Updated: Dec 19, 2021
Raw Feeding Math seems quite complicated, heck math is complicated but its important to understand how it works in order to feed your carnivore companions an appropriate raw diet. Once you break it down, Raw Feeding Math is quite simple! 1. Determine your companions total daily food requirement 2. Determine your companions total daily meat, organ and bone requirement
3 Establish your Base Rules
4 Determine Meat to Bone Ratios of Raw Meaty Bones
5 Eggshell to Replace Bone
6 Balancing Over Time
The first step is to determine how much food your carnivore companion will need per day. This is figured by a percentage of your companions current or ideal adult body weight. This percent is base on the species/breed, age, energy level, time of year and individual needs. Species: Ferrets require a high percent then dogs and hairless breeds of cats like the Sphynx due to the high energy loss of heat also requirer a high percentage. Puppies, kittens and kits also require a higher percentage due to their constant development and growth, this also goes for pregnant bitches and dams for the same reason. Those that are older or not as active may need a lower percentage. Finally time of year can also influence how much you need to feed. Some animals eat much less in the hot summers and more in the cold winters. If your dog runs agility or is pregnant you will probably need to increase their food intake during these times and reduce them in off season.
While these are just guidelines, every animal is different so it’s important to know when you may need to increase or decrease how much you are feeding based on body condition.
HOW TO DO IT! After you have chosen what percentage of body weight you want to feed, its time to do the math.
Lets say you have a 30 lb active adult dog and you want to feed 3% of their body weight:
3% of 30 lbs or 30 x 0.03 is 0.9 lbs or 14.4 oz per DAY
HINT: You can type into google 3% of 30 lbs to get your answer. If you daily amount is less them 1 lb you can add “to oz” to the end of your keyword search to determine how many oz your companion will eat per day.
You can multiple this daily total to determine how much your companions will consume every week, every month or any predetermined amount of time.
For a week of food this dog will eat 6.3 lbs
0.9 lbs * 7= 6.3 lbs
This dog will then eat 27 lbs per month (0.9 lbs * 30 = 27 lbs)
Or 328.5 lbs per year ( 0.9 lbs * 365= 328.5 lbs)
You can also figure out how much it will cost you to feed them by multiplying the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly etc amount by the cost per lbs of food. If your food costs $2.58/lb to feed then it will cost $2.32 per day to feed this dog or $16.25 per week, $69.66 per month and $47.53 per year.
Alright lets regroup. Now we want to figure out how much meat, organ and bone are required per day. We are using percentages here as well.
To figure out how much of each category you are to feed you will do the same math with each category as we did for percentage of body weight. A balanced meal or batch is 80% meat, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ (pancreas, kidney, spleen etc.) and 10% bone. So you will want to take the amount fed per day (14.4 oz) and multiple by these percentages. You should get: 14.4 oz * 80% (or 0.8) = 11.5 oz of meat 14.4 oz * 5% (or 0.05) = 0.7 oz of liver
14.4 oz * 5% (or 0.05) = 0.7 oz of other secreting organ 14.4 oz * 10% ( or 0.1) = 1.44 oz of bone Meat can be anything muscle meat so this includes typical cuts of meat such as loin, stew, breast, thigh etc. but also non secreting organs like lungs, tongue, heart and gizzards. The meat section can be made up of an assortment of this. I highly recommending making a list of percentages for yourself that you can use as a guideline for each of your meals, your Base Rules. No matter what you make your recipe will include these break down
My Base Rules are:
50-59% meat (all cuts of meat plus what you get from raw meaty bones) 15% heart
5% other secreting organ(s)
*Note heart is very important for cats and ferrets. It is the most cost effective and easy to source way to provide your cats and ferrets with a source of natural taurine. Next we want to determine meat to bone ratios and how meat is factored into our meals.
Bone will be the more complicated math. Each bone in the animal has a different meat to bone ratio (chicken wing vs. chicken neck) and also different from animal to animal (chicken neck vs turkey neck). Regardless the math is fairly simple as well. You will find a list of Meat to Bone Ratios on our website for now lets work with a chicken neck.
The average chicken neck (with skin) weighs 1.45 oz. They consist of 31% bone and 69% meat. To figure out how much bone is in a single neck multiple the weight of the neck (1.45 oz) by 31% (or 0.31) 1.45 oz * 0.31= 0.44 oz
We do the same to determine the amount of meat on the neck 1.45 oz * 0.69= 1 oz
*Note the amount of meat on the neck will be factored into the meat section required per day. To determine how many necks you would need per day we take the bone requirement (for this dog it would be 1.44 oz) and divide by the amount of bone in one neck (0.44 oz)
1.44 oz/0.44 oz= 3.27 necks (you can round to 3.5 as the weight is just an average)
To find the amount of meat that you will be getting from the necks multiple 1 oz (the amount of meat on each neck) by the number of necks 1 oz * 3.27 necks = 3.27 oz
Than subtract this from the amount of meat per day to get the amount of meat you still need to feed Your requirements should now look like this (if you are using chicken neck as the bone)
11.5 oz of meat (with 3.27 oz coming from the chicken necks, you will need 8.2 oz from other muscle meats) 0.7 oz of liver
0.7 oz of other secreting organ(s) 1.44 oz of bone which is found in 3.27 necks
As mentioned prior you can multiple by 7 to figure out how much your companion needs per week and balance their meals over time.
The above math is perfect for individual companions, but sometimes you may have many pets and would like to make a large batch of food.
While you will still feed each of your companions the percentage of weight each day from this batch we skip all together the feeding percent and instead choose a batch size, let us use a 10 lb batch for our example. After you have determined how big of a batch you want to refer to your Base Rules and use those percentages to make your full batch. Its easier to figure out what bone you want to use first so you can factor in the meat and fill in the rest needed from there.
10 lb Batch
80% Meat —> 8 lbs
50-59% meat —> 4 lbs- 4.72 lbs (don’t forget to subtract the meat taken from the chicken necks (3.66 lbs - 4.38 lbs of meat left to add) 15% heart —> 1.2 lbs
0-9% gizzards—> 0-0.72 lbs
6% egg —> 0.48 lbs
10% Organ—> 1 lb
5% liver —> 0.5 lbs
5% other secreting organ(s) —> 0.5 lbs
10% Bone —> 1 lb
Chicken Necks —> 1.34 lbs
25% meat, 75% bone —> 0.34 lbs meat, 1 lbs bone
So how does this all work with freeze dried raw food? The simplest answer is freeze dried food is approximately 30% the weight of fresh raw food. All the ratios remain the same the weight is just different because we have removed the water content.
The same 10 lb batch above will not look like this: 10 lb Batch —> 3 lbs Batch (rehydrated to make 10 lbs of food)
80% Meat —> 2.4 lbs
50-59% meat —> 1.2 lbs- 1.41 lbs (don’t forget to subtract the meat taken from the chicken necks (1.09 lbs - 1.31 lbs of meat left to add) 15% heart —> 0.36 lbs
0-9% gizzards—> 0-0.21 lbs
6% egg —> 0.14 lbs
10% Organ—> 0.3 lb
5% liver —> 0.15 lbs
5% other secreting organ(s) —> 0.15 lbs
10% Bone —> 0.3 lb
Chicken Necks —> 0.04 lbs
25% meat, 75% bone —> 0.1 lbs meat, 0.3 lbs bone
Raw Feeding Math can seen daunting especially if you hate math but once you have your rules in place, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. You’ll be rattling off numbers and coming up your own recipes just like that. Remember 80% muscle meat, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ and 10% bone and you are golden.