Although there are many forms of raw food especially in regards to commercial raw (dehydrated, freeze dried, meat logs, patties and bites) this article will go over models and methods for home prepared raw meals. Let’s first distinguish between B.A.R.F or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food and PMR or prey model raw. B.A.R.F is not biologically appropriate raw feeding despite the name. It includes not only meat, organs and bones but fruits, veggies, grains and supplementation in larger quantities that may be found in the stomach contents of prey animals. A Prey Model Raw diet is species appropriate because it only includes meat, organs and bone excluding carbohydrates and supplements.
There are two models of raw feeding under Prey Model Raw. This includes Whole Prey and Franken Prey. Whole Prey is providing whole prey animals such as whole chickens, whole mice, whole fish etc. as a meal. Franken Prey is feeding various parts of multiple animals to your companion such as meat from a rabbit, chicken wing as bone and beef liver as organ. Many raw feeders add more variety than this in a single meal but regardless of the ingredients the meal needs to add up to 80% muscle meat, 10% secreting organs and 10% appropriate and edible bone. The ultimate goal in which ever model you use, is that the meal adds up to the ideal 80% meat, 10% organ and 10% bone ratio which was determined as the most common ratio found in whole prey. Raw feeders can mix and match models for variety.
In addition to models under PMR there are different methods of preparation.
This is a pretty simple method. Raw feeders provide whole prey to their companion which is complete with meat, organs and bone. Whole Prey is the most ideal method as it provides much more instinctual stimulation like plucking fur and feathers, ripping and tearing. It may be uncomfortable for us humans to witness this but our animals love it naturally. Whole prey also helps massage and strengthen the gums, muscles and jaw while allowing cleaning action on the teeth. It should be noted that It is generally taboo to feed live prey as this is cruel to the prey. We acknowledge that our companions eat these prey in the wild, but for the sake of humanity and kindness to other animals, live prey is not accepted. Many raw food suppliers, butchers, farmers and other sources often have pre butchered or frozen whole prey for sale that raw feeders can purchase.
This method is very similar to whole prey except instead of one whole single animal, meat, organs and bones are sourced from various prey animals. When using various parts of animals 80% meat, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs and 10% bone is used to simulate a whole prey animal. The meat is also chunked into large pieces. This method also massages the gums, strengthens the gums, muscles and teeth while cleaning simultaneously. A majority of raw feeders use this method as lots of variety is easier to achieve, ingredients can be less expensive and raw feeders aren’t as uncomfortable as with feeding whole prey.
Grinding Whole/Franken Prey
This method is easier compared to the Franken Pray Model. While you chop up the meat and organs with Franken Prey, this method just requires the raw feeder to throw everything in a grinder. Besides having to purchase a powerful grinder, this method isn’t always as beneficial as the other two. Ground meals do not massage the gums, strengthen the jaw or clean the teeth. It is recommended if you are going to grind your meals to not grind the bone and provide raw meaty bones with each meal to help with dental and oral health. Furthermore grinding increases the surface area of meat and although our companions can handle the bacterial load it not only increases bacteria but exposes oxygen sensitive nutrients to depletion.
As you can see there are many options for raw feeding in regards to methods of preparation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying any or even mix and matching these methods. As you gain more experience with creating your companion’s meals you will learn what works best for you and your companions.