• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

guinea pigs as meat... my journal as i go

 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
first off, this being my first post i am glad i found this forum! much more to my way of thinking then most any other forum i am on... and i am on ALOT of forums!

but back to topic

i had never really thought much about guinea pigs until a few months ago. but i now have my beginning herd of lil pigs for meat animals. let me start this topic by posting links to info i have found on the topic already. next i will go on about what i am doing myself.

guinea pigs as meat thread from another forum http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/233748/guinea-pigs-as-meat/60

guinea pigs as meat thread from *another* forum http://therealknowhow.com/2012/03/07/raising-guinea-pigs-for-meat/

paragraph and short video on queensland couple who raise em for meat http://therealknowhow.com/2012/03/07/raising-guinea-pigs-for-meat/

article on couple from previous links video and their gpigs as meat http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/06/28/2287792.htm

"guinea pigs for meat production" published 1991 http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.echocommunity.org/resource/collection/E66CDFDB-0A0D-4DDE-8AB1-74D9D8C3EDD4/GuineaPigs.pdf

"guinea pig management manual" nov 2003 http://www.bensoninstitute.org/Publication/Manuals/guineapig.pdf

about guinea pig diet needs http://www.freewebs.com/aaguineapigs/Diet.html

high vitiman c foods list (because they cannot make their own vit c) http://cutiecavies.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=piggiesliketoeat&action=display&thread=1224

great nutrition chart even though its from a gpig pet "nutters" site (beware if you look around for the *breeding is evil* theme) http://www.guinealynx.info/chart.html

article on cuy introduced in california in a petco and sold as regular gpigs (i will explain the difference) http://www.guineapigtoday.com/2012/06/28/californias-giant-guinea-pigs-cuys-criollos-mejorados/
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i found a contact for the couple in queensland who raised gpigs as meat from the two of the links i listed previously. frank and elisabeth fekonia. sadly frank passed away (last year i believe) but elisabeth is still going strong. here is her reply to me:
"Hi there,

Yes, well I don’t keep them anymore as it was more of a meaty treat of my late husband.

When we had them he mostly fed them on freshly cut grass and legumes. Lettuce on the other hand is too soft

for them and should be avoided. They are like eating machines.

Like any livestock kept for meat- they need high protein feed to pack on the muscle and a bit of grain or pellets

will help with the protein boost too. Fed on grass they need very little water but a grain fed diet will have higher

water requirements. Breeds are everything and if you can get the meat variety they will be much more worth the

effort than the pet shop variety.


They are very hardy little creatures that breed even better than rabbits. Keep them dry in wet weather and warm

in the cooler time of the year and they will reward you with lots of tender tasty offspring.

You can skin them like a rabbit or dunk them in hot water to pluck their hair like a chook.

Have fun with that and when you cook them, do it in a marinade sauce as there’s no fat on them whatsoever.



Kind regards, Elisabeth Fekonia"

if interested she has a great site: http://www.permacultureproduce.com.au/
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
guinea pigs versus cuy

guinea pigs is what most people would call them. though originally in south america where they were domesticated and are still raised for meat they are called cuy or cui cui. sounds like koo-ee, like the noises the animals make.

the guinea pigs you find in pet stores and kids pets today are descendants from some cuy that were found and brought to be showed around and for super rich people as pets.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea_pig
"The common guinea pig was first domesticated as early as 5000 BC for food by tribes in the Andean region of South America (present-day the southern part of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia),[8] some thousands of years after the domestication of the South American camelids.[9] Statues dating from ca. 500 BC to 500 AD that depict guinea pigs have been unearthed in archaeological digs in Peru and Ecuador.[10] The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped animals and often depicted the guinea pig in their art.[11] From ca. 1200 AD to the Spanish conquest in 1532, selective breeding resulted in many varieties of domestic guinea pigs, which form the basis for some of the modern domestic breeds.[12] They continue to be a food source in the region; many households in the Andean highlands raise the animal, which subsists off the family's vegetable scraps.[13] Folklore traditions involving guinea pigs are numerous; they are exchanged as gifts, used in customary social and religious ceremonies, and frequently referenced in spoken metaphors.[14] They also play a role in traditional healing rituals by folk doctors, or curanderos, who use the animals to diagnose diseases such as jaundice, rheumatism, arthritis, and typhus.[15] They are rubbed against the bodies of the sick, and are seen as a supernatural medium.[16] Black guinea pigs are considered especially useful for diagnoses.[17] The animal also may be cut open and its entrails examined to determine whether the cure was effective.[18] These methods are widely accepted in many parts of the Andes, where Western medicine is either unavailable or distrusted.[19]

