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Tips on being more efficient

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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Zeppelin CGN

Mellow is the- path to- happiness
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 1, '12 8:23pm PST 
I've been feeding Zeppelin raw since January and my whole pack has been raw fed since mid-May. Zeppelin's health has improved dramatically and he is a much happier dog now. Yay! cheer
Layla and Jagger are also benefiting greatly from raw.

I'm looking for tips on how to prepare their meals more efficiently. It's just taking up SO much time, I feel like there's gotta be a better way. shrug

I feed chicken, turkey, beef, pork, mackerel, sardines, some lamb and raw meaty bones. I get some items from a local raw dog food company ( http://www.totallyrawdogfood.com/ ), but most of it I get from butchers or the grocery store. When I get beef meat, heart, tongue, I cut it up myself and freeze it in chunks. When I get my ground organ mix, I make 2-3 oz portions (large spoonfull) and freeze those on trays, then put them bags. I freeze chicken hearts, gizzards on trays and put them in a big bag so they are easy to separate. I do the same for turkey necks, chicken backs, pork ribs, RMB, etc.

So now my doggy freezer is full with a variety of raw meat. Each week, I make a list of what/how much each dog should eat that week (80/10/10) based on what I have in the freezer (i.e. maybe out of turkey necks, but have extra chicken backs). Sometimes I weigh everything for the week and package it in large ziplocs labelled for that week. Lately I just take out what they need for 2 days and check it off my list as I go.

Packaging and weighing is taking several hours each week. And that doesn't include the time it takes to chop up meat when I get a batch from the butcher... How do you guys do it? red face
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Zeppelin CGN

Mellow is the- path to- happiness
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 1, '12 8:27pm PST 
Oh I forgot to add: I have a journal in which I write down what each dogs eats every day and how much. I am still fairly new at this, and the journal makes it easy to track the bone content of their meals and/or if they are reacting to anything.
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Spuds "The- Angel Potato- Head"

Thinking of my- pal Troop!!
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 1, '12 8:41pm PST 
It only takes me an hour to do a months worth of food for Spuds. I slice up the meats as I buy them on sale and toss in the freezer. Then when I am making the meals, split up the bones & organs and mix with sliced meats.

We make my Son's dog's food 2 months at a time, it takes 2 of us under 2 hours to makes up her packs. If my DIL did it by herself, she spent hours doing it.

It's easiest to divide before freezing and then put it all together I have found. It took a while to find my rhythm, but I just learned not to over think it and just do it.
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Maxwell

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 1, '12 10:14pm PST 
Most of Max's stuff comes from Creston Valley and is in a good size pack for us, 5 pounds of meat bagged, 2 pounds of ground stuff tubed. When empty bins are piling up and it doesn't seem like there is much variety in the packed up bins I defrost a pack of meat, bony meat and some organ and repack in 2 day sized bins. I stick on a paper label so I don't get too mixed up on what is what. That takes me all of half an hour which surprised me first time I actually timed myself. Max cleans up the defrosting bin and it gets a good soapy wash and outside to be sterilized by the sun. That could be where you can take it easier. Instead of feeding a 30, 35 and 20 pound dog [for example] pack up for a 85 pound dog for 2 days and cut it up that day. Every other day get out another pack of food in case the previous pack was short or a dog needs more or less bone or meat. Eggs and a bag of chicken feet work for emergency bone/meat here. I also have boned meat, tripe and hamburger patties packed up in case I run short of meat or bone a roast or chicken for us and I don't feel like sticking that bone in the freezer.

I made a grocery store run a couple weeks ago. $80 for meat, half for Max and half for the humans. I roughly boned the chicken breasts for Max's bone and put the meat in the freezer for us. I cut up the organs into 2 day bits and rolled most of it into plastic for later. I boned half the pork chops and packed half of it plus a bit of organ with the chicken bone for Max and repacked the rest of the chops for us. I was tired but processing those 7 large trays of meat, 4 trays of organ and tray of pork hearts only took an hour. Again, I pack the bin full and get out another before the defrosted one is empty so I can be sure to have enough food for that day. Max was miffed, I put all the trays straight into the trash instead of letting him lick the juices off.

When I cooked for Sassy I found that cooking 10 days of food took 10x as long as cooking daily and I suspect Max's food is the same way. I don't know about you but I would rather take a couple minutes fixing the meal daily than hours once a month packing up precisely measured meals so I just pack those bins full and weigh daily.
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Duke

I'm king of the- world!
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 2, '12 4:41pm PST 
Zeppelin, your method sounds pretty much exactly like mine. I also freeze in chunks and bag. It is definitely time-consuming to cut up and freeze, but I only do this once a month and usually just do it over the course of a weekend.

