First things first- I feed my cats raw, and have done so for a year now with no ill effects. I'm not posting this thread to have a discussion about the merrits of raw, whole prey model pet feeding. There are plenty of other places that talk can take place. Thanks.
Now where to start...
Being morally opposed to factory farming myself, I can't justify continuing to feed supermarket meat to my pets. I began looking for alternatives but the cost is very high for proper free-range meats, and $25/kg cat chow is not something I want to squeeze in to my budget. In addition, I want to feed all parts of the animal, not just the muscle, and finding the things I need (such as brain and lungs!) is proving very difficult if not impossible.
The logical(ish) solution I have come to is that I need to acquire a slaughter animal and harvest what I want, the way I want it. I would have to have someone else do the actual kill as I do not have the proper equipment, meaning gun, but there is an abattoir 2km from me that offers that service for $40, or I could likely ask a hunting friend to make the kill in exchange for what have you. The cutting of the carcass doesn't make me squeamish or anything and I would take it from there myself.
There are goats available from the local livestock auction ranging from $20 to $150 (ish). I would be content with older dairy goats, culls, whatever (the cats won't care!) so my purchase would likely be on the lower end of this scale. The reason I keep coming back to goats is because they would fit properly in my freezer space and are affordably priced, and because they aren't usually found in factory farming type deals in my area.
Here is my idea: I could purchase an inexpensive animal (goat or sheep) and have someone do the kill for me, then process it to my standards.
Good plan, right?
The problem: I do not have a farm or any place to keep a goat and the kill would have to happen same day or (most likely) next day.
The issue with that, and the main problem I have with this plan, is that with auction animals, there is no guarantee of when medications (dewormers etc) were given, and that is a valid concern towards ensuring the safety of the meat, even though it's "only" going to my pets.
I do not know of anywhere near me that offers goat boarding services, but I haven't researched this thoroughly and paying to keep the goat elsewhere for a month to allow any potential toxins to leave the body would still make the meat per pound price much, much less expensive than the other meats I am considering.
Does anyone have any ideas or brainstorming to add to this? I'm open to suggestions!
Thanks in advance.