Turkey livers for the Frankenprey diet
Today, we will focus our raw-feeder attention on the detoxifying superfood---the liver! This is, indeed, Nature's multivitamin. In the Frankenprey model, prey livers fulfill 5% of the complete diet. Livers are commonly sold in grocery stores and aren't exotic organs like lungs and thymuses. Still, don't be cheap with livers. Make sure the livers you purchase come from hormone-free, antibiotic-free, free-range animals that are treated humanely. I am, thankfully, able to purchase organic chicken livers. Our local butcher shop offers beef and calf livers. As I stated in an earlier article, our local butcher shop strictly adheres to the "no preservatives, no hormones, no antibiotics" principle, and we appreciate it immensely.
Livers are either gobbled down or turned away from. Your carnivore will do one of the two. When it comes to the nutrient content in livers, it's easier to name what livers don't have than what they do. Livers are full of B vitamins, choline, vitamin A, and selenium. When feeding raw organs, you shouldn't have to supplement diets with B vitamins. Livers are full of B-12! Animals that are diagnosed as being anemic can easily be treated with a raw diet. While there are numerous causes of anemia, common types are due to a lack of folate, B-12, and/or iron. Beef livers have triple the B-12 content when compared to beef kidneys and over 15X the B-12 amount when compared to beef muscle meat. The calcium:phosphorus ratio in livers is about 81:1, showing the importance of feeding bones for calcium requirements. Livers are detoxifying. They don't store toxins; they get rid of them.
Chicken livers for the Frankenprey diet
When comparing beef and chicken livers, there are differences worth mentioning. A 28g slice of beef liver contains 8881IU of vitamin A, 56% of riboflavin, 329% of B-12, 200% of copper, and 35% of cholesterol. In comparison, a 28g slice of chicken liver contains 3732IU of vitamin A, 33% of riboflavin, 79% of B-12, 7% of copper, and 53% of cholesterol. The three important ones to watch for are vitamin A, copper, and B-12.
Vitamin A toxicity is uncommon, but can occur. Remember that other organs you are feeding contain vitamin A and because this is a fat-soluble vitamin and not excreted from the body readily as water-soluble vitamins, accumulation is a potential risk. Copper toxicity is also more common than copper deficiency and too much copper is dangerous. 28g of beef liver contains 200% of daily copper versus 7% for chicken livers. These two reasons should sway you to feed more chicken livers than beef livers. When feeding raw, B-12 should be plentiful, so the fact that beef liver offers a little over 4X B-12 than chicken livers should not be an issue. I'm not saying that you should feed poultry livers over beef livers indefinitely, but it's important to be aware of the differences in organs from various prey. It may be best to feed meats and organs of animals that resemble prey and ones that predators would hunt in the wild. Quail, chicken, turkey, rabbit, and duck are closer to prey than cow, buffalo, and venison. I doubt domesticated cats are able to take down a buffalo or a cow alone.
Feeding livers may lead to diarrhea or softer-than-normal stool, so monitor that and reduce amounts given as needed. Other prey livers exist, but we have not tried anything else besides chicken, turkey, calf, and beef livers. I can't really discuss those we haven't tried until we experiment with them.
Your takeaway: Livers fulfill 5% of the Frankenprey diet, so they should be fed on a regular basis. They are detoxifying organs and due to the nutritional content, considered Nature's superfood and multivitamin. Prey livers are full of B vitamins, choline, iron, and selenium. It is best to select organs of prey animals that will be encountered in the wild. Variety is key, but choose more meats and organs from birds, small rodents, and rabbits instead of beef, venison, and lamb. Do offer the larger preys at times, but more than not, feed the hunters what they would hunt. Like others organs, livers are high in phosphorus and low in calcium, so it is important that the diet consists of 10% bones.
When to feed: We feed the Frankenprey diet over a week's worth of meals. For us, we feed livers once or twice a week. Some purchased mixes may contain livers and we account for that.
How much to feed: The amount to feed depends on the animal's weight. A carnivore should eat 2-3% of body weight worth of food per day.
A 10lb hunter should eat 0.25lbs (4oz) of food per day to maintain weight. This equates to 2oz per meal if feeding twice daily. This is 28oz per week.
5% of 28oz is 1.4oz. So, a 10lb animal should eat 1.4oz of livers per week. Either feed 1.4oz once a week or 0.7oz twice a week. Of course, if you feed twice a week, you'll add additional Frankenprey components so that each meal is 2oz.