What Defines a NUTRITIONAL organ meat?
This is a very important question, and something that causes a lot of confusion. Many structures that are considered “organs” anatomically are NOT considered Organ Meat nutritionally.
Nutritional Organs are Major Hormone-Secreting Tissues:
- Major glands (thymus, thyroid, parathyroid)
Pork Stomach Lining** (pork stomach is an organ, but it is lower in nutrients than the others listed)
Tripe is the stomach of ruminating animals (usually Beef). White tripe has all of the nutrients bleached out of it. Green tripe is high in nutrients but smells horrid and usually ferrets won’t go near it so it’s really not worth the bother. If your ferrets will eat it, more power to you.
Chitterlings (pork small intestine): similar to stomach this is an organ but is low in nutrients compared to the others and usually picked out of whole prey so there isn’t much benefit to feeding it.
Gizzards – gizzards are comprised of primarily muscle tissue and tendon, nutritionally they are a muscle meat source. Great for cleaning teeth.
Tongue – the tongue is comprised of muscle and mucous/salivary glands. These glands secrete mucous and digestive enzymes but NO hormones. The sublingual tonsils are at the very back of the tongue and are a lymphoid tissue (immune system). These tonsils are way at the back, so IF they are included on your purchased tongue, they are included in the whole tongue piece.
Lungs– lungs do not secrete hormones, they are comprised of connective tissue and endothelium. They are not considered a true “organ” as far as raw diet is concerned. They are however a GREAT part of a raw diet and are very high in Iron and Vitamin B12, as well as other B Vitamins. Definitely a good thing to feed if you have access.