Spanish, Dutch, and English traders brought guinea pigs to Europe, where they quickly became popular as exotic pets among the upper classes and royalty, including Queen Elizabeth I.[8] The earliest known written account of the guinea pig dates from 1547, in a description of the animal from Santo Domingo; because cavies are not native to Hispaniola, it was earlier believed that the animal was likely introduced there by Spanish travelers.[1] However, based on more recent excavations on West Indian islands, it has become known that the animal must have been introduced by ceramic-making horticulturalists from South America to the Caribbean around 2500 BP,[20] and it was present in the Ostionoid period, for example, on Puerto Rico,[21] long before the advent of the Spaniards. The guinea pig was first described in the West in 1554 by the Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner.[22] Its binomial scientific name was first used by Erxleben in 1777; it is an amalgam of Pallas' generic designation (1766) and Linnaeus' specific conferral (175.[1]"


cuy are the light colored (i read that it is believed traditionally that the eating the dark ones is not good?? no idea on reasoning though. seem most all are white with orange/red/peach color.) and big bodied relatives. pet shop guinea pigs adult weight is 1-2lb with a few reachin up to 3lb though fairly rare. well with cuy they are meat animals and are bred as such, for size not color or hair style. so cuy adults are average 4lb though i'm reading up to 8lbs.

another difference in them being that guinea pigs usually live 5 to 7 years. the oldest i think i read was 13 years old, dont quote me on that one though... whereas cuy it seems live 2 to 2.5 years. but another thing to remember is that in cuy farms it goes that you should replace breeders after one year of breeding (start breeding at 4months+12 months=16 months) or after 6 litters.

cuy also i read tend to have ptylydactyly (spelling could be way off but bear with me here) which is having too many toes. meaning normally they have 4 toes on front feet and 3 toes on back feet, and with ptylydactyly they have more toes then that.
link with ptylydactyly info and pics http://www.guinealynx.info/feet.html
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
how long for a cuy to get to 4 lbs? That is starting to get to rabbit size. We butcher our rabbits at 4.5 lbs at about 10-12 weeks.

What are the production rates for cuys? how many litters per year, gestation rates, size of litters, etc?
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ok, been doing some research on them, and I raise rabbits (butcher almost 400 a year), so I have something to compare them to.

They go into heat every 2 weeks to 16 days. Gestation is 70 days. They can be weaned at about 3-4weeks or less (technically, they can be weaned at birth, but grow better with some milk). It seems they are butchered at 3-6 months of age, depending on size, etc. They can be free ranged easily, and don't run off, don't make burrows. They eat grass, veggies, scraps, and really just need to make sure they get some fruit or peels for Vit C.

Ok, so, you have a female, and she gets bred by the male, 2+ months later, they are born. 3 months after that, you can butcher them, if they are growing fast enough. Assuming everything goes right, you could get max 4 litters a year. Litters average about 3-4.

Compared to rabbits (30 days gestation, butcher at 3 months, ave litter 6), they loose on efficiency. If you are buying feed for them, go with rabbits, you will get more meat for the feed.

But, they win with the free range capabilities. If you had a grass lawn, you could do well with them, and you'd probably get by on very little purchased feed. Rabbits don't free range well, and require tractors to graze.

Very interesting stuff. If you could get the big ones (cuy), they might be efficient enough for folks that can't or won't raise rabbits.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Abe Connally wrote:ok, been doing some research on them, and I raise rabbits (butcher almost 400 a year), so I have something to compare them to.

They go into heat every 2 weeks to 16 days. Gestation is 70 days. They can be weaned at about 3-4weeks or less (technically, they can be weaned at birth, but grow better with some milk). It seems they are butchered at 3-6 months of age, depending on size, etc. They can be free ranged easily, and don't run off, don't make burrows. They eat grass, veggies, scraps, and really just need to make sure they get some fruit or peels for Vit C.

Ok, so, you have a female, and she gets bred by the male, 2+ months later, they are born. 3 months after that, you can butcher them, if they are growing fast enough. Assuming everything goes right, you could get max 4 litters a year. Litters average about 3-4.

