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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
 
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Manual grinders

Hi all

I realize this may be a silly question and I think I already know the answer, but I'll ask anyway...

I am a big advocate of raw feeding and did it with my dog up until he passed away. I have switched all four of my cats to canned food and loved the results I have seen, and want to move on to feeding them raw. Two of my cats go absolutely ape over raw meat so I know it wouldn't take much effort to transition all of them over to raw.

So now, I'm stuck on the issue of a meat grinder. Right now, cash is tight and I just can't afford one of the electric grinders that can handle bones and probably won't be able to afford one for some time (My husband is the only one working; I'm a full-time student trying to get into nursing school). I've read about substitution recipes that you can use without bones, but that it isn't good for them in the long-term.

My question is...would it be impossible to grind bones with a manual grinder? I've never used one and have no idea how hard they would be to crank.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 02:10 PM
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Re: Manual grinders

I recently transitioned 14 of my 15 cats to raw (actually, they get Evo dry in the morning and raw at night). I, too. would like an electric grinder for bone grinding, but can't afford one. I considered a manual grinder, too, and was told that a heavy manual grinder could handle bones. Then I thought about the hassle of disassembling and cleaning the grinder every day, so I chose a different option.

I use chicken necks to add bone to the cats' raw meal, so I just cut the necks into small pieces. Five or six of my cats will crunch up the pieces on their own, which I figure is the best option for teeth cleaning, anyway. Most of the other cats will only eat crushed bone, so I use a mallet to smash them (the bones, not the cats ... though there are moments ...). A couple of the cats refuse to eat even smashed bones, little turkey butts! But that's a whole different issue.

Anyhow, I think you might find a kitchen mallet to be an easier option than a grinder, and if you're really lucky, your cats will be bone crunchers who won't even need their bones smashed.

Laurie
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Manual grinders

LOL at the "there are moments..." comment!

I have tried chicken necks and chicken feet with my really aggressive meat eater, and bless his heart he really tried to give it a go. He dragged it around, looked at it, slapped it with his paw, circled it (as if would be different on the other side), nibbled on it, and finally gave up and left it laying on the kitchen floor.

The mallet idea occurred to me, but I think I would rather just make a big batch of food to freeze and have ground up bones in it. I think it would go over better with my kids, at least at first. I appreciate the input and I am glad that someone has told you that a manual grinder might be do-able.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 03:31 PM
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Re: Manual grinders

I tossed a few whole chicken necks on a towel on my kitchen floor to see what the cats would do, and they did pretty much the same thing as your boy: licking, swatting, circling, nibbling, dragging, then ultimately giving up. They have a much easier time with cut up chicken necks than with whole ones. I've never tried chicken feet.

Manual grinders often show up at Goodwill, Salvation Army, and thrift shops. You should be able to pick one up for around $5.00, so you won't be out much if it doesn't work to grind bones.

Laurie
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 12:44 AM
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Re: Manual grinders

They grind bones. When I ground my food I use to do whole chickens. Just took a little bit of elbow grease.

Here is a pic of me doing bones using a universal #3 with the smallest grinding plate. Kinda hard to tell it was bones going through it. But the stuff coming out is whiter than all meat would look.


Here is some grinding plates
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Manual grinders

Awesome! Hey, my arms could use a workout anyway.

My cats thank you. Especially Gianni, who needs to be locked in the bedroom when I prepare chicken because he tries to steal it off of the counter. He'll be in heaven when I switch.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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Re: Manual grinders

This grinder was recommended on a raw food site and isn't too expensive. I've used it about 20 times grinding about 20lbs of chickens thighs each time without a single problem.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/ ... 6989_36989
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Manual grinders

Thank you!

This is actually pretty similar to another model I was looking at earlier, but it's not as pricey. After some discussion with my husband tonight, we decided to start the cats on a raw diet without ground bones for now (with calcium supplement, of course) and buy a good grinder after Christmas in January and start using real bone then. It doesn't hurt that my husband has been wanting a good meat grinder for about a year now to make homemade sausage with.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 09:16 AM
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Re: Manual grinders

Quote:
Originally Posted by rivernuts
This grinder was recommended on a raw food site and isn't too expensive. I've used it about 20 times grinding about 20lbs of chickens thighs each time without a single problem.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/ ... 6989_36989
I too have that grinder and I can vouch for it. It grinds thigh and leg bones from chickens without any problems. If there is a downside, it is loud. But Michelle, if you and your husband do decide to get this grinder in the future, it will be money well spent and you will be happy with it.

edit: Here is the same meat grinder on eBay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/2-4-HP-Electric-Mea ... 0315958324

If you or your husband bid on eBay, this may be worth a shot, especially if you can win it for 30-40 dollars. Shipping is what it is because it is a heavy item.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Manual grinders

That's what I though too. I watched a video on You Tube of an electric grinder in action and I thought..."that's the way to go!"

The link you posted to the Sam Baere grinder on Ebay is actually the exact one that I had been eyeballing, but I had seen one with a "Buy it now" price. Bidding sounds like a good idea if I can save some $$!

Now I'm spooked about raw feeding though. Someone build my confidence here...when I fed my dog raw it wasn't rocket science. But I've been looking at another forum and I have been seeing things that make it seem like an exact science for cats; that the phosphorus levels must be calculated for different types of meat to balance the calcium ratio, or that if you feed too much weight-bearing bones that you'll throw off calcium levels, etc. I don't want to harm my cats in any way. Is there any one perfect recipe out there for someone just starting off? I have this one:

http://www.catnutrition.org/recipes.php

Thanks, everyone, for all of your help.
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