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Complete Food: Not for the squeamish

mhikl
January 7th, 2011, 09:37 PM
Are Mice the Perfect Meal to Feed Our Pets?

My proposal takes the worry out of feeding your pet a nutritiously complete BARF diet, and is a good example of how being practical makes life so much simpler.

I was remembering Farley Mowat’s book, Never Cry Wolf, which was made into an equally entertaining movie for those who don’t read. Mowat’s thesis was that Wolves, our dog’s far-off grandpappy’s, don’t just take down caribou or other large animals for supper but get much of their nutrition from rodents and hares.

Now think about it. When we try to replicate the natural diet of the wolf or tiger for our furry four-legged friends, BARF style, we know that variety is to our pet’s advantage, health wise. All this expects determined planning but all my determined planning is taken up with planing my own way through this life. Wouldn’t it be more practical to go fast food by feeding whole little rodent critters to our larger pet critters safe in the assumption that they are getting all the nutritional evidence they need for healthy living. Sure, we would still toss them some sardines and eggs, the odd bone or apple or chunk of broccoli, but for the most part, a mouse form noes to tail tip including fur and eyeballs should provide all the nutrients necessary for their healthy survival; according to Mowat. I may even write him if he is still alive by the time I would find time to get round to it.

I have been doing my research and it seems that from the one source (sited below for the goooggly-handicapped) I found (and got bored) your average rodent—mouse, rabbit, hamster, (there are always adds for free hamsters in the local papers) and rat–houses about 5 calories per gram of dead weight. Cows do about the same but are more difficult to get through the door. And mice are kind of creepy and easier to waylay. Cows have those big brown soft eyes and a skull not so easily cracked.

For the curious, Farley took to eating his mice and lemmings to see if health could be sustained on such a diet, though I believe he included some strong beverage when he undertook this experiment. He also cooked his little meals and, I believe, de-furred them. He did consume the tails, which I believe are little storehouses of vitamins and minerals.

Now think of a mouse and its size. They are easily contained in wire hatches in the garage and all the wife has to do is toss them some grain and keep their water bottles filled. Their droppings fall through the wire floor and make great fertilizer for the petunias. I believe rodents need a bit of sunlight so a window view would keep them entertained as they fatten. I don’t know if they would take to a running wheel but it’s worth a try. They can all huddle together when the temperature drops, a savings to your heating costs.

Rabbits are easy to raise, I did this as a boy and they are quite cuddly but short in personality. Hamsters can be got for free as previously noted. Just don’t refer to them as feeders. Some people can be quite sensitive, even over hamsters. Rats have a bad name in Alberta so they don’t enter the picture.

Mice take about 3.5 months to mature to full size, so, for a steady supply you’d need about 12 cages labelled 1 to 12 or A to L if you have trouble with numbers. You would have a turn over rate of one cage every 10 days. The size of the cages would depend upon the size of your pet to contain the number of mice you would need for 10 days. An adult mouse weighs between 20 and 25 grams (100 to 125 calories) so you’d need to calculate how many calories pooch or kitty needs to determine the daily number of mice.

My corgi, for example should weigh about 12 kg and so should have 70 +(12 x 30) = 430 calories a day or about 4 mice. In leaner times, should there be a mouse scarcity, store bought meat, chicken, fish and hard boiled eggs and shells can be used to supplement the shortage.

Rabbits are another story. They are bigger rodents and would be better adapted to diet of a larger dog. And rabbits taste good so any extra could grace your Sunday supper table.

If you have a closed room with no escape or hiding crevices, a dog or cat can quickly learn to hunt when it is hungry and the chase may satisfy some of its unfulfilled atavistic urges.

All round, its a win-win situation for both your wallet and the dietary health of your pet.