Compared to rabbits (30 days gestation, butcher at 3 months, ave litter 6), they loose on efficiency. If you are buying feed for them, go with rabbits, you will get more meat for the feed.

But, they win with the free range capabilities. If you had a grass lawn, you could do well with them, and you'd probably get by on very little purchased feed. Rabbits don't free range well, and require tractors to graze.

Very interesting stuff. If you could get the big ones (cuy), they might be efficient enough for folks that can't or won't raise rabbits.


i think you are quite right about that.
personally i have rabbits that i raise for meat. they have issues of their own to run into. and i seem to hit many of those issues for some reason haha.

to me here is how i compare them...
rabbits have more litters in a year, though there are many possible things that can happen to mom or babies to loose them.
guinea pigs have less litters in a year, though babies are born pretty much able to do everything themselves if something happens to mom.

rabbits have to have pellets or grain mix with mineral supplement, and more of it if you want to breed alot for meat kits. so buy pellets, or buy grains and mix it yourself and buy minerals, or raise all your feed grain needed and still buy minerals.
guinea pigs are much easier to feed self-sufficiently. they need vitamin C to survive because they (like humans) cannot make their own in their body. (meaning if they dont get vit c they will get scurvy and likely die if not given vit c).

rabbits have to have cages or carefully prepared colonies. start-up cost is fairly high for buying cages or cage wire to make your own. i spent about the same making cages for 4 rabbits as i would on a 300ft roll of goat fence. and once kept in cages rabbits become territorial and fight when put together other then for breeding. meaning you have to start with babies and raise them together or start with 1 doe and 1 buck and go from their keeping does from her litters and bringing in a new buck for new genetics and switching out the old one. and their is still chances of fights between rabbits and may possibly kill each other. does can bite the testicals off buck rabbits. if 2 buck rabbits are kept together it almost never ends well at all, alot of blood and possibly death for the loser.
guinea pigs are very social animals and even in a fight it usually consists of "rumble strutting" (rumbly noises and walking around like "i'm the biggest baddest thing around") and chasing. some humping each other to work out the pecking order. biting is usually a last resort and is usually just a nip, maybe pulling out some hair if they really push the envelope, and rarely biting that draws blood. rarely does a certian guinea pig just not get along in the least with another for some reason and need to be seperated.

in a colony rabbits need wire on the ground (which will need replaced because it will rust and degrage) or brick/cement/etc solid flooring. will need some sort of bedding and it will need cleaned out periodically because rabbit urine is smelly. (i have a nest of 6 babies in my room right now that are 10 days old. the nest smells worse then the guinea pig pen with 6 grown pigs in it. nest cleaned every 2 days, pig pen hasnt been cleaned in over a week and smells only like hay). also it needs to have solid sides or very good wire sides to keep the rabbits in and predators out, and have a top. rabbits can climb pretty good actually and can jump really good, and even simply running start and run up the wall/wire. rabbit colony needs to be fairly large for any number of adults in it. smallest colony with maximum rabbits probably 8sq ft with 2 does and 1 buck.
in a colony guinea pigs can be on ground with no worries as they dont dig (one rabbit can dig a hole big enough to get into and about 8 foot long tunnel in a few hours). bedding can be used or if on a floor like cement or linolieum they can be kept on just fleece fabric (shake out the fleece in the yard/on compost pile/etc and wash and dry, lay back out. though 2 is better so you can just pull out the dirty one and put clean one in while you wash the other) which needs cleaned about once a week. personally i have a smaller area with fleece and a larger area with hay. fleece needs cleaned at least once a week and hay one hasnt been cleaned in almost 2 wks and smells like hay. (note my setup is on cement floor, plastic sheeting covered with cardboard (to hold urine) and covered with hay). my pigpen is made of grids for organizer things (basically same as C&C CAGE if you do an image search) and they are only 1ft by 1ft square. the guinea pigs rarely put their front paws up on the wall-grids and arent tall enough to get out anyway. though i have seen once online someone said their pet guiena pig was a jumper and liked to escape. though they dont really like jumping things generally. general guidlines i have found for gpig raising for meat farms is "The minimum floor space per animal is 0.75 sq. ft. (700 sq. cm.)" and "The female: male ratio is from 6:1 to 8:1." meaning in the same 8 sq ft you could would have 3 rabbits, you could have 10 guinea pigs.

