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The pet dog dilemma

 
Marie van Houtte
Posts: 35
Location: Australia
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Hi all,

I'm vego (animal lover) and my husband is vegan (wants to save the planet), and we're moving towards setting up a permaculture orchard/forest.

We have two pet dogs, and I feed them some commercial kibble and mostly fresh raw meat, and some other tidbits.

I have been thinking about the benefits of having domesticated animals as part of the permie system (chickens or ducks), mainly for pest control and manure, and I can see the benefits. I would eat some eggs, the dogs would eat some eggs, and I'd give the rest away. So I'm not overly concerned about the animals being "productive", per se. So I'd have no need to cull them.

But in terms of dog food... Are there any vego homesteaders that raise animals to feed to other animals?

I don't even really know what I'm asking here. I mean, I know that if I raised chickens for my dogs, the chickens would have better lives and the dogs would get better food. But I just don't know if I could keep an animal knowing that I'm going to kill it. It might break my heart or something. I definitely couldn't do the actual killing.

Not having dogs is not an option. Feeding them vego/vegan diet is also not an option for me. I'm happy if other folks do that, but I don't want to.

I know that I am being selfish in this, and a wimp and a hypocrite. I don't want to cause any arguments or anything. I'm just wondering if anyone has had the same dilemma, and how you dealt with it.
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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I don't know about raising animals to feed the dogs, I have never done that but if you don't care about getting lots of eggs you can probably get older chickens for free from people who want eggs and don't want to cull older birds.

 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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A lot depends upon where you live and the lifestyle of the people around you, but here's some ideas that I use......

.....Raise your own. I don't get excess livestock that I can't either home use, sell, or trade, but other farms do. So example shows you could raise your own or cull your excess. Since you find the slaughter and butchering objectionable (I do my own because it is far more humane) you could arrange with a neighbor to do that for you for either cash payment or share part of the meat.
.....Slaughter waste from others. From time to time I get bags of slaughter waste from neighbors and friends. They don't want it and my animals can eat it.
......Hunters' waste. I trade for hunters' waste. They drop off a bucket of offal and trimmings in exchange for veggies from my garden or eggs.
......Road kill. This s a great source of guilt free pet food and a means to practice butchering. I take in free killed roadkill from people who bring it to me. Yes, I'll pick it up myself when someone texts me with a sighting, but frequently it shows up at my gate. I trade roadkill for veggies, fruits, eggs, good meats. Roadkill around here is often feral pigs, goats, occasional sheep. Plenty of mongoose, pheasant, feral chicken, and sometimes a turkey. Those last four are usually pretty flat.
......Farm losses. Livestock sometimes dies unexpectedly and needs to be dealt with. As long as the cause of death wasn't from illness that would affect humans or my livestock, I'm willing to pick them up. Old age, physical injury, lighting strike, hit by car, illness, killed by dogs, impossible birthing problem, etc.
.....supermarket and restaurant waste. The pick up contracts are pretty well sown up in my area but I do have one market that I can get about 10 lbs of discarded meat from weekly. Plus the local churches frequently host free meals and festival dinners. By providing them lidded cans and timely pick up, I can get all sorts of waste including meat trimmings.
......trapped and otherwise culled vermin. I live where we have significant rodent problems and an excess of certain types of birds. Care needs to be taken that neighbors aren't putting out poison for vermin. I trap dozens of rats, mice, and mongoose every week. They go into the chicken feed cook pot. I sometimes have requests from neighbors to come reduce the numbers of pheasants, mynah birds, and doves. People are happy to have me come trap the feral roosters and excess feral turkeys. You have to take good precautions not to accidentally injure pet cats and dogs though. While I often find cats in my live traps, they are released unharmed. But it's super important to be a responsible trapper.

Hope this gives you some ideas.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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My dog lived on leftovers from a Greek restaurant for 4 months while I worked beside it. She was very pleased with the arrangement and went hungry for a couple days when the job ended and I offered her kibble. I see adds for burnt out layers on a daily basis. Sometimes young cockerels are offered.
 
Marie van Houtte
Posts: 35
Location: Australia
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Thanks folks These are all very good suggestions!

For me, things like road kill, trapped/culled vermin and hunter's waste won't be an option because a) I'm surrounded by national parks, and park rangers lay poisoned baits in an attempt to control the fox and feral cat populations (but of course other animals eat the baits too and are poisoned), and b) the government released the myxomatosis virus into the wild in order to try to control the rabbit population. So anything that comes from "the wild" is potentially poisoned or infected. But these ideas could be great for people in other areas.

I will certainly investigate slaughter waste and farm losses though. And restaurant waste. Great tips!
 
