Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cheap Meats at Hispanic Grocery Stores - April 2008 Raw Diet update

April 2008 raw diet update:

A cute puppy

Recently with Luna's raw diet, I've been trying to locate cheap sources of non-typical animals and organs. We do not have enough space in our freezers to join a co-op (where you typically buy things in tens of pounds), so that option is out. We do not live in a rural enough area to where people are offering us goat and chicken carcasses every day. The international grocery stores are a great place to shop for atypical meats, but those are 45+ minutes away from us.

So I got a bit creative. I saw a deer processing place near our house, and that led to me eventually calling a taxidermist. Ever heard of anyone getting their raw meats and organs from a taxidermist? Well, you still haven't, because we decided it wouldn't be the best option. The one that I talked to mostly got small carnivorous animals, which we aren't too thrilled about feeding to Luna. He also said he got beavers from time to time, but some other raw feeders told me that giardia present in beaver meat might not even be killed by long-term deep freezing. So we dropped the taxidermist option, but I still might call deer processing places when deer season begins.

My next thought was to visit some carnicerias and/or Hispanic grocery stores. The Atlanta area has a large Hispanic population, and there are Hispanic grocery stores all over the place. I had been wanting to get Luna some more heart (fodder for our new dehydrator), so off I went, in search for a dead cow's heart, hopefully for a good price. Wouldn't you know, I got heart for $1/pound. That's a really good price on beef heart! I was hoping they would carry other animal meats such as rabbit or goat, but they didn't. They also had kidney, but I didn't need any. I think it was a good price too, but I don't remember. Even if the heart were the same price as the international store's, this would still be the better choice, since it's MUCH closer to our house.

So if you happen to fit all these qualities, a local Hispanic grocery store would be a great option for you:

  • Are feeding a non-pre-packaged raw diet

  • (EDIT, forgot to add) If you don't have a big dog

  • Live in a fairly suburban area

  • Can't/won't join a co-op

  • Don't know any farmers

  • Don't have any gigantic international grocery stores near you
(you sure are picky)

Oh right, the health of our puppy. She's doing fine, although every now and then, absolutely out of the blue, she'll unload some tarry poop. We're not quite sure why, especially since she's acting absolutely fine in every other way. Tarry stools could indicate upper GI tract bleeding, but you'd think she'd be showing some other symptoms, which she is not. If this continues, we will probably take her to the vet.

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7 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Samantha

    I love how you tell people about your dog's poop on your blog! :-) It's hilarious.

  • Harmony

    You forgot to mention that you have to actually understand written and/or spoken Spanish at many of these stores.

    At least, I assume you do. I myself never studied Spanish after 6th grade - which is why I sent you there instead of me. :-)

  • Ginny

    Could tarry poops also indicate excess iron? Just a guess. My dog, when she was alive and eating raw meat and bones, would have white poops after eating bones, from the excess calcium.

  • JunkMale

    Yes, yes, dog poop on my blog. I'm glad you enjoy it, Samantha ;)

    As my wife stated, yes, I did have to brush up on and use my 6 years of middle/high school Spanish.

    I've read some people saying that tarry poops can also indicate too much organ. Luna does get organ every night, and recently I have been giving her a piece of kidney and a piece of spleen, the latter of which does have plenty of iron in it. Maybe I should give her more bone tonight.

  • Headmistress, zookeeper

    The Equuschick tried a raw diet for the dog children a while ago, but in our case she found it entirely too time-consuming and too expensive.
    Our dog-children are:
    Zeus- 110 pounds (the same size as his Person)
    Donovan-dog- 69 pounds of dorkiness
    Sadie- about 75 pounds of grumpy old biddy dog and almost no teeth.

    We think you all should come and teach us how to do this.=)

  • JunkMale

    1) If it were just me trying to feed Luna a raw diet, it would be much harder. So I understand that. Luckily, I have Harmony to shop for good deals while I'm at the office.

    2) Feeding 254 (!) pounds of dog would definitely be more difficult than feeding 8 pounds of pure ferocity such as our doggy. So I understand the difficult/expensive parts there.

    While we'd love to come teach, 1) it's a bit far (we'll let you know if we ever get lost thereabouts), and 2) while we may consider ourselves diminutively minor experts on shopping for 8 pounds of ferocity, 254 pounds might be whole new territory. Speaking in general terms, that would be about 6.35 pounds of meat a day.

    Since you are out in the country, that could be a blessing and a curse. Blessing because maybe there are some people you could buy meat directly from (could probably get whole carcasses, which is something I've always wanted to do for Luna), or join a co-op if you have the storage space. It's a curse because if there isn't anyone to buy direct from, driving costs could be prohibitive.

    For us, driving/shopping aside, it does take a bit more time to do a raw diet. But it might be different for bigger doggies like your's. With Luna, we're always having to cut up the meat/bones, because whole pieces are too much for her. With dogs the like of Zeus, there'd be little need to cut up pieces. One could just toss him a cornish hen or a couple of chicken leg quarters once a day and be done with it. (must have liver too! It's the best multivitamin for a dog)

    But of course, each dog owner's situation is different, and each dog owner is the judge of works for his/her family. Although we're nowhere near experts, you can feel free to ask us questions. We're real live people, as opposed to a soul-less raw feeding FAQ page.

    (BTW, I didn't know that you were allowed to divulge a woman's weight like that ;) When she said they weighed the same, I figured the number would be around the century mark.)

  • Headmistress, zookeeper

    Well, she doesn't know what I divulged.=) And she's incredibly muscular from hauling hay bales and slinging dogs around at the shelter. I would have pegged her considerably under the century mark myself, just from how tiny she looks.

    We've discussed this at home in regard to self-defense. We figure she actually has the strongest chance of physically fighting of an attacker because she has the element of surprise- looking so tiny, frail, and petite as she does. And having watched her back down a two thousand pound horse, I think a would-be attacker would be in for a Serious and most Unpleasant Surprise.