you can have a "home base" area set up in your yard and guinea pigs wont roam too far from it. especially if you put out water/supplement with feed/have a cozy safe sleeping spot for them. they keep your lawn mowed nice and even. seems they dont take on trees or bushes and leave them alone though i read this from only one person so i cant guarantee that but its something i hope to find out myself. and as long as your "home base" is secure and you dont have hawks, cats, etc try and nab your piggies you should be set.
this will NOT GO WELL with rabbits. they burrow and could possibly ruin outbuildings even homes with their burrowing. the population explosion if they live and do okay would be absolutely disasterous for the area becuase they will eat areas to bare dirt and keep it that way. they will take out bushes and probably small trees, possibly girdle larger trees and kill them depending (never heard of this but i wouldnt put it past them as i know goats can demolish pines this way in an hour or less... lets just say neighbors had to pull out 5 stumps and put in flowers instead). and you will likely be chased down by a mob of angry gardeners and people in any sort of distance from you for the damages. and it IS illegal in the united states to do this because it is introducing non-natives, etc etc i dont know the technicalities but i see no good side for doing this. and thats considering your initial rabbits you let loose even live, and dont get eaten by coons or something, or drown in a local watersource, get chased to death by dogs/cats,....
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
that's an interesting assessment. I personally haven't had any major issues with rabbits, we keep 10 does and 2 bucks, colony style (bucks are separate). But none of the fighting and killing, etc that people warn you with rabbit colonies. They have minor squirmishes, but it rarely consists of more than a bit of chasing. I've never had a buck or doe or any other rabbit kill another rabbit. I think that's pretty rare.

But, I understand every rabbit is different, and every situation has different circumstances. That being said, the only issue we've really had with rabbits is losing a kit or two. But, when they kindle with 9 kits, that is to be expected.

For feed, if you have decent hay (alfalfa, timothy, etc) and some fresh greens, maybe a bit of grain, rabbits are fine. I know a lot of folks whole raise them on greens and alfalfa alone. And they do fine. I prefer a wider variety for the diet, and I think cuy do have some advantages in being able to subsist on less, but the Vit C requirement could become an issue for some people.

The space issue needs a bit of detail... In that 8 sf for 3 rabbits (1 buck, 2 does), could produce 70+ kits a year, or about 150 lbs of meat. In that same space, 10 cuy (9 sows, 1 boar) could produce 110 pups a year, or about 60 lbs of meat (assuming 2 lb butcher weight). So, while you can keep more cuy, they don't produce much meat for that space.

The free ranging is an obvious win for the cuy. I think that has a lot of merit. Rabbits don't do well on range, without tractors and stuff, and they definitely will eat trees and things. I don't have a yard, but I do have a lot of perennial grass that is nice and green through the summer. I cut and drop for the rabbits, but it would be nice to let the animals harvest their own.

You are right, they each have their issues and advantages. Advantages of rabbits include more efficient reproduction and meat production for unit of space and feed. Advantages of cuy include easier housing, lower feed requirements, and good on range.

I may get some to see how they do. It would be nice if I could find the super cuy, as the size thing is a big disadvantage to me.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
do you have any information on where to buy the cuy in the US?
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
true...

Abe Connally wrote:do you have any information on where to buy the cuy in the US?


so far all i can find is that they have been sold in a petco in california seemingly by accident (they just bought cheap guinea pigs that were bigger then normal). http://www.guineapigtoday.com/2012/06/28/californias-giant-guinea-pigs-cuys-criollos-mejorados/

in one of the two threads on this forum about guinea pigs there was someone who said they had a place to get guinea pigs from that were working on a large breed guinea pigs. they had put an email. i emailed the person and got a "email could not be sent" message immediately.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found a group on Yahoo that is discussing it, but I don't know if it is active.
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/PermieCuy

Also, I did a basic comparison of the numbers and details for rabbits vs cuy on my blog, based on everything I have been able to read on the subject in the past day or so:

http://velacreations.com/blog/item/320-guinea-pigs-vs-rabbits.html

The conclusion comes out that rabbits are more efficient in terms of meat production and space, but cuy are easier to feed if you have a yard or homemade feeds. I'm sure more information and comparisons will become valid as I continue researching and experimenting.

