Thursday, March 18, 2010

Conveniently Packaged RMB

For pet owners who are new to raw-meaty-bones, learning what to feed, and how much, can be a challenge.  Where do I start?  How much organ meat, how many meaty hard bones, how much edible bone, and so forth? 

Yahoo groups, rawfeeding, rawpet, rawfed, and others, have tens of thousands of members discussing these questions.  "Newbies" have lots of questions and get guidance from more experienced rawfeeders on these sites.

I decided to package weekly menus for cats and dogs of various weights and to offer them through the local raw-meaty-bones co-op. 

I hope that pet owners, who have been reluctant to try the rmb diet, will feel more comfortable serving pre-selected portions to their pets.

The rule of thumb is to feed pets 1 to 3 % of their ideal adult weight daily or about 15% per week.  Menus are balanced across a week, not a day.  Weekly menus include muscle meats, organ meats, and meaty bones in sizes and portions suitable for pets that vary in ideal adult weight from 5 to 80 pounds.

To the wholesale cost of ingredients, I added packaging costs (about $.50/ week) and a small markup for my time to cut, weigh, and package meals.  Final cost of packaged rmb is $2.20 to $2.40 per pound.  This price compares favorably with local prices for premium kibble and packaged, raw mince.

Another experiment in packaged rmb is being conducted by a brave New Zealand veterinarian, Lyn Thomson.  Her clinic and shop can be visited at:   

Dr. Thomson gets meat for her rmb packages from government-owned lands that are hunted to remove pest species, such as wild hare, rabbit, and ostrich.  Meals also include domestic animals, such as chickens, pork, and lamb (plentiful in NZ).  Here are typical menu items:

Rabbit legs, Rabbit saddle, Hare shoulder, Hare legs, Chicken carcass, Lamb brisket, Green tripe, Heart/tongue, Pilchards, Ostrich mince, Pigs trotters.
Dr. Thomson's Raw Essentials packaged foods are gaining popularity in the Auckland area and are now available at some pet shops and other veterinary clinics.

Feeding pets minced, raw meats and ground bones have long been popular in Australia and New Zealand.  Not so in the US. There is no history of raw feeding in the US on which to build a rmb diet. 

A typical Kona Raw menu includes:
Beef neck bones, Beef soup bones, Beef skirt meat, Beef cheek meat, Beef heart, Beef liver, Beef kidneys. Green tripe, Chicken quarters, Chicken giblets, Turkey legs and wings, and Pork trotters, and Pork butt.

Kona Raw rmb packages have a more limited range of species (4) than the NZ diet (7).  I wish we had access to more game.  If you hunt wild pig, turkey, or game birds, I would love to share some with our pets.

Kona Raw packages do not include any minced meats or ground bones.  I use mince only for puppies from three to four weeks of age and will provide mince to other breeders for young puppies and kittens.  By the time puppies have teeth and some jaw strength, they should be fed chicken necks and wings.

It will be most interesting to see if some pet owners, who have not fed rmb, will try the package menus.