Caloric value of various rodents
http://www.rodentpro.com/qpage_articles_03.asp

Calculating the daily caloric needs of a dog
http://www.smalldogsparadise.com/health-care/how-many-calories-does-my-dog-need-a-day/

pattymac
January 7th, 2011, 11:28 PM
Good post. I remember that movie or one that was similar about the wolves and the whole thing that they taking down all the large animals when in fact most of their diet was small rodents.

I suppose it would upset quite a few people, but it makes sense. I always wondered why I should feed my cats beef or venison or even lamb when that's not something they'd normally prey on. Actually they don't even really like those meats. They all prefer fish or chicken. Right now we're not really doing a raw diet for them, although the kitten I just found a few weeks ago made herself right at home with my dog's raw bones.

I suppose too, if you were to raise your own mice then you could ensure that they were disease free, same with rabbits although that may be a bit more of a challenge if you lived in the city with nosy neighbours!

14+kitties
January 8th, 2011, 12:29 AM
[B]Now think of a mouse and its size. They are easily contained in wire hatches in the garage and all the wife has to do is toss them some grain and keep their water bottles filled. Their droppings fall through the wire floor and make great fertilizer for the petunias.

I find this particular statement a tad bit condescending and insulting. I really feel if you are going to be making posts such as this you should find out what group of folks are going to be reading it. It may surprise you to find a large majority of our active members are female. I would say probably 90/10 ratio if not slightly more. So how about "the husband" seeing as he was the one who came up with the idea, toss these little mice or hamsters or rabbits or cows or whatever other animal you would like to have your dog hunt, some grain and keep their water bottles filled. :thumbs up
Really, the barf diet is about taking the time to make sure our pets get fed the best diet possible. The whole idea of it is so we are involved in our pets dietary needs. And realistically, how many of us have a spare "killing room"? I personally would not want to sit down and eat or watch TV or sleep in a room where I know my dog has just a short time before hunted and (hopefully) eaten all of whatever prey I have decided to feed that day.

mhikl
January 8th, 2011, 12:55 AM
I find this particular statement a tad bit condescending and insulting. . . . etc

Namaste, 14+kitties

My wife agrees with you totally and now I'm in the dog house, literally. Tonight it's Sadie and me on the chesterfield. (Last year I got her a real comfortable one for our first anniversary. Smartest buy I ever made.) Tomorrow I will get her flowers and chocolates and beg forgiveness. It's it toss up, but then I'll give her a foot massage. I know her weakness.

But really, those damned mice are creepy. And it is SHE who does them in when they invade her castle. She's like a vulture when she swings a broom. It's scary. Believe me, I know my place.

Please accept my sincere apologies. I know SHE will... eventually.

Cheers,
Mhikl

pbpatti
January 8th, 2011, 11:16 AM
I am taking your posts with "tongue in cheek" humor. I read your first post last night and giggled throughout trying to imagine Sasha chasing a little bitty mouse around a room for her dinner...nah I don't think she would go for it. I can hear her calling MOM what the heck is this, give me my dinner:crazy:

Hope your rest on the couch was comfortable. :D patti

mhikl
January 8th, 2011, 02:24 PM
. . . tr(ied) to imagine Sasha chasing a little bitty mouse around a room for her dinner...nah I don't think she would go for it.

Namaste, pbpatti

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but you have a scaredy-cat. I have a scaredy-dog. It’s all apart of habitual human interference (with kind intentions, of course). It took Sadie a day or two to get used to raw meat and bones. I’d given her the odd piece of raw hamburger or steak before, or a cooked pork bone (bad idea, I now know) but the first chicken neck took a lot of licking before she got down to chewing and that was an obvious learning experience for her in her deliberate and cautious approach to engagement. But by the third day, she could devour that chicken neck and be up for more before I could plant my behind in the chair.

I suspect it would be the same for Sasha and her mouse. Here is a story to support my point that habit warps nature’s plan.