I don't calculate a week's worth of food ahead of time. I just record each day's meals on a spreadsheet that calculates organ and bone for me. (Well, I enter the values and the spreadsheet just adds them up). I am very visual and it helps me to see as the week progresses how much Duke has had of this meat, that organ, and bone. I can send my spreadsheet if you think it would help.

Maybe record meals as you go rather than figuring it all out a week ahead? I tend to mix up Duke's meats in a day, but you don't have to do that. You could feed a couple days of pork, then beef, then fish, etc, which might make it easier. Throw in a few meals of bone and organ, and you're good.

Have you ever tried feeding the chunks frozen? Duke pretty much eats everything frozen. He will lick it and sometimes toss it around for a bit, but then he chews in and it's gone. It's actually good for the teeth since he sort of gnaws it like a bone. I freeze in small enough chunks so that he's not biting into a whole frozen roast or anything. The biggest chunk he gets is probably 8 oz. HOWEVER, Duke is very respectful with food and bone and never gulps...I wouldn't suggest this for a gulper!

For me, feeding frozen is easier and A LOT less messy. I never have to worry about thawing.

One of these days I am going to pre-package organ by the week so all I have to do is go through the bag by the end of the week. Just haven't gotten there yet...too lazy. silenced
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Zeppelin CGN

Mellow is the- path to- happiness
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 2, '12 5:09pm PST 
Thanks everyone. I think I will take the approach of prepping meals every day, rather than measuring it all out for a whole week (I hope that makes sense). Layla will eat frozen food; Zeppelin will sometimes, but not always (he just gives up); Jagger doesn't seem to enjoy eating frozen food. Duke's Mom: I'm happy to hear I'm not the only person to go about it this way. BOL

What I think I will do is prepare the meals a day in advance so it can thaw, at least partially. Feed Monday's food, measure Tuesdays and leave in the fridge to thaw. Thanks for the tip about the spreadsheet Duke! I just started one this week actually; my laptop had been down for awhile so I was stuck with pen & paper. That should make things easier. snoopy

ETA:
Spuds: I have no idea how you can do a month of food in an hour! You mean, you have a month's worth of meat sliced and frozen? Do you simply measure your daily meals as you go?

Edited by author Thu Aug 2, '12 5:12pm PST

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Maxwell

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 2, '12 5:25pm PST 
Back when I made up daily baggies for Max from grocery store finds it only took me an hour a month to process about 20 pounds of stuff. I used all the large bowls in the house to place the meats and organs and put a bit of bony stuff, bit of organ and cut meat to fill in the gaps in each baggie. More meat in the baggie with the chicken neck, less for a chicken thigh bag. Didn't need to label as they were mostly all the same and meant to feed that month and since I already had balanced for the month it should have come out about right.

I would pull out a baggie, empty it into a bowl frozen and put the baggie right back into the freezer for reuse if it wasn't torn. The meal sat in the refrigerator over night and was fed the next day.

Guess I am glad to be dealing with only one dog!
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Spuds "The- Angel Potato- Head"

Thinking of my- pal Troop!!
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 2, '12 7:15pm PST 
laugh out loudlaugh out loud Sharp knives and freezer containers. I slice up the muscle meat as I buy it, and when I make up the daily packets, I just add the daily amounts of everything else to each baggie.

Maybe it's 2 yrs of feeding raw?

Don't know why, but it baffles my DIL too.....
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Zeppelin CGN

Mellow is the- path to- happiness
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 2, '12 8:46pm PST 
Maxwell: that's a lot of bowls! BOL

Spuds: Practice makes perfect? thinking I like your approach and I'm not too far off. When I get my big orders from the butcher I get boneless meat, beef heart, beef tongue and RMBs. I end up cutting up all the meat into chunks and laying it out on pans to freeze. How do you freeze your sliced meat? I also lay out the RMBs on a pan to breeze before throwing them all in a bag... I end up running out of space in the freezers for pans, so it takes me a few days to freeze all the meat when I buy a big load.

P.S. We are travelling this weekend. Zeppelin is coming along; Layla & Jagger are going to a kennel (The Howl-A-Day Inn!). I just spent 2.5 hours measuring and packaging daily meals for all three of them for 5 days. Sheesh!

I think doing it daily with a nice spreadsheet would simplify my life. Right now, all the dogs are eating a variety of protein everyday. If I prepare meals each day, I'll make them eat a single protein a day... much easier I think.

Live & learn right? big grin
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y

dog-sitter in- charge.
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 2, '12 10:07pm PST 
feeding 1 little is always harder for me than feeding 4 big dogs.. you have to just cut up too many things and portion too many things for a little.

if I only had my littles i would probably get onto a regular gorge/fast schedule with them so instead of having to divvy everything up so they could add up to 2oz each day, I would just feed them 10oz every 2 or 3 days.
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