Cota Farms' Blog

March 3, 2014

Common Sense and Feeding Your Dogs Raw Meat – Part 3

While transitioning our dogs from having raw ground chicken in their diet and replacing that with leg quarters, we noticed a distinct rejection of the new alternative.  From some of what I have read they should have welcomed this new food.  Half of the dogs just could not seem to get the hang of it, one not even trying.   Our dogs are too important to us to just let this go; had we been thinking wrong?

I have to admit that when I offered this same chicken to the lot of them except this time I roasted it and striped the meat from the bones, they all gobbled it down.  I had even mixed in some old egg noodles.  The only difference from something I might prepare for myself was the lack of seasoning and mixing in the chicken fat.

I don’t know what this means but I am willing to employ a little dispassionate common sense to the problem.  You see the real problem is we tend to invest ourselves in a position we have chosen to take in the past and filter all new data thru the prism of not wanting to admit to being wrong, misinformed, not wanting to change.

In that spirit, I have observed from a number of different dogs, in different sizes and breeds, over several years’ time, that dogs do in fact prefer meat.  Furthermore, they do not as often as one might expect prefer it uncooked.  Also, I have noticed certain beneficial effects of feeding small amounts of cooked rice or pumpkin.  Additionally, there seems to be no ill effects from sometimes feeding macaroni and cheese mixed with a favorite meat.  I use these specific examples because of the enthusiasm in which the dogs eat those meals.

Of course roast chicken is not a balanced diet and we will continue to offer raw meat if for no other reason than to see if they eat it.  We will still feed organ meat as well but no longer ground, sliced instead.  We will offer it raw but if they don’t eat it we will cook it for them.  Our goal is to feed our dogs as best we can, see that they consume at least a minimal amount every day and if that means cooking for them, well, I would do no less for any farm workers we might employ.

April 5, 2013

Alpaca Still On The Menu

We have had more and more interest in alpaca as a food source for both people and dogs that cannot tolerate many other foods.  I haven’t had the time to research just why alpaca doesn’t cause the problems that other foods can but I do know that it is an exceptional meat that has no trouble competing with beef, pork, lamb or poultry for taste and nutrition.  It is very lean, more like venison than beef or lamb.

I have to write of our small accomplishment here as it will otherwise go unnoticed, but we were the first farm in the States that openly retailed alpaca.  I understand that there are others now of course, out west mostly, but we also with the help of our favorite chef were able to get it onto the menu of the first restaurant to offer it.  I am proud to say that after more than five years it is still on the menu at The Refectory in Columbus OH.

Unfortunately for us it seems the demand for this excellent meat is growing far from our market place and other farms will ultimately benefit more than we from this new food.  It is new here but has been eaten for a long time in other parts of the world.  I won’t go into why or how we first came to using alpaca meat in this article or the prospects of it becoming more widely used but I do what to make one point.  Alpaca meat is relatively expensive and so not suitable for a dog food staple.  It is not part of the commercial meat industry and will remain high in price.  I believe the new and very trendy emergence of restaurants with alpaca on the menu is as a result of the temporary availability of cheap animals that are being dumped. Won’t say any more about that as it would surely not gain me any friends.

We will continue to carry a small amount of this superb meat as well as alpaca dog treats and bones but for larger orders we suggest purchasing a whole animal and have it custom butchered.  As a service to our customers we will help to obtain and transport your alpaca.

October 30, 2012

Common Sense and Feeding Your Dogs Raw Meat

We at Cota Farms feed our dogs raw meat and we sell this same meat to others.  If you search the internet for information about feeding raw meat to your dog you will not find a simple explanation about this practice.  You will find opinions pro and con with lots of ideas about where dogs come from, what wild canines eat, similarities between the two, the dangers of bones impacting the colon, nutrition, bacteria, what nature intended, veterinarians opposed to the practice and so forth.  Unfortunately if you give a thought to what you are feeding your dogs and question it even a little you will be pulled into this mess and have to deal with it, decide what is right for you and your dogs.

I think it is important to consider the source of the information and how it may be biased.  Most important is to use a little common sense!  This may sound like a simple matter and maybe even a little patronizing but it certainly is not.  We have been trained to not think critically and to avoid questioning any figure of authority or commercial product.

Let’s take the issue of feeding bones for example.  I have no doubt that some veterinarians have had to help dogs that have been over fed bones.  I would bet however that they are far fewer than the number of medical doctors who have had to help people that have been over fed junk food. Raw meaty bones are not a meal and if you feed this to your dog every day you will eventually hurt your dog.  Because some people out there are negligent when it comes to feeding raw bones is not an argument against giving your dog a bone.  We sell bones to our customers, a variety of bones of high quality.  We do not present the bones as a meal for your dog!  Consider this choice, an occasional raw bone or a hunk of nylon in the shape of a bone.

