26 January 2010

Simple Living Series - Food waste/dog food questions answered

I don't have much time today, unfortunately, so I'll answer the questions raised by yesterday's post and do a bit of blog housekeeping.  I apologise for the delay in the post about food storage but I'll do that tomorrow.

The dog food recipe I gave yesterday is not suitable for cats.  Unlike dogs, cats are true carnivores and need more protein and fat in their diet.  You could build a cat food recipe around tinned tuna in oil with some rice and a few vegetables, but here is a site that has a downloadable cat food recipe list.  Please check them out carefully, I haven't used any of the recipes, and be guided by your common sense and the fact that your cat needs high protein and fat.

Rois, Alice is a really sweet and loyal dog.  She's still a very good watch dog when she can look outside but she's deaf now and almost blind, nevertheless, she's still guarding us well when she has the chance.  Our vet told us she has a faulty heart value and she's growing weaker.  I think this will be her last year with us.  It will be a sad place here when she dies.

Ashley, thank you.  Canning jars used for pantry storage don't have to be sterilised.  We cook Alice's food, and Rosie's when she was alive, because some Airedales do not tolerate raw beef well.  We do give her meat scraps, but a full meal of raw meat makes her sick.  I'm aware of the debate about raw versus cooked dog food and that dogs evolved eating raw meat in the wild.  However, I believe that now, domesticated dogs are a long way from their wild ancestors and, along with us, enjoy both raw and cooked food.  Our old vet was a raw food man, our new one supports cooked food.  All I know is that this food has kept the dogs healthy all their lives and neither Alice nor Rosie needed vet treatment for anything other ticks, and the ailments of old age.  Alice loves cooked food but also eats a variety of raw food.  She loves bananas, apples and tomatoes and even goes into the garden and picks her own cherry tomatoes when she wants them.

Cat, I'm pleased the dog food is working for you.  It's a great idea to work with whatever you have on hand.

Dillpickle, the main acid loving plants are  camellias, azaleas, gardenias, rhododendrons and some Australian natives.  Pines and mushrooms also like acid conditions.  You can add them to your compost, but not too much.  I think it would be fine to add grounds to most plants as long as it was not very often.  We don't drink a lot of coffee, we just have a French press when we have coffee loving visitors, and those grounds go on our blueberries.

Karrie, I would give a 75lb (34kg) dog three or four cups of this food.  We give Alice (22kg) 2 cups at night as well as a meal in the morning - she gets weetbix and milk now.  She also snacks throughout the day, so she's get bits of toast, a little piece of cake or a tomato.  Alice has always been an active dog.  If your dog isn't active, you'd have to reduce that amount.

Kristi, I did enjoy reading that article.  Thank you for sending the link. 

Anne, I like that principle.  You're really working well with the waste around you.  It does just require a bit of thought and effort and you can come up with wonderful solutions like yours.

Hi joolz, thank you.  Alice is 22kg and she gets two cups of food, plus extras - see above.

Julia, we use the lawn clippings in two ways.  Some are left next to the compost pile and will become the basis of our next pile.  We add old paper, straw, vegetable scraps, vacuum bag contents, old straw and chicken droppings from the coup etc and it will eventually build into very good compost.  The other clippings we throw into a small enclosed area in the chicken coup.  They love scratching through it to find bugs and seeds and in doing so, and by adding their manure to it, make a really quick compost that is ready in about six weeks.

Pam, you can use any meat, it doesn't matter what kind.  And it doesn't have to be minced, it can be chopped up into small pieces.  I'll do a post on worm farms soon.

And to Roxie and all my American and Canadian friends, "mince" is ground beef but you can use any kind of meat you have on hand - cut into small pieces or ground.

So that ends the answers to yesterday's questions.  Now on to the housekeeping.  I've decided to have a month of reduced advertising rates in February.  This offer is available only to small businesses run from home.  If you are running such a business and would like a sponsor button on this blog during February, please send an email to downdottodotearthdotsponsorsatgmaildotcom for more details.  Please give me some details of your business and a link to your website so I can check it out.

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY to all my fellow Australians.  Today is the day we celebrate living in this beautiful and wonderful country of ours.  I hope you all enjoy the day.

IMPORTANT ADDITION:  I received an email from Charis, thanks Charis, regarding the feeding of farm animals - like chickens and pigs, in the UK and Europe.  Please be guided by the information in this brochure.


  1. Yes Happy Australia Day to all of us Aussies.
    I wake up to birds singing and a few chooks ( who have escaped from their pen again)clucking , sun shining , good food to go into our tummies and an early morning texed photo of happy grandchildren up and eating their breakfast not 10 minutes drive from us and I know we a truly blessed to have been born in Australia and to have our family safe and close to us.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Ronda 2

  2. Somehow I've missed a couple of your posts so have just read them now. I'm going to copy the recipe for dog biscuits because they're quite expensive to buy here in Spain, and also the range of dog treats available is very limited compared to in the UK.

  3. Happy Australia Day Rhonda! I do love this country, and i love that we have a day to celebrate that, but more often than not i feel as though, like most Public Holidays, the meaning of the day is lost. I suppose i can't really compain about this, considering i don't even own a BBQ, the quintessential Australia Day item!
    V. X

  4. Hello Rhonda - I am a regular reader but only comment ocassionally. I just had to comment today, though, to tell you that I almost laughed out loud when I read this:

    "Alice...even goes into the garden and picks her own cherry tomatoes when she wants them."

    That must really be something to see! :-)

    Thanks for the wonderful mental image and have a great day!

  5. HI from Texas & Happy Australia Day! I don't post much, but I love your blog & you write very well. Thanks for all the things you share. Ann

  6. Happy Australia Day Rhonda and everyone who reads this blog - today is a day for family, bbq snags in bread with tomato sauce (homemade of course!), possibly a cold beer and listening to Triple J's hottest 100 countdown! I hope you all have a fantastic day!

  7. Happy Australia Day to my new Aussie friends!

    Enjoy your lovely warm weather...it's snowing here! lol

    Blessings from Ohio, USA...Kim W<><

  8. Thanks Rhonda! That's really helpful. I've always wanted a gardinia or three, so maybe this is my excuse!!

  9. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm sorry to disagree with you, but I'm a cat person and some years ago I was looking into making homemade cat food for my cats. (I realized I didn't have enough time to do it properly, but maybe someday...)My memory is fuzzy since it was a while ago but I recall that tuna should not be a big part of their diet. You do need to be careful because there are certain nutrients, such as taurine, that are not in many foods but cats must have. I remember chicken hearts had taurine. Yes, you are right that cats can't eat dog food on a regular basis because of their different protein needs.

    Anyone wanting to make their own cat food, be sure to research it thoroughly, and good luck!


  10. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. I look forward to the post on worms.

    I'm not an Aussie, but we have a good friend who was raised there and it seems like a wonderful place to live. I hope to visit there someday. So, Happy Australia Day to you!

  11. I agree with Susan. Cats should only be fed tuna as an occasional treat. I cook for my cats using supplements that I buy at www.knowwhatyoufeed.com and their food is made up of mostly chicken and chicken liver. You do need to add the supplements to get the right balance of nutrients.

  12. Did anybody read the DEFRA document at the bottom of that post? Thanks for highlighting it to us Rhonda.

    Its basically saying its illegal for us in Europe to feed our kitchen scraps to the chickens. Is that not the thin end of fascism??

    Oh well, guess I'd best not tell DEFRA!! :-)


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