I may go to the city this week, and if I do, I will keep my eye out for big Guinea Pigs in the shops. At the very least, it will be worth having some around.

Another pro in terms of cuy is that apprarently, they are very good at keeping rats and mice away. That is a HUGE plus for me, because we can't have cats due to the rabbits and quail.
 
James Slaughter
Posts: 94
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One issue that I'm not certain has been raised, in my limited experience from doing this, guinea pig meat is nice and tasty while eating it, but seems to have a lingering, somewhat unpleasant flavor afterward. Apart from that, they're awesome animals, easy to handle, great for processing weeds and grass (give them fresh grass in the mornings and pelleted feed / horse feed at night and they will produce firmer, better digested manures) into an awesome pelletized fertilzer. In my opinion, even if you are not going to eat them, they're a great addition to any small scale (especially suburban) permaculture farm setup.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Abe Connally wrote:I found a group on Yahoo that is discussing it, but I don't know if it is active.
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/PermieCuy

Also, I did a basic comparison of the numbers and details for rabbits vs cuy on my blog, based on everything I have been able to read on the subject in the past day or so:

http://velacreations.com/blog/item/320-guinea-pigs-vs-rabbits.html

The conclusion comes out that rabbits are more efficient in terms of meat production and space, but cuy are easier to feed if you have a yard or homemade feeds. I'm sure more information and comparisons will become valid as I continue researching and experimenting.

I may go to the city this week, and if I do, I will keep my eye out for big Guinea Pigs in the shops. At the very least, it will be worth having some around.

Another pro in terms of cuy is that apprarently, they are very good at keeping rats and mice away. That is a HUGE plus for me, because we can't have cats due to the rabbits and quail.


psshh well if you see any i would love to know where you did!
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think you linked to this thread: http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=61591

Those people are pet people, but they are finding a lot of Cuy in the US, in all sorts of places. Maybe you could get on there and and contact some of the shelters. I wouldn't mention you are thinking of breeding or eating them...
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
also, try http://www.petfinder.com

on the left, select "Small & Furry", enter "guinea pig, and then enter your location. You might find some nearby. I noticed quite a few that looked more lke cuy than guinea pigs (typical red/white coloring, large, etc)
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
oh! very interesting! i have joined over there to ask about the cuy on that thread. hopefully my questions dont raise any red flags haha.

thinking i might post around craigslist, etc looking for large guinea pigs. even if i only get people needing to get rid of unwanted pets then i can pick my keepers i want and rehome the rest... or possibly taste test a bit
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
James Slaughter wrote:One issue that I'm not certain has been raised, in my limited experience from doing this, guinea pig meat is nice and tasty while eating it, but seems to have a lingering, somewhat unpleasant flavor afterward. Apart from that, they're awesome animals, easy to handle, great for processing weeds and grass (give them fresh grass in the mornings and pelleted feed / horse feed at night and they will produce firmer, better digested manures) into an awesome pelletized fertilzer. In my opinion, even if you are not going to eat them, they're a great addition to any small scale (especially suburban) permaculture farm setup.



*facepalm* how did i miss this post? naughty me haha.

interesting to hear. i have heard the meat tastes like rabbit only "sweeter".
another thing to tinker with after getting into the breeding is to test out recipes. i know with rabbit meat it fits well with most any chicken recipes and most pork recipes.
have to see how the meat is textured and what it goes well with. how to cook it so it might not have the aftertaste. possibly something that could be changed like some people have ways of taking gamey flavor out of wild rabbit/venison/etc?
 
James Slaughter
Posts: 94
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah, it tasted nice while you were eating it, not overly gamey, it just had this weird flavor that lingered on the tongue (despite drinking water) that was not enjoyed by either me or my girlfriend. I have also raised muscovey ducks, chickens, and squab pigeons all for meat. I haven't tried raising rabbits though I do prefer their flavor. Possum is also tasty...no idea if you could farm these on a home scale basis, though I do know that they are a pest species in New Zealand. Somewhat like the grey squirrels in the UK.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
finally got the album together so here it is: http://s1110.beta.photobucket.com/user/ohiogoatgirl/library/#/user/ohiogoatgirl/library/guinea%20pigs?&_suid=13545295377380608591759531265

now keep in mind i've spent only about $30 for all 6 pigs and the whole setup and feed so far the about month i've had them.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
girlwho walkswithgoats wrote:oh! very interesting! i have joined over there to ask about the cuy on that thread. hopefully my questions dont raise any red flags haha.

