After using the same starter menu for a while you probably are wondering what else you can do with raw feeding and since you know variety can prevent boredom, allergies and other intolerances it’s time to change some things up!
Once we get in a routine it can be scary to change it, but your companion will be thanking you for the new sensory stimulation and it may allow you take advantage of new sources of meat from sales or during hunting season.
Muscle meat makes up 80% of your companion’s batches and meals and is one of the easiest menu modifiers. Outside of the difference in specific nutrients between protein sources boneless meat and muscle organs is simply meat. You can replace chicken with beef or a mixture of turkey, duck and venison. The possibilities are endless!
In general, it is best to use more muscle meats such as thigh meat or other meat on the body versus non secreting muscle meats like gizzards. Although there is no specific percentage of ingredients outside of the 80% meat 10% organs and the 10% bone requirements, a general guideline I follow is:
6% raw egg
One protein to be aware of especially when it comes to cats is rabbit. Rabbit is a very lean meat with the lowest taurine content. If you modify with rabbit make sure there is more taurine dense meat in the mixture as well such as thigh meat and/or heart to make up for the taurine content.
Organ meats are very similar to muscle meats. They are pretty interchangeable with other organs as well. Remember at least 5% of the 10% organ requirement MUST be liver, but the remainder can be a different secreting organ like kidney or a combination of secreting organs.
Bone will be the most complicated modifier simply because each bone in the body and from species to species has a different bone to meat ratio. The meat on the bone is always added to the muscle meat content. Luckily there is a list compiled of meat to bone ratios used in raw feeding. In addition, if you do not want to do the math many sources including The Nutrition Code offer calculators and menus that figure everything out for you!
In order to figure out how much bone and meat make up a raw meaty bone, simply weigh the raw meaty bone than multiple by the percentage of bone in that piece to get the bone content. The remaining will be meat. Add the meat to your 80% meat category and do the same for the bone except to the bone category. Modify your menu accordingly to these numbers.
An 11 lb cat eating 3% of his weight requires 0.53 oz of bone and 4.22 oz of meat per day. If that cat gets chicken necks with skin as raw meaty bones, we will find each neck is on average 1.45 oz and made up of 64% meat and 36% bone.
1.45 oz chicken neck x 64% meat= 0.93 oz of meat
1.45 oz chicken neck x 36% bone= 0.52 oz of bone
Given these numbers this cat stills needs 3.29 oz of muscle meat from meat and non-secreting organs such as gizzards and heart. He also needs 0.01 oz of bone which could either be considered negligible given that the neck’s weight is an average or balanced across the week.
Modifying menus can actually be a lot of fun! After you get used to a starter menu and learning how to prepare meals based on one protein source you can branch out to more proteins, organs from different animals and even a variety of raw meaty bones.
I love menu creation and tend to create themes for example the Pleasant Poultry Menu made up of all turkey and chicken. Other menus I have created are color coded for different days all meaty bones one day, meat and organs a few other days and just meat the rest of the days. You can switch it up however you like it or you can check out the menus we have available. Simply plug in your companion’s weight and percent you want to be feed then the rest is done for you!
Modifying your menus shouldn’t be scary. It can be fun and rewarding as your companions dig into a new meal! There are so many options for switching it up from changes in protein source to trying a different and stimulating raw meaty bone.