A few weeks ago, when we got the new barn cats, I went to the pet store. We needed kitten food, some dishes, dog food, the things the dogs chew on, and cat litter. I kid you not the total was $110… 😳. I kept staring at the receipt when I got home trying to figure out what accidental goose liver pate imported from France I had accidentally included in my order. But it wasn’t there. It was all generic, run of the mill stuff. Why oh why is pet food so expensive??? And it appears a few companies have a pretty heavy handed monopoly.
Being the person that I am, I decided I could probably make my own and that someone had successfully done that before and I was going to find their blog about it and learn from their mistakes and save so much money.
Well, it turns out there isn’t a lot of personal experience out there about making kibble. I could put my dogs on a raw diet or prepare chef worthy meals for tiny dogs who can sit on a napkin at the dinner table with you. But there was nothing economical to feeding a 60 lb puppy who is growing even larger every day. I found this one recipe for a dog kibble online. So today, I made dog food.
Truth be told, this story started a bit sooner. We ordered half a pig from local Schafer Farms and we had to make space in our basement freezer. There was a lot of suspect stuff that I think probably moved with us from the old house…and the freezer was set too high and burning a lot of food. Most of the stuff in there was ruined and needed tossed. Since we have so many animals we try not to waste anything if we can help it. We opened every frozen solid vegetable bag and dumped them into a tub to feed in the pasture. Peas, carrots, corn, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, spinach…a veritable cornucopia of pasture animal joy. Once it defrosted I snagged a scoop of mixed vegetables and set them aside.
We also had a large box of meat that didn’t look too terribly bad but to be honest I couldn’t date it to save my life and I won’t eat suspect meats. One package was a large pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts. We threw them in the slow cooker with some broth and the scoop of mixed veggies. We cooked them into the night and then this morning, I puréed them. The kids thought this was disgusting. And I agree. Pretty gross. We roughly followed the dry dog food recipe with duck eggs and dry milk and wheat flour…and we made some weird chicken vegetable paste…
We spread the paste thinly on cookie sheets and dehydrate baked them for most of the day. As of writing this I put one of the trays back in to see if I could crisp it up more.
The real test? The dogs! I called them over for a treat…and they LOVED their new kibble treat.
Stella and Daphne chowed down! Super fast…like a treat. Which doesn’t bode well for a food replacement. But overall they were looking for more. So they really enjoyed it.
Is it worth it?
The answer? No. No it is not. It was intensely time consuming and the recipe I suppose would be a ton for one small spoiled toy or smaller dog. But for two big dogs it looks like maybe 2-3 days worth of food…
It was cost effective for us THIS time because it was food we would have discarded anyway. I will continue to cook “older” but not spoiled food for them, but I’m pretty certain they would have enjoyed the shredded chicken and slow cooked veggies as they were without all the extra work and time. It would have fed them for the day or maybe 2 and I could have saved a whole lot of cookware.
Cost effective overall? Nope. The chicken was probably $7-8 worth. And maybe $2 worth of vegetables and we had to buy dry milk because that was not something I had on hand. So $10 to feed for 2-3 days? The sadly expensive dog food at the store goes further than that.
Will I do this again? Nope. 🙂
But now we know. And we tried. And that’s all we’re trying to do here!