thinking i might post around craigslist, etc looking for large guinea pigs. even if i only get people needing to get rid of unwanted pets then i can pick my keepers i want and rehome the rest... or possibly taste test a bit


yeah, be careful on that board. I saw your posts, and I can tell you, people will get crazy about you letting your animals breed. They don't like breeders on that forum. Also, they seem to want people to have a guinea pig vet on hand and buy pellets and stuff. I've seen it mentioned several times that guinea pigs should never be outside and should have a pelleted diet. They obviously would get mad if they knew you were eating them, so leave that part out.

Some of these pet forums are truly fanatics. And they have some terrible device. Like surgery on a guinea pig! WHAT?!?!?! do not do that, put the poor animal down, out of its suffering, don't operate on a rodent.

Anyway, just be careful. I was reading through that forum last night, and it made me nervous for you!
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Abe Connally wrote:
girlwho walkswithgoats wrote:oh! very interesting! i have joined over there to ask about the cuy on that thread. hopefully my questions dont raise any red flags haha.

thinking i might post around craigslist, etc looking for large guinea pigs. even if i only get people needing to get rid of unwanted pets then i can pick my keepers i want and rehome the rest... or possibly taste test a bit


yeah, be careful on that board. I saw your posts, and I can tell you, people will get crazy about you letting your animals breed. They don't like breeders on that forum. Also, they seem to want people to have a guinea pig vet on hand and buy pellets and stuff. I've seen it mentioned several times that guinea pigs should never be outside and should have a pelleted diet. They obviously would get mad if they knew you were eating them, so leave that part out.

Some of these pet forums are truly fanatics. And they have some terrible device. Like surgery on a guinea pig! WHAT?!?!?! do not do that, put the poor animal down, out of its suffering, don't operate on a rodent.

Anyway, just be careful. I was reading through that forum last night, and it made me nervous for you!


ya i was skimming about too... some really nutty stuff over there...
i didnt see the stuff about the pellets only comments..?
i did know about the breeder bashing though. note i never said anything about me breeding, just a question of if it happened what would be the outcome. very carefully chosen words lol.
though i'm not so worried about someone starting stuff with me over there. wouldnt be the first time and i somehow doubt it will be the last, unfortunately. thanks though
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
well, keep us posted on what you find. Apparently, several shelters have the large cuy, so maybe you can get a few.
 
lyla moore
Posts: 37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hi girlwho walks with goats tried to pm you this morning but couldn't get it to send. So decided to try here instead. My email is lylamoore56@yahoo.com I would love to see your goats.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
finally got an album put together. so here is a link for pics of my starting herd and my set up.

http://s1110.beta.photobucket.com/user/ohiogoatgirl/library/guinea%20pigs
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
nice! a bunch of little fur balls!

Is there anything that can be done with the fur, like cut it similar to angora rabbits?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
TRIBBLES!!!


tasty tasty tribbles....


Their free ranging capabilities are really interesting.
 
James Slaughter
Posts: 94
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just looking at your setup, newspaper is really the easiest bedding material, be careful of straw as it tends to poke them and get lodged into their eyes...very nasty, and they tend to nibble on everything so plastics / polyester are not really great either. An easy way to keep them somewhat drier is to provide some sort of drainage (drill a few holes on on side of the place where they sleep and raise one end of the enclosure so that urine will drain away) otherwise their urine and faeces tends to form a muddy "bog", depending on how many you pigs you have. The animal is a coprophage, so I would not recommend cleaning out the whole area, leaving drier faeces for them to eat as they see fit. Cheers.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Abe Connally wrote:nice! a bunch of little fur balls!

Is there anything that can be done with the fur, like cut it similar to angora rabbits?


i have wondered the possibilities of this very idea. i have seen pictures of guinea pigs with hair types called "alpaca" and another one named after a sheep breed and probably a few more i cant think of... but i really dont see it being very sustainable way of getting fibers. i'm sure that there are probably some homespinners who would have fun dabbling with it and even the art yarn spinners would have a blast likely. but i dont think it would be worth having a bunch of the long haired types for the hair. being as the hair doesnt grow very fast and small as they are, isnt much to trim off and spin. plus the fact that they dont have much leg length so the long fiber would get matted and nastied up fast unless kept in a super amazingly clean kept cage.
the long hair ones i have the hair is rather thick. by this i mean the diameter of the hairshaft is thick. making it not as soft and not as springy as wool,etc. its actually alot like human hair especially on my long hair sow mayra. i'm sure someone could make a doll from her hair and people would swear that it was real human hair.


