meals at least until our bags run out, and at that point, we'll decide whether to go full raw or not-- one reason we'd wanted to keep up kibble was so we could board them easily. But I'm pretty confident that the place we use will feed my guys raw for me, so I'm less concerned now.

Anyway, I'm also awaiting some info on a lead for an affordable chicken neck and back supplier. The chicken outlet stores here don't carry them. Until then, chicken leg quarters are my best deal. We also haven't decided whether we'll grind or feed whole, and I know all the arguments in favor of each-- it's going to be a matter of how we feel most comfortable.

If I can't get backs and necks at a good price around here, and I end up using primarily leg quarters, do I need to add some bone meal or egg shell? The other meats will be probably pork necks and ground-meat-only beef or turkey (any exotics will likely be NV patties or freezer-burned meats from friends). I'm having a really hard time getting my head around making sure the ca/phos ratio is correct. Some sites and books suggest that leg quarters are just right, others say they're too meaty, and so you need to be sure that they or any meat-only meals in the rotation are supplemented by Ca. And if we're still feeding kibble for another couple of months, I'm not sure it's much of an issue, really... But after that?

Ugh. I'm so confused. They love it so much and I think it will be cheaper for us in the long run and better for their health, but right now, trying to get my head around the many many MANY differing opinions on it is tough.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 18th, 2011, 12:58 pm

Just a heads up that the rawfeeding Yahoo group is kind of rabid. Ok, that's a lie. They are REALLY rabid. I ended up quitting the list. Take things you read there with a grain of salt and don't let them freak you out. They firmly believe that if you don't feed red meat (which apparently includes pork) 99% of the time your dog will suffer for it. Whatever.

Re: chicken quarters, you definitely do NOT need to add bone meal or anything. They're actually considered too bony to be ideal. They work well for Inara - she seems to need the extra bit of bone to avoid soft serve poo. I have no idea what the ca/phos ratio is. It's easy for me to say because I used to be just like you but DON'T OVERTHINK THIS. :)

Inara exists primarily on chicken quarters (chicken necks are a choking hazard for our dogs as well as too bony, and backs are too bony unless you're supplementing with extra boneless meat). She gets half of a quarter per night, with a small (2 oz, maybe?) piece of boneless pork and then a few small pieces of liver/gizzards/organ stuff. I squirt some salmon oil on, and voila - dinner. That's her menu 99% of the time. I got some whole fish from a friend, so Inara is having half of a fish tonight. But normally it's chicken.

And most boarding places are very willing to feed raw. Mine just asked for explicit directions, so I put a chicken quarter in a ziplock bag and then my directions were: open ziplock, dump chicken on floor, supervise. lol She was a little surprised it was so easy. :)

So like I said, try to relax with this. It's definitely something you can learn as you go, and it's easy to tweak on the run. :)
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Postby amalie79 » September 18th, 2011, 1:10 pm

You just made me feel sooooo much better about this. :)

I had planned to only add bone meal or egg shell if i'm feeding a meat only meal-- like ground beef or ground turkey. Maybe do a cottage cheese/veggie/egg+shell meal once a week... or veggies with breakfast (or for breakfast if we switch to feeding once a day). Add salmon oil and maybe sea meal or Missing Link. And then I saw that about leg quarters needing extra calcium and my whole plan was upturned. If we grind, we'll grind bone, too. I may try some whole pieces. On the one hand, that seems so much easier. On the other, I have resource guarders and gulpers, so I'm hesitant. I honestly feel like the best thing right now is to do what we feel comfortable doing and then we can evolve and change our plan from there.

The woman we board with is in some of our dog training classes and our Dog Scouts troop (yes, I joined Dog Scouts. And River has her first obedience trial in 3 weeks-- I've gone officially over the edge), and she's been supportive of our switch to raw-- she may even feed raw herself, I'm not sure. So we're good there.

Deep breaths. Deeeeep breaths.
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Postby amalie79 » September 18th, 2011, 1:13 pm

Oh-- and I totally suspected that about the Yahoo group-- that's why I plan to lurk and not actually ask questions. :D
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Postby Hoyden » September 18th, 2011, 4:25 pm

Liz - how are you cutting up your chickens?

I'm feeding Birdie raw, mostly chicken and I buy two 4lb - 4.25lb birds in a bag at BJ's for .89 per lb. We are cutting the whole chickens into quarters so each meal is 1lb.

Is that correct for a 70lb pork chop dog who should weigh 62 lbs?
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Postby amalie79 » September 18th, 2011, 4:41 pm

Hoyden wrote:Liz - how are you cutting up your chickens?

I'm feeding Birdie raw, mostly chicken and I buy two 4lb - 4.25lb birds in a bag at BJ's for .89 per lb. We are cutting the whole chickens into quarters so each meal is 1lb.

