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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks to the GREAT economy, we haven't had any work in going on a month now and the dogs are running low on food. I have been investigating raw for about four months now, hinting around more and more to my husband to help him understand how it works. We have been worring soooo much about feeding the dogs and the other day my husband came up with this idea. We have absolutly hundreds and hundreds of rabbits and squirrels. He is shooting rabbits, cutting off the heads and skinning them and feeding them to the dogs whole. Squirrels too, to mix it up. They absolutly LOVE them! If they do well with it, we will keep them on it. It's better than no food! I just hope they will do OK on it.
 

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How long have they been eating this way?

If it were me I would gut them as well, saving the innards for another day. That way all they get at first would be meat and bone. And that is what we tell people to start out with (usually chicken though).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I suggested gutting to my husband, but he feels like it would be hard to do without pulling out the organs as well. They did have chicken about two or three months ago, and they did fine on it. We just don't have anymore, and NO money right now. Our family is helping us out.
 

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The idea is to restrict organs from the diet in the beginning because it can cause diarrhea. However, if they have been eating like this a few days and still seem fine there should be no reason to remove them now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I also wondered about the heads? We tossed them away not being sure whether to feed them or not. Can they eat rabbit heads, or no?
 

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Gutting the animal means to remove all internal organs. Organs are very rich and can cause diarrhea and vomiting in a newly swithed dog. Organs are not added into the diet until 2-3 months into feeding raw.

The heads should be just fine to feed, our dogs have never had a problem with eating the heads off of rabbits. But if you are worried about them eating the heads, just don't feed them. Heads generally don't have much in the way of nutrition in the first place. Brain is primarily made of fat and fibrous connective tissue and there is not much muscle meat on the skull.

How are they handling these rabbits and squirrels right now?

And I think it's awesome that you have an endless supply of these animals. I would love to have what you have. And technically you are feeding a more natural diet than most raw feeders here do!!!
 

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Good for you for using available resources!

My concern would be with the parasite loads in wild rabbits and squirrels. Any way you could freeze them for a couple weeks before feeding?

I wouldn't waste the heads either, the brains are a good source of organ, as are the eyes. Let your dogs decide what is edible and what isn't. Fresh rabbit ears are a FAVORITE around here. Wish I had a source for them after I used up the ones I had.

Anyone in your family fish? Fish would be a healthy add-in for your dogs as well. Also, don't turn down "free" food on the highway. If you see fresh deer, call your fish and game and ask if you can pick it up. Venison is a wonderful red meat.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Gutting the animal means to remove all internal organs. Organs are very rich and can cause diarrhea and vomiting in a newly swithed dog. Organs are not added into the diet until 2-3 months into feeding raw.

The heads should be just fine to feed, our dogs have never had a problem with eating the heads off of rabbits. But if you are worried about them eating the heads, just don't feed them. Heads generally don't have much in the way of nutrition in the first place. Brain is primarily made of fat and fibrous connective tissue and there is not much muscle meat on the skull.

How are they handling these rabbits and squirrels right now?

And I think it's awesome that you have an endless supply of these animals. I would love to have what you have. And technically you are feeding a more natural diet than most raw feeders here do!!!
Thanks! Three of our six are LOVING the rabbits! And their stools look soooo good! One of them has always had digestive problems bad, and his stools are now small and perfect. I'm so happy. I was able to go to the store and found a good bit of muscle meat and bones on sale, so I picked up a variety of that also. Wayne finally got a job to come through, so along with the rabbits and squirrel I will be able to mix it up. I think I may be feeding to much, though to the larger dobes. I bought about $70 of marked down meat, and went through it in two days. I'm not real sure how much to give them, I'm just trying to make sure they get a variety.
 

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Feed 2-3% of their ideal body weight per day. So for example a 60 pound dog should get 1.2-1.8 pounds of meat/bone per day. This is just a guideline because all dogs are different and may need their daily amount changed due to increased activity or vise versa.

We have about 330 pounds of dog to feed (we have 4) and go through 7-10 pounds of meat per day. Sometimes more and sometimes less.

Just keep an eye on body condition and go from there. Feed more if they are looking a bit ribby and you can see their backbone and hip bones stickin out and feed less if you can see at least the last two ribs and a good tucked tummy and trim waist.
 

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That is such an awesome idea!!! :biggrin: What is your husband using to shoot them with? I'm wondering if something like that would be an option around here. LOL
 

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The only problem with that is rabbit season in Alabama ended February 28th and doesn't resume until October 1st.
I would advise anyone considering this to look up your local seasons and bag limits (usually plentiful for rabbits) and get the proper licensing.

There is no season or bag limit on nutria, beaver or groundhog in AL. They would also provide a bit more meat.
 
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