@ R scott
the free range capabilites are very interesting. i am currently drawing up ideas for free-range housing, "chicken tractor" type thing for them, as well as rotational pasture system.

another thought i had is that if you had your garden in raised beds the guinea pigs would be absolutely perfect for keeping the walkways trimmed and neat! i read from someone who had them run free in the yard that they never had to cut the grass and it was always pretty much evenly kept.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
girlwho walkswithgoats wrote:
the free range capabilites are very interesting. i am currently drawing up ideas for free-range housing, "chicken tractor" type thing for them, as well as rotational pasture system.

another thought i had is that if you had your garden in raised beds the guinea pigs would be absolutely perfect for keeping the walkways trimmed and neat! i read from someone who had them run free in the yard that they never had to cut the grass and it was always pretty much evenly kept.

I think this is where these little guys really shine. Being able to fit in a small niche area of the garden, farm, whatever.

I have been thinking that maybe they would be good in a barn to help clean up spilled hay and feeds. Trimming garden paths is another great one.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
James Slaughter wrote:Just looking at your setup, newspaper is really the easiest bedding material, be careful of straw as it tends to poke them and get lodged into their eyes...very nasty, and they tend to nibble on everything so plastics / polyester are not really great either. An easy way to keep them somewhat drier is to provide some sort of drainage (drill a few holes on on side of the place where they sleep and raise one end of the enclosure so that urine will drain away) otherwise their urine and faeces tends to form a muddy "bog", depending on how many you pigs you have. The animal is a coprophage, so I would not recommend cleaning out the whole area, leaving drier faeces for them to eat as they see fit. Cheers.


haha must have posted same moment i did last time.

my set up is on cement floor. plastic sheeting, cover with layers of cardboard, not eaten hay/grass. i havent cleaned the larger area since november 21, and it is now december 4. smells like hay. the plastic sheeting is under the layers of cardboard and though they nibble cardboard boxes,etc they dont nibble at it under their feet. and the edges of the plastic are on the outside so cant get to that.

the smaller "penthouse" top part i clean about once a week.

the hay doesnt seem to be bothering their eyes. i put hay and grass in a pile and they eat it and burrow under it and spread it out good. not really anything poking up to mess with their eyes at all.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Abe Connally wrote:
girlwho walkswithgoats wrote:
the free range capabilites are very interesting. i am currently drawing up ideas for free-range housing, "chicken tractor" type thing for them, as well as rotational pasture system.

another thought i had is that if you had your garden in raised beds the guinea pigs would be absolutely perfect for keeping the walkways trimmed and neat! i read from someone who had them run free in the yard that they never had to cut the grass and it was always pretty much evenly kept.

I think this is where these little guys really shine. Being able to fit in a small niche area of the garden, farm, whatever.

I have been thinking that maybe they would be good in a barn to help clean up spilled hay and feeds. Trimming garden paths is another great one.


i have thought about this as well. i have 2 milk goats and i've been thinking on how keeping the pigs in the barn might go. especially as wasteful of hay as my goats are >.<
first off, for me the biggest thing is predators. coons and possums mainly. neighbors have cows and coyotes get their calves sometimes or dying cows. but me and my family have never had a problem with them and we used to have alot of goats. so i would have to make a coon-resistant sleeping area for them and lock them in at night because my goat barn isnt coon/possum proof. (they dont mess with the goats).

secondly, i wonder what the goats would do. i've seen them browse along and have squirrells run within a foot of them with nothing to show the goat even noticed or cared. and on the goat paths i've seen a standing goat have a squirrell run right underneath of it. didnt seem to care. but i would worry about a goat trying to stomp them for being in the barn. or them laying on one (especially babies).

third, pregnant pigs would have to be moved to another pen because they move slower with their little legs and huge bellies. wouldnt want a fat momma getting stepped/kicked/laid on because she couldnt get out of the way fast enough.