And of course all dogs are not the same!  We have several dogs, most live outside on the farm; they are livestock guardians and have free access to 25 acres of pasture, wetland and ponds.  They are a lot like wild animals if you ask me.  They will at least taste almost anything and eat things so disgusting that the idea that clean raw meat is bad for them is laughable.  We also have small dogs that live in the house and sleep in our bed.  They are nothing like the LGDs and we don’t feed them like they are.  Here is an opportunity to use a little common sense, some critical thinking.  Because we don’t feed raw meat to our small dogs, nor subject them to things like Hurricane Sandy, is not an argument against feeding raw meat.  By the way, our LGDs did not take that evening off; I watched them run around in the storm doing their job without any indication that they were bothered by all the weather.  Since our small dogs would not have survived even one hour in that terrible storm am I then to deny the fact that my other dogs are better suited to that environment?

Our small dogs are quite partial to the same food we feed all our dogs it is just that they prefer it to be cooked a little and cut into tiny bits, tender pieces please.  Cota will choose my home cooked sliced kidney every time over commercial dog food.  Now if I were to feed him just kidney that would not be good for him and I would be negligent – again, common sense to the rescue.

I tell my customers that variety is key in feeding a raw diet.  Money is also a very important factor.  I have seen raw diet menus that no honest veterinarian could argue against yet they are not practical.  Still there is a lot you can do by being creative.  If you have a source for discount can goods that can be very helpful.  For example, fish is a good food to rotate into your dog’s diet, preferably cold water fish as they have the good oils in them.  A dented can of sardines or mackerel is just great.  A can of pumpkin or yams mixed in now and again is good too.  Raw eggs are an inexpensive item that should be on your menu.  Our dogs eat more eggs than most as they live on a farm and are not opposed to self-service.

We sell raw meat for your dog’s diet; it is not a complete or balanced diet but does make for some good meals.  We are pleased to offer a variety of basic food at a price far lower than any we have seen.  We encourage our customers to seek out additional foods for their dogs, as best as they can afford and if you find a good source for gazelle pancreas please share it with the rest of us.

May 13, 2012

DOG FOOD Community Supported Agriculture

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cota Farms @ 9:22 pm
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We did our first deliveries of raw dog food this week and are very happy with the product.  I have done a good bit of research on the subject and it seems pretty obvious to me what dogs should be eating even though many people do not agree.  I believe it is more a matter of conditioning by corporate manufactures and the dog food industry in general than peoples inability to deal with the fact that their best friend is a carnivore and a predator and was Designed to kill and eat other animals.  It is this fact that eventually brought me to the final decision to feed our dogs what they want and need and not what I have been trained to feed them.

As I was scrambling to save our lambs from coyotes and perhaps roaming dogs as well, I made note of how they killed our lambs and what they chose to eat first.  I came to understood that the only long term, humane solution to this problem was dogs, K9’s much like the ones that were killing our lambs.  I love dogs and the idea of hunting them, trapping or otherwise hurting them did not appeal to me even though I had to stop what they were doing.  As I wrote in an earlier blog I traveled long distances to find dogs that were ready to go right into the pastures with the sheep and protect them from the coyotes.  It was a fantastic success.

To think that with a little human ingenuity you could take an otherwise potential predator, one that would happily eat your sheep along with all the other K9’s and train him to protect your sheep from the other predators, well that is just one of the most amazing things about dogs.  Of course a dog that can do this is very special and deserves special care and feeding, the cheapest most devoted farm labor you could ever have.

I have noticed that higher quality dog food has become extremely expensive, so expensive in fact that it is now cheaper to feed you dog actual meat than buy these overpriced foods.  Still, it is not quite that easy.  Your dog will need a little more than just a hunk of meat for a balanced nutritional meal.  How you choose to do the balancing will vary depending on what foods you have available to you but we can definitely help you with the largest part of the meal.

Ground chicken with bone and skin, whole pieces of chicken in other words, is a great place to start.  Depending on the age and activity of the dog, a higher protein meat is good to give every so often, organ meat for example or eggs.  It is good to give as much variety as you can by substituting lamb or even fish when possible.  Vegetable matter, minerals and certain enzymes are also important but how to get these into your dog varies greatly.  Feeding green tripe regularly goes a long way in providing your dog a highly nutritional and healthy diet but this is not an easy thing to do, so some people turn to vitamin and mineral supplements.  Dogs can not digest raw vegetable matter that is why they eat the guts of their prey, pre-digested veggies.  Some people cook veggies and add them to their dog’s food.  And it goes on from there but the most important thing is not that you perfectly mimic a natural K9 diet but that you at least feed the best available food that you can afford, often that means just doing a little research and looking for better foods than rendered slaughterhouse waste.

February 16, 2012

Fresh Raw Dog Food Now On The Menu

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cota Farms @ 7:11 pm
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Cota Farms is adding fresh raw dog food to the pet food menu.  This newest product is a high quality ground chicken.  It has  high digestibility and comes in several package sizes.  Bulk pricing will be just 99 cents/lb for minimum orders of 20 pounds.  It will also be offered with fresh vegetables added.  No grains,  fillers or chemicals are added.

Unlike chicken meal, this product is fresh and free of sick or previously dead animals.  All chicken was processed in a state inspected facility however this product is not packaged or meant for human consumption.

For those raw food enthusiast, it can be served as is, mixed with your favorite dry food for a more balanced diet.  If you prefer to cook it first, then we have some great recipes for you.  Check out the webpage for more info.

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