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Our First Experience with a Commercial Electrical Raw Meat Grinder for Making Homemade Raw Pet Food for Cats and Dogs

Category: Raw Feeding
August 24, 2015

Our First Experience with a Commercial Electrical Raw Meat Grinder for Making Homemade Raw Pet Food for Cats and Dogs | Homemade raw pet food for cats and dogs is easy, healthy, and incredibly fresh. Just start with a commercial grinder and you're on your way. |

We finally had our first experience with a commercial raw meat grinder and grinding our own raw food for the cats and dogs. Our previously depended-on food processor is happy to retire and not see another raw piece of meat in its lifetime.

Before I give a rundown of our first experience, please note that future posts will have images and videos of us grinding raw meals. Since this was our first time, we needed to familiarize ourselves with the equipment, read the manual, use a grinder for the first time, and work with over 90lbs of various meats, bones, and organs; all while the furry dudes were sharking around nearby. Understandably, you can sympathize with the lack of imagery.

After careful thought and consideration, we decided to purchase a Weston Pro-Series #22 commercial grinder. It has a 1HP, 750-watt motor, weighs over 60lbs, and is pretty much a beast all around.

First, we removed all the grinder components from the manufacturer box and washed everything. We towel dried and assembled the grinder according to the manual directions. Ready for action.

Our grind/Frankenprey recipe for this mix contained the following:

Homemade Raw Frankenprey Grind Recipe

How Much Used?*

Raw hormone-free, antibiotic-free lamb kidneys

5% of the entire raw mix

Raw hormone-free, antibiotic-free beef livers

5% of the entire raw mix

Raw hormone-free, antibiotic-free calf/veal hearts

5% of the entire raw mix**

Raw hormone-free, antibiotic-free WHOLE chickens

85% of the entire raw mix***

Distilled water for moisture and mixing

As needed to make raw mix (consistency between soupy [too much] and sticky [not enough])

*The Frankenprey raw diet follows a whole prey guideline as animals would eat in the wild. Prey contains 80% muscle meat (hearts included), 10% bones, 5% secreting organs (pancreas, lungs, spleen, kidneys), and 5% livers, for a total of 100%. The Frankenprey raw diet mimics this by piecing raw meals together from various components---meat, organs, and bones.

**Raw hearts are part of the meat category in the Frankenprey raw diet. Hearts must be fed to animals as they contain not only beneficial nutrients, but are high in the essential amino acid, taurine. Be generous with raw hearts (but don't overdo it; follow the guidelines closely) as handling, freezing, grinding, and cooking denature taurine. We added raw hearts to account for 5% of the muscle meat category. You may look at it this way: 5% livers + 5% secreting organs + 10% bones + (75% muscle meat + 5% hearts) = 100%. We feel secure in adding 10-15% of various raw hearts to our raw mixes.

***Whole chickens will contain muscle meat and almost all bones (minus the head and feet). The Frankenprey diet warrants the use of 80% muscle meat and 10% bones. When purchasing a whole chicken, the bones and muscle meat are in proportion (total of 80% + 10% = 90%).

We wholeheartedly believe that what you put in is what you get out. This applies to life, food, relationships, etc. In the case of raw feeding, always choose hormone-free, antibiotic-free, non-GMO, steroid-free raw and companies/manufacturers that have free-range farms, humane treatment of animals, and only source raw food from within the United States. Raw organs accumulate and store the good nutrients and the bad chemicals and inorganic minerals; feed as natural and organic as possible.

Before all else, inspect the raw food. Make sure the organs are clean and smell fresh. If unsure of how to detect foul raw meat, click here. Clean the raw chickens---check for odor and slime, rinse the chicken under cold water, remove the fatty skin from the torso (leave skin on drumsticks and wings), and dismember the chicken into pieces small enough to fit into the grinder neck. Once all parts and organs have been checked and cut into small enough parts, it's time to start. We used an incredibly large stainless steel bowl to hold our prepped raw meat/organs. This way, when the grinder was ready for more, everything was just a reach away.

