Making Dog Food

head and blockI have a dog, he eats a raw food diet –  meat and vegetables. It makes sense that he would eat meat and vegetables that we grow and take responsibility for rather than processed stuff from elsewhere; meat from dubious origins.

Kainaat generally eats all our pig bones, skin, tails and ears (I eat the trotters and offal) and he eats lamb bones. He also eats chicken carcasses, although we haven’t had many of those as I often use the carcass from the few meat birds we have killed to make stock. So until now we have had to buy some from someone local who raises free-range meat birds – see here.


However, this summer we have had a problem, lots of chickens and not many eggs. Some of the birds are old and have pretty much stopped laying, others have a bad egg-eating habit – see here. I think about the deaths of our animals a lot (possibly more than I should). It is not good for a sheep to die of old age in the winter (see here for the story of our Suffolk sheep), and it is not good for chickens to die of old age, especially hybrids – their insides come out, they get picked on by other chickens – a calm, quiet, unexpected death is better all round.

I actually think it is irresponsible and not particularly kind or ethical to let an animal just die, it is far better to intervene and stop any suffering. And yes, I would prefer (if I was already dying – this is a crucial bit) for someone to take me outside on a sunny day, give me a hug and kill me without any fear, rather than be scared, in pain and have my insides fall out in a messy heap – just so you all know.

It is even better if a death is not wasted, if our animals can somehow nourish someone else – yeah yeah feel free to eat me too, although I think the clause below on not feeding sick or diseased animals to my dogs might be relevant here.

Bearing that in mind, I spent a good few hours on Sunday making dog food and hopefully solving the egg eating problem – we killed quite a few of our older hens. We killed one new one with a prolapse and one with a tumour (better they have a quiet death), some very old hybrids and some suspected egg eaters. I only feed the healthy birds to the dog.

First I went into the coop and selected the hen and gave them a cuddle so they felt calm – you can see from the photo below that I am a classy and stylish dresser – more so when covered with icky inside bits!

me and chickenThen James put them on the block and got the stunner (we didn’t bother using the cones as we were doing quite a few and weren’t going to eat them).

getting the stunnerHe stunned them unconscious

stunningAnd then chopped off their head (I cut their throats when we kill birds for eating as it is cleaner and better)

ChoppingIf it is a bigger bird I help hold it (as we weren’t using the cone), otherwise I go and catch the next one.

lined up bodies

Quite frankly don’t you find it a little worrying that someone lines up all the dead birds in a colour coordinated way with the heads in a neat little pile? I didn’t capture the dead Marans in this photo but they were also put in the line according to their feathers – wheaten and then speckled. (As an aside Daisy Dog would have loved the heads and would have scarfed them down – Kainaat is more fussy)

After that I squatted down on the dirt and chopped off the legs and wings.

chopping the wings off

Then I skinned and gutted the hens suitable for dog food (not the sick ones). I don’t pluck if it is for dog food as Kainaat doesn’t really like the skin anyway and it takes too long.


No photos of the insides as I had icky hands and James wandered off, but if you are curious about the insides of an egg-laying hen see my post here.

Then I took the carcasses back to the house, washed them and chopped them up and popped them in the freezer. Enough food for Kainaat for several months – no waste – thank you hens, we hoped you enjoyed living here and being part of the whole holistic life and death cycle thing.

dogfoodN.B. It’s on our to-do list to make a special space for slaughter and butchery, but the whole time/money thing gets in the way ……

2 responses to “Making Dog Food

  1. Pingback: Raw Fed Dog | smallholding dreams·

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