Excellent points about industrial chickens, Gina.   You've hit on many of
the points what started me on the path to getting land in the country and
beginning to raise my OWN meat. (Another you didn't mention is that
home-raised meat is humanely killed while industrial birds are quite often
NOT).  While I don't raise my own chickens yet, I buy from local
pasture-raised sources when I can.... For the same reasons you outline.

Another source is a custom meat processor who processes animals for the
farmer.  I've found that they are often a good source of items such as
heart, liver, etc. that the farmer personally may not want.  

Finally, I'd like to offer another suggestion to those who are not afraid of
a challenge.  Contact beef ranchers in your area and let them know that you
raw feed.  Often times there are stock losses that do not impair the meat in
any way, but which prevent the cow from being butchered for human
consumption.  For example, in the past few months, I've personally butchered
two cows that had broken legs.  One belonged to my uncle and the other to a
rancher that is a friend of my uncle's.  In the case of cows with broken
legs, since they cannot stand, they cannot be butchered for human use (these
are "downer" cows).  I'd be careful NOT to take a downer that's been sick -
but in the case of injury, it's a great source of beef.  These are total
losses for the rancher and often they are happy to help you out.    Last but
not least, I've also butchered a three day old calf that was injured during
the birthing process and died.   Sometimes there will also be calves that
have a deformed leg, etc, that need to be humanely destroyed.

Keep in mind that with injured livestock, they don't break a leg when it's
handy for you.  :)  One of the cows was butchered in the dark, in the
pasture, in 20 degree weather with brisk winds using the headlights of my
truck.  The other was butchered in June when it was well over 90 degrees -
and had to be done during the hottest part of the day.  However, for a few
hours of discomfort and some hard work, I fed my dogs NICELY for several
months with no expense whatsoever.

I also have recently purchased goats for $1 per pound on the hoof.  Once
purchased, they can either go to a processor or you can butcher them
yourself.   Occasionally, you'll find a farmer that will butcher them for
you as a "favor" after the sale.

Be creative - you'll find other sources that we've never even thought about!

Karen and her plethora of raw fed dogs.  :)


 -----Original Message-----
From: 	Farm Collie Breed Conservancy and Restoration
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]  On Behalf Of Gina Bisco
Sent:	Thursday, July 28, 2005 8:39 AM
To:	[log in to unmask]
Subject:	Re: [FARMCOLLIE] Question about food - LONG & LATE RESPONSE

Hi Karen, 

I wasn't meaning to argue in favor of kibble in general, but against 
industrial chicken whether kibbled or raw. 

So few people are familiar with normal chickens that they don't realize how 
abnormal the industrial chickens are, and this concerns me greatly for many 
reasons.

With the raw feeding topic, too often I've seen a simple equation of 
industrial sourced and processed chicken with whole wild prey, which of 
course you are not doing. Aside from the gut/bone/meat ratios issue, there 
are two different problems with grocery store chickens, one is the way they 
are raised and processed (continuous low level antibiotics and other 
substances to improve feed conversion, unusual bacteria including pathogenic

strains in the environment, etcetera), the other is their genetic lines 
themselves being so biologically abnormal.

For people who want to feed raw and can't raise the food animals themselves,

I'd like to suggest some options that some may not be aware of, that are 
alternatives to buying meat at the grocery store. Almost no matter where you

live, there are likely to be a few local people raising animals and 
butchering for their own use. Some of them may have far more naturally
raised 
animals than the industrial system products (though small scale does not 
itself ensure a better more natural rearing system, or humane treatment, or 
avoidance of antibiotics and other chemicals). People who do their own 
butchering don't always have enough dogs to use up everything, and will
often 
have some leftovers from butchering that they might be very glad to give
away 
or sell inexpensively for raw feeding dogs, since they otherwise would end
up 
having to bury or pay for disposal. 

Another suggestion is to link up with people who breed some kind of small 
animal such as rabbits, pigeons, or chickens, to find those who do not 
utilize their own culls. 

People who breed chickens are almost certain to have to cull significant 
numbers of perfectly healthy young (and old) stock, but some chicken
breeders 
either don't like to eat chickens, or don't like to process them and can't 
find anyone locally to do small lots for them. It is apparently not at all 
uncommon for breeders to kill the culls and just bury them! I imagine they'd

be glad to have someone take the killed chickens instead of having to bury 
them. This wouldn't require butchering per se if you want to feed the bird 
whole. If the feathers ought to come off (I'm not sure) it is fairly quick
to 
skin instead of plucking.

Gina