Our First Experience with a Commercial Electrical Raw Meat Grinder for Making Homemade Raw Pet Food for Cats and Dogs | Homemade raw pet food for cats and dogs is easy, healthy, and incredibly fresh. Just start with a commercial grinder and you're on your way. |

You will need a large, clean bucket for mixing the raw grinds. Once you know how many lbs. of organs, bones, and meat you will need, all you do is send them through the grinder and watch your homemade mix accumulate in the bucket. Personally, we use a very large, BPA-free storage container for mixing.

We used the 4.5mm grinder plate. The 7mm plate holes are too large and the raw mix will have too big of sharp bone pieces. There is a BIG difference between animals eating whole raw prey and mixing grinds that have sharp bone pieces. With whole prey, the meal is carefully and slowly chewed; rodent and small bird bones are also small and easily digested. With a raw grind mix, animals lick up and swallow this quickly, so sharp bones will cause potentially harmful dangers. If making a raw grind, the bone pieces must be small. Use the 4.5mm grinder plate.

Once everything has been ground up, add enough water to create moisture and better texture. If the homemade mix is too sticky, add more water. Don't make it too soupy. Then, mix…mix…mix. Once equally incorporated, get your freezer containers ready and start loading up the raw food for freezer storage. We use freezer-safe, BPA-free freezer containers for our raw storage. Each container houses enough raw food for two meals, so you'll just need to figure out how large your containers should be based on how many cats and dogs you have.

The grinder is awesome. You may decide to purchase and use whole raw chickens, but they will need to be skinned and dismembered. That took the most time for us. The advantage to this is that bones and muscle meat are in proportion---good for beginners just starting out as raw feeders. Another option is to use the Frankenprey diet method and calculate what you need in bones, meats, and organs and purchase parts to equal a whole. Of course, amounts of livers, organs, and hearts are easily calculated. For bones/muscle meat, you may either purchase a variety of drumsticks, breasts, wings, and thighs (that pretty much makes the whole animal---you may also want to buy a couple of backs and necks). That's it. The entire chicken. If you don't want to play butcher for the day, I suggest buying parts.

Our First Experience with a Commercial Electrical Raw Meat Grinder for Making Homemade Raw Pet Food for Cats and Dogs | Homemade raw pet food for cats and dogs is easy, healthy, and incredibly fresh. Just start with a commercial grinder and you're on your way. |

Three things we will try next grinding-time around:

1. Will try the 7mm plate for organs and meat only (hearts, kidneys, livers, and chicken breast) and use the 4.5mm plate for any parts containing bones.

2. Will purchase Frankenprey parts---breasts, thighs, wings, mix of backs and bones, and drumsticks---to avoid time-consuming dismemberment of whole chickens.

3. Grinding is A LOT easier if the meat/organs are semi-frozen and halfway thawed out. Trust me.

Tips for your grinding days:

  • You will save a lot of time by purchasing cut up parts only. Of course, you must know how much of each protein part to purchase to account for variety. See above.
  • Select butcher shops and grocery store meat departments will slice whole chickens into halves, quarters, or eighths for you.  Make sure to ask what is used to clean the machinery. You don't want to spend money on organic or natural chickens and contaminate them with grocery store chloride/ammonia cleaning solutions. Yuck.
  • You will need extra supplies, besides a commercial grinder, for making homemade raw food. This will depend on how much raw food you are making and for how long (days, weeks, months, etc.). If you purchase the commercial #22, likely you have large dogs, many cats, or a mix in between. You will need some supplies. Click here for our list of raw diet essentials.
  • Don't make too much raw food. If adding new proteins or organs into a homemade mix, make enough for a week or so to try it out. You don't want to make 2 months-worth of raw food and it is rejected. For example, ours like calf kidneys, but aren't big fans of lamb kidneys. We suggest making enough for a single month. The homemade raw food stays fresh and will be less prone to freezer-burn while being stored in the freezer.
  • Clean and store the grinder properly. Click here for more information on how to keep your grinder working effectively and efficiently for years to come.

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