I had an old neighbour who befriended and adopted a feral kitten by leaving his back door open, and inch by inch over many days, he moved the food dish until it ended up at the far end of the kitchen where it would sit until his passing. The cat was never a confident cat, except with her benefactor, but it took to its new home and eventually wouldn’t leave the house or go near the door when it was left wide open for her to explore the outdoors. Remember, she spent much of her early childhood there. He used cheap dry cat kibble to entice the kitten. Strangely, when he bought her the best tinned cuisine he could find she wouldn’t touch the stuff, preferring the cheap kibble he had used to entice her into his life. (Thinking of his kindness and perseverance always makes me take a moment to wonder.)

Your little one would probably get used to dispatching her own meal, but you might find it a little tougher. We all have our own little idiosyncrasies. I couldn’t dispatch a mouse if my wife’s life depended upon it. That’s why she does the deed, and one of the reasons I married her.

Cheers,
mhikl

PS When I get time, I'll tell you about my scaredy-dog. Quite a hoot.

pattymac
January 8th, 2011, 04:14 PM
Ya with my boys, I'd be expected to kill and skin the mouse. Now Noella would likely know what to do with it. Chop it up and cook it, make a nice gravy for it and they maybe they'd eat it. :D

pbpatti
January 8th, 2011, 04:31 PM
I do not feed raw but I have given Sasha raw fish (fresh caught trout) and she took one maybe two sniffs and gobbled it down, she also enjoys her turkey necks and gizzards. She would take to a raw diet very easily.

I am not confident enough to feed completely raw, and too darn lazy to study up on it...:o, heck I have enough trouble just feeding me good food. patti namaste to you also mhikl

mhikl
January 9th, 2011, 11:30 PM
With dogs, pattymac (like yer moniker), it’s easier to change their eating habits.

Most dogs, when it comes to any good feed, especially when hungry, are male in temperament. They get the picture pretty quickly, especially if they are starved, which translates as always.

But cats are strange birds. They’re royal princes and princesses and that’s their charm and character. And from what I can tell, why should they change. Just bother that big object who fills bowls with favourite chow and s/he’ll catch on to kitty's line. So they just up the purr a note and brush against the long legs a little firmer, and faster; and voila. A heart softens and kitty gets what she wants. Tried it on the wife but she’s a cat and can’t be changed. I’m a dog and have had to learn new trick to get a good meal.

A gf had a cat I really liked who we both referred to as the little scrag (I’m referring to the animal definition)—thin and unkempt. A lock of her soft long black hair stuck out here, another white piece there—just enough to say, “What! I combed five minutes ago.” Her name was Cleo. She’d always allowed me to picker her up but then, when she’d had enough, would turn to water and slip to the floor. There was no way to hold her. She could not be contained, which ultimately took her away. Now that’s attitude you have to respect. And I have heard of cats who would catch a mouse, play with it, let it go; catch it, etc. Never kill it. Why hurt your toy; any thoughts of turning it into supper, meh.

pbkpatti, we can send emails and attachments from here, eh? I just did up a summary of the BARF system for my cuz and her Japanese Bull dogs (can’t remember kind) but there is some info re cats and I could do a bit of research and add more. (I have been assuming you have a cat but when you used the word “gobble” I thought of dog.)

I can understand people’s trepidation (me too) but then it is so simple and obvious and after reading and discovering that the different sites are just replicates of the others I now have no fear.

Cat BARF is easier to follow, I suspect. Cats are truly carnivorous while dogs are omnivores which complicates the larder. And cats are an ancient breed who have stubbornly refused to relinquish their ways and culture and would prefer to dine, I am sure, at Chez Live and Frisky, The Fat Mouse, Tweet Per Se or the more down scale Ye Ol’ Jump ’n Pounce than the quick and cheap Carpet Mall.

I haven’t really looked at cat specific sites, but I shall be bold and predict that kippers (unsalted) or other small fish with intact guts, intact birds, mice and other small rodents and snakes would probably suffice. The inner bits, brains and eyeballs are probably lip-licking dreams of BARF cats and very important for complete health.

Namaste,
mhikl