Is that correct for a 70lb pork chop dog who should weigh 62 lbs?


Liz may have a better answer, since she's been doing this... :P I keep reading 2-3% of ideal body weight is the goal. River weighed in at a hefty 73 lbs last visit ( :shock: ) and she, too, should only weigh in the low 60s. I'll be aiming for 1-1.25lbs of food for her per day. :| And River has a pretty slow metabolism. She's already only been getting about 800 calories a day, plus a few treats, and still was gaining weight.

And I finally have access to the yahoo forum. I see what you mean, Liz, but it's already a nice source of basic info-- like that leg quarters are ~27% bone and bone should ideally (though depending on the dog) be only around 10%. That give me a great starting point to know how much meat to supplement with a leg quarter to start with, and then watch their stool beyond that. I can get leg quarters for $.59/lb and it looks like the USDA has the bone %s for other cuts. I'm already feeling worlds better about this.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 18th, 2011, 4:45 pm

Well, Inara is 46 lbs and she gets about 1/2 - 3/4 lb per day. I kind of alternate between the two. Is Birdie losing weight at a reasonable pace? If so, then it's correct. If she's not losing, cut her back; and if she's losing too quickly, up it a smidge.

With the quarters, I usually break the joint between the leg and thigh and then use a Santoku knife to cut the flesh. If I buy a whole chicken I usually end up having to alternate breaking joints and cutting flesh and just ripping it apart. I don't have a good cleaver to cut through the bone, so I have to be very hands-on/hands-in.

Just a reminder to watch your sodium content in the meats you feed. It should be less than 100mg per 4oz serving. A lot of companies inject water/brine into the meat to plump it up, but that can really increase the sodium. Just a heads-up. :)
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Postby Hoyden » September 18th, 2011, 6:47 pm

Madame Pork chop is not loosing weight at 1lb. per day with a 1/2 mile walk one day and a 1.5 mile walk the next day. She can't do more than that because she starts to have issues with arthritis.

I have to figure away to cut her back a little more.

I tried to feed her some greens. FAIL!!!

I put 1/4 cup of green beans into the food processor and added chicken liver and 1/2 cup of ground beef. No go, her snootiness refused to eat it. I can not get any greens or other vegetable matter into her at all. Yet the damn dog will eat grass after we water or if it rains. :|
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 18th, 2011, 7:26 pm

So cut her back to 3/4 lb per day - she won't starve to death! And are you giving her glucosamine/chondroitin/msm? I give Inara one Osteo Bi-Flex pill per day. She also gets a squirt of salmon oil on every meal. The gluc/chon/msm will help with Birdie's arthritis.
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Postby furever_pit » September 18th, 2011, 8:54 pm

Wow, I am jealous that y'all can feed your dogs so little. Both Gigz and Raven weigh 68# and eat 2lbs a day, not including organs and other extras.

When I first started feeding raw, which was really only a few months ago, I was TOTALLY overthinking things. I did a ton of research and took a bunch of notes and kinda freaked myself out and it made it hard to just do it. Then I just decided to "Keep It Simple Stupid" and have been golden since then.

The typical meal for Gigz and Raven consists of 2 chicken leg quarters, organs (chicken liver, or gizzards and hearts), and a spoonful of yogurt. When I have venison, I switch it up for variety for them. They also get turkey necks occasionally just for something different. With deer season approaching I should be getting in some deer organs and heads to add to the mix. I also give whole eggs twice a week. Fruits and veggies are added as I see fit, usually when I realize that something isn't going to get eaten by me. Oh, I also give whole sardines as well as other fish when I find it on sale. I use a fish oil supplement daily and am looking into glucosamine/chondroiton.
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Postby amalie79 » September 18th, 2011, 11:01 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:So cut her back to 3/4 lb per day - she won't starve to death! And are you giving her glucosamine/chondroitin/msm? I give Inara one Osteo Bi-Flex pill per day. She also gets a squirt of salmon oil on every meal. The gluc/chon/msm will help with Birdie's arthritis.


So will salmon oil. It helped River a lot, as did high dose msm.

Liz-- do you give cranimals every day, or a few times a week?

And thanks you guys-- glad I'm not the only over-thinker amongst us. I feel like I'm starting to get mty head around it all now. :)
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 19th, 2011, 9:59 am

I actually haven't been giving it at all. She hasn't had any problems since starting raw. :)
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Postby amalie79 » September 19th, 2011, 10:04 am

I'm noticing Robin's urine running much more acidic with the raw and have stopped giving the cranberry with VitC and am giving one that's almost all cranberry (15mg of vit c per dose, which is almost nothing).

I just don't want OVERLY acidic urine, but that's a whole other set of problems...
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