If you are a pet owner that wants to feed your pet the raw or BARF diet, then it is important that you know which meat grinder can grind bones. Incorporating raw carcasses into your pet’s food is an essential part of the raw diet. Grinding bones is very hard on the motor and many times a manufacturer will not warranty it if you choose to do so. I have compiled a list of grinders that pet owners have used to make their own raw pet food.
Inexpensive Models to Choose From
If you are looking for a grinder that can grind bones but you just don’t have the budget for a heavy duty machine, there are several options you can choose from. STX International makes a few models that many pet owners use to make raw food for their pet. While all three of their models – the STX Turborforce 3000, the STX Megaforce 3000 and the STX Magnum 1800 can grind bones, the best model for that purpose is the Magnum 1800 grinder.
While the majority of users who bought one to grind up chicken parts for their pet’s raw diet are happy with the performance, there are some users who commented that they are not able to do so with their STX grinder. Follow the tips below to grind bones more successfully. All the STX models cost under $200 and have a lot of good reviews. The customer service from the company is also excellent in case you have a problem with your grinder. The warranty doesn’t explicitly prohibit grinding anything other than meat and the owner of the product is aware that many customers buy an STX for the purpose of making pet food.
Another grinder that is mentioned is the Sunmile SM-G50. Not as many reviews as the STX grinders, but there were a few reviewers who were able to grind rabbit and chicken carcasses without a problem. The customer service may not be as responsive but it is about $50 cheaper than the STX models.
These are all #12 grinders, so they all have about a 2 inch opening to feed your meat and bones through. Depending on how big the chicken legs are, you may have to break it down with a cleaver so it can fit into the feeding tube before you grind it.
Tips for Optimal Grinding
Grinding bones on a small grinder can take a little more work, but these tips should help the process go a little more smoothly:
- For best results, the chicken should be very cold but not frozen.
- If you have trouble with the chicken pieces being too big for the feeding tube, put the chicken in a plastic bag, then take a cleaver and break up the chicken a bit so that it can fit down the feeding tube better.
- When grinding bones, you should use the coarsest grinding plate for a first grind.
- Try using chicken thighs instead of drumsticks since drumsticks has a lot more skin, sinew and cartilage which can clog up the machine.
- Put the side with the smaller joint into the feeding tube first.
Heavy Duty Grinders
If your budget allows it, then a size 22 or 32 grinder will make your life a lot easier. If you want easily grind your chicken bones, consider a LEM or Weston #22 or #32. They have a larger feeding tube and more powerful motors that will handle chicken legs with ease as well as turkey wings and necks. While you may have to break down the chicken thighs with a smaller grinder, you can put a whole chicken leg down the feeding tube of either a #22 or #32 and it will grind it up with no problem.
Both the LEM and Weston #22 have a 1 hp motor while the #32 has a 1.5 HP motor. They are both fully stainless steel and have metal gears for extra strength and durability. LEM states that its size 12 and larger grinders are approved to grind chicken bones. Weston Supply states in its manual that grinding bones will void its warranty, but a lot of pet owners do use the Weston for their pet’s raw diet.
If you want a heavy duty stainless steel machine but want to spend a little less, the Weston #12 is able to grind chicken bones without a problem and with a 2.5 inch wide feeding tube, it is larger than other size 12 grinders. Pricewise, it is still 3-4 times more expensive than the non-stainless steel ones mentioned above but slightly cheaper than its big brothers.
Many pet owners use the inexpensive models without a problem and it’s definitely easier on their wallet. But, if you can afford it, I would recommend investing in a big heavy duty grinder, which will cut down your processing time as well as your grind time. And unlike the budget models, you can be sure that a heavy duty grinder is able to grind bones without a problem.