Since different bone in cuts can have varying amounts of fat and bone content, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how to calculate the bone content percentage in a “prey model” raw diet. Figuring out how much fat is present in the diet can also be helpful, especially for animals that require a certain amount of fat in their diets. Knowing the percentages of these products can make that job a lot easier. Here’s RFC’s guide to bone and fat content in raw meaty bones.

Remember: in a “prey model” raw diet, you want to aim for 10% bone. This 10% value is for only bone, not the entire RMB. “BARF” diet percentages call for anywhere from 25-60% raw meaty bones in the diet – these higher and more varied percentages are due to the fact that there is such a large variation in bone content depending on what kind of RMBs you’re feeding. If you fed chicken necks and backs as 60% of the diet, for example, that would be way too much bone! RFC prefers the “prey model” percentage of 10% bone content for this reason.

Figuring out what and how much to feed to get the right bone content in the diet might sound complicated, but it is actually just a bit of really simple math. Let’s say you have an 80 pound dog that eats 2 pounds of meat a day (which would be 2.5% of the dog’s weight, right in the middle of the 2-3% guideline). You want to incorporate duck wings as a source of bone in his diet, which are 50% bone. You think, what if I fed duck wings as half the meal? 50 divided by 2 is 25%, so that is still too much bone. What about a fourth of the meal? 50 divided by 4 is 12.5%, which is much better! So for a 2 lb total meal size, 0.5 lb of that should be duck wings. The rest can be meat, organ, and whatever else you’re adding – egg, veggies, etc.

You don’t have to feed exactly 10% bone in every meal – you would spend all your time doing math and trying to cut meat into impossible sizes to get that to work every day! The 10% value is something you should aim for over time – it doesn’t have to be exact. So don’t obsess over 10%, just use it as a guideline.

Remember to choose bones that are appropriate for your pet! If you have a large dog, chicken necks might be too easily swallowed whole, which is a choking hazard, but for small dogs, cats, and ferrets, chicken necks are great RMBs. A good RMB for a Great Dane might be a slab of pork ribs, but a Chihuahua that tries to eat pork ribs might end up with a cracked tooth. Choose RMBs accordingly!

Chicken

Whole bird – 27-32% bone, 12-14% skin, 5-8% fat
Breast – 15-20% bone
Back – 44% bone, 10% skin, 17% fat
Thigh – 21-32% bone and cartilage, 24% skin and fat
Drumstick – 33-34% bone, 9% skin and fat
Wing – 46% bone, 21% skin, 1% fat
Leg quarter – 27-30% bone, 11% skin, 5% fat
Neck – 36% bone, 39% skin and fat
Cornish game hen – 39% bone, 13% skin, 5% fat
Foot – 60% bone
Head – 75% bone

 Turkey

Whole bird – 21-29% bone, 11% skin and fat
Neck – 42% bone
Breast – 14% bone, 11% skin and fat
Back – 50% bone, 12% skin and fat
Thigh – 19-21% bone, 13% skin and fat
Wing – 44% bone, 16% skin and fat
Drumstick – 38% bone, 6% skin and fat

Quail

Whole – 10% bone, 14% skin

Duck

Whole, domestic – 28% bone, 38% skin and fat
Whole, wild game – 38% bone
Leg, domestic – 34% bone
Breast, wild game – 15% bone, 31% skin and fat
Wing – 39% bone
Foot – 60% bone
Head – 75% bone
Frame – 75% bone
Neck – 50% bone

Goose

Whole – 19% bone, 34% skin and fat

Pheasant

Whole – 14% bone, 10% skin

Dove / Squab / Pigeon

Whole – 23% bone, 12% skin

Guinea hen

Whole – 17% bone

Rabbit

Whole, unprocessed – 10% bone
Dressed (skinned and gutted) – 28% bone

Mouse / Rat

Whole – 5% bone

Lamb

Neck – 32% bone, 10% fat
Ribs – 24-27% bone, 11% fat
Shank – 28-36% bone, 9% fat
Shoulder – 21-25% bone, 17% fat
Chop – 15% bone, 12% fat

Goat

Whole – 33% bone

Veal

Ribs – 35% bone, 5% fat
Shoulder – 21% bone, 4% fat
Shank – 48% bone, 3% fat
Loin – 30% bone, 10% fat

Beef

Ribs – 52% bone, 32% fat
Ox tails – 45-65% bone

Pork

Shoulder – 16-25% bone, 10-14% fat
Ribs – 21-30% bone, 6-9% fat
Feet – 29% bone
Tail – 30% bone


Sources

Cost and Yield Comparisons of Ready-To-Cook Chicken Products
USDA Food Composition Database
Tissue Percentage of Some Common Prey of the Cat
2010 Goat Carcass Evaluation

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