So, since we are raising our own meat sources, once we start producing meat that we can utilize, instead of breeding stock, I want to possibly switch things up a bit for variety. It's still important I keep things somewhat simple, because of Patches, for a couple reasons, 1.) she's extremely picky, and 2.) she will not be able to chew bone or large pieces of muscle because of very poor teeth, I have to cut everything up for her very small. She's getting better as far as trying new things, as long as I keep it within the same type of smells she is used to. If I throw anything to different in there, she'll ignore it.
So I have some questions. I'm going to be staying with rabbit and chicken as my protein sources. I have the rabbit, and a source for pasture raised organic chickens for $2.00 a lb. I was thinking of maybe trying this type of feeding:
Breakfast will be ground mix, it's the feeding Dave does, and it will just be easier for him. Will feeding ground with bone only in the morning, give them enough bone in their diet? I won't be able to add bone in anywhere else, Patches has a hard time with tougher muscle meat, let alone bone.
We just bought a grinder, and will be making our own grind mix. I wonder if I can withhold the organs from the mix, and feed them separate, as a meal? It gives them variety, and I'm finding they do get a bit excited when I give them special things. I'm wondering if it would also assure me they are getting what they need a bit more? I feed 4x a day, where would I fill in with just organs? What I would probably withhold from the ground mix is the heart, liver, and kidneys??
Sorry this is so late, I have been stupid busy at work and exhausted when I get home (end of the month!).
For Patches, can you not cut the pieces very small? We had to do this at first too. Lack of jaw strength. Basically small enough they could swallow them whole. Grinding degrades nutrients in a way just chopping does not. If this is too much work, I understand, just a suggestion.
We still offer ground bone often because bones small enough for the cats are pricey (quail/rabbit/chicken ribs/necks - which my cats refuse).
The problem with feeding the ground stuff to everyone with bones, is that how are you POSITIVE they are all getting 5-10%? I agree, Patches should stay on the ground bone.. but that's no reason everyone should.
Here's what I would do.. I'd grind bones for mostly Patches.. and have everyone else able to eat smallish chicken/rabbit bones. I'd do a ground mixture of MEAT ONLY as well, for Dave to feed in the AM.
Every other meal, I would offer chopped pieces of meat (for the three that can eat chunks well, and smaller chopped pieces/ground for Patches). As for organs, I would also keep these to meal feedings. For the Three Chewers I would just start offering smallish pieces with a boney meal, until you get them to a point at which you can give them whole meals of only organ (like we do). For Patches, if you don't think she could chew the organ, I would hide it in some ground bone after cutting it up real tiny.
We have had to do various different things for different cats/dogs. Goose (chihuahua) wouldn't chew meat at first.. so I had to cut his meals up real tiny then gradually give them bigger. My 17yo cat gets 5% or less of bone, so he gets more meat than the others, also more fatty cuts. Softer bones. Our youngest gets the leaner cuts, and tougher bones as she can get through ANYTHING.