Kat Green
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There are many healthy organic dog foods on the market now and I don't think that it would be cost effective and too labor intensive to raise your own animals as food for your dogs. I prefer to be a hypocrite than to deal with the emotional/health/conscience/religious conflict. I add cooked non-fertile eggs to my dogs good quality kibble and they usually live past 17. Just had a 19 year old put to sleep and I had one live to be 20 so I must be doing something right. My vet says that dogs and cats do not have issues with cholesterol like humans. I am also a vegie and I have my own chickens, ducks, and goats. (The males live with the goats and the females live with the horse for insect control.) They are not cost effective with regard to eggs vs. feed and the goats don't give milk but they will live out their normal lifespans right here. So, since your question seems to be a survey question, my answer is probably unique for this forum. You are allowed to keep animals just for pleasure.
 
Marie van Houtte
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Location: Australia
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Haha, thanks Kat
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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We don't have to raise any rabbits for our dogs. Occasionally we just go out and shoot some and throw them over the fence to them. Or we let the dogs out and they do the catching of their own food. I think you need to get over the "I can't kill something" mentality though. I find that more detrimental than anything. Can you be humane if your refusal to kill an animal means that animals suffers? I don't believe so. Do I enjoy killing things, absolutely not. Do I do it? Yes. I must. If I want to be the best person and best animal caretaker I can be that means that sometimes I have to kill things. I've cried while doing it on occasion but not doing it would have been cruel.

So I guess I think if you absolutely cannot kill an animal than you shouldn't get any.
 
Marie van Houtte
Posts: 35
Location: Australia
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Danielle, I don't have an issue with putting an animal down in order to end it's suffering. It is sometimes heartbreaking, but I understand that the animals in my care are my wards and I must do my best by them, both in sickness and in health.

My issue is drawing that distinction between breeds. For instance, I would find it very difficult to come to terms with going out of my way to make a healthy and happy life for my dogs, but at the same time slaughtering healthy and happy chickens for food. I don't think I could comfortably draw that line.



 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Marie van Houtte wrote:Danielle, I don't have an issue with putting an animal down in order to end it's suffering. It is sometimes heartbreaking, but I understand that the animals in my care are my wards and I must do my best by them, both in sickness and in health.

My issue is drawing that distinction between breeds. For instance, I would find it very difficult to come to terms with going out of my way to make a healthy and happy life for my dogs, but at the same time slaughtering healthy and happy chickens for food. I don't think I could comfortably draw that line.





Ok. I was glad to hear that!!!

As for my line, if the apocalypse happened and I needed to feed my children, I would eat my dogs. So, I guess I have no line. I even know which order I would kill them in. It's in order of usefulness btw. The one I love but doesn't contribute, they would go first. Gotta take those contributors to the end.
 
Tina Paxton
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Location: coastal southeast North Carolina
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I raise meat rabbits as well as ducks for both eggs and meat. I do the dispatching of both rabbits and ducks myself. I don't like kill animals but I do it because this is the only way I know that the animals I, my family, and, yes, my dogs, eat was raised humanely and dispatched humanely. I also know what they eat and what medications they were NOT given.

I understand that not everyone feels the same. Some eat meat but can't deal with killing what they raised. Some don't eat meat. To each his/her own. When you say "I can't kill a healthy animal I raised in order to feed my dog or my family" you are leaving that task for some stranger to do -- and trusting that they are giving you an animal that WAS healthy (and there is no guarantee of that) and trusting that they killed the animal humanely -- and there is definitely no guarantee of that.

One thing that I do to make it easier for me is draw a line between pet and livestock and within livestock between breeders and feeders (those destined for the freezer). I don't get emotionally attached to feeders. They don't get names. Breeders get names but can be culled if they fail to meet standards I have set. Pets are never targeted to be culled unless illness or injury warrants it. Having these mental separations makes it much easier --I'm not killing SweetiePie the rabbit I've cuddled with for 3 months. I'm killing a feeder I provided a good clean/safe home and food good to for 3 months and now it is fulfilling it's destiny. I've only had to dispatch one of my rabbit breeders so far and I admit I had a fellow rabbit breeder do the dispatch for me. I think I could handle it myself now but that first time was very hard.

And, the reality is that if you raise animals you will have to deal with death at some point or other.
 
C. Hunter
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I honestly can't make the numbers work on raising meat for my dogs. It's just not economical, even feeding a fairly high-grade kibble. For me, it's just plain cheaper to buy ethically sourced raw (especially now that I can buy in bulk)- but I"m lucky enough to have access to that. I think raising the food is GREAT- but I think there are other equally good options that just plain work better for some situations.
 
patrick canidae
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Spent dairy goat bucks or wool sheep rams can be bought dirt cheap and grazed until needed. Can break them to a collar, chain and sack-crete block tie out if you don't have fence. A lot easier to hang up a spent ram than a big cull gelding or mare. And can beat back undesirable invasive species until the day they are Ken-L ration.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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