fourth, i would need to add a barrier at the door to the goat barn. my goats go in and out as they please and i would only want the pigs in the barn to eat wasted hay. at least at first. so i would need to put a board or something at the bottom of the doorway. guinea pigs rarely jump and not high. the odd one will be a jumper though i have heard few stories. so far only my one boar even gets up on the little house thing in his pen and none of the rest.

fifth, wondering if the goat droppings and urine might possibly make them sick? as i hardly think i will ever meet or hear of anyone keeping them together it is just something i would have to try myself. guinea pigs dont really have alot of sicknesses though. my other thought on this would be if the bedding got too wet and their feet might get sores. but again, something i would just have to watch for if i tried it.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
still havent found info on cuy in the USA. someone on permiecuy yahoo group got info about having some shipped in. it would be around $700 for 6 cuy! so still looking into it...
but thinking about it i got antsy and my mind wandered into breeding ideas...

in this scenario i am going with 1 cuy sow and 3 pet type boars. this widens the genetic
pool of initial litters and would mean less likely to run into any inbred issues
from the breeding of high percentage litters later on. so this is more
sustainable long term.

this hypothetical plan is also just the breeding of the cuy sow over about a 2
year period. since cuy seem to live only about 2.5yrs, this plan would be last
litter at about the 2.5 yr old mark. so she would have 10 litters.

starting at 1/1/2013 and all initial animals (cuy sow, 3 pet type boars) are
breeding age and putting the next boar for breeding in with the sow a little
while before she births. taking advantage of the heat she will come into after
birthing. just about guaranteeing a next breeding. so the next breeding date is
the due date of the last litter. this is based from a 68 day gestation
(http://www.gestationcalculator.com/other/guinea-pig-calculator)
yes this would be back to back breeding. but b2b breeding is the way cuy are
bred to handle so should be able to handle it with good feeding.
*(75+%) = more then 75% cuy, sorry i'm bad with math.
(DNC) = dang near cuy. very scientific, i know

1/1/2013
pet type boar A x cuy sow = 1 (50%)boar A, 2 (50%)sows A
3/10/13
pet type boar B x cuy sow = 1 (50%)boar B, 2 (50%)sows B
5/17/13
pet type boar C x cuy sow = 1 (50%)boar C, 2 (50%)sows C
7/24/13
(50%)boar A x cuy sow = 1 (75+%)boar A1, 2 (75+%)sows A1
9/30/13
(50%)boar B x cuy sow = 1 (75+%)boar B1, 2 (75+%)sows B1
12/7/13
(50%)boar C x cuy sow = 1 (75+%)boar C1, 2 (75+%)sows C1
2/13/14
best 50% boar x cuy sow = keep sows
4/22/14
(75+%)boar A1 x cuy sow = 1 (DNC)boarA1A, 2 (DNC)sowsA1A
6/29/14
(75+%)boar B1 x cuy sow = 1 (DNC)boarB1B, 2 (DNC)sowsB1B
9/5/14
(75+%)boar C1 x cuy sow = 1 (DNC)boarC1C, 2 (DNC)sowsC1C
11/12/14


there is alot of variables here though. firstly you might get litter of all sows
or all boars. you might lose a litter. you might lose your keeper percentage
boar. the cuy sow might not be bred back right after breeding. the cuy sow might
die earlier.
tons of variables. i just made this out with the *best* variables i could think
of for showing example of what i think would be best laid plans for a high
percentage herd.

from this outline of sorts there is a foundation for an extremely large herd
with what i think would be good genetic pool.
the 2 (50%)sowsA could be bred to the 50% boars B and C. then later to the 75+%
boars B and C. and so on.

if anything doesnt make sense just ask!
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
and btw, yes i had to change my name on here :/ still me though. just not "girlwho walkswithgoats" anymore labeled on the dohickey.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
link to pics of all my pigs and current setup
http://s1110.beta.photobucket.com/us.../guinea%20pigs
i have their names listed so easier to tell i am pretty sure obi bred mukte nita last night. cause the set up is right next to my bed and i didnt fall asleep until like 4 AM so i seen them chasing and makin noise and him goin at her. hahahaha. he never took as long as a male rabbit takes to breed a female. but now both seem to be calmed down so i wrote it on the calendar, now time to wait.
and i think nizhoni napew might have bred mayra on november 28. they were chasin each other then. and after that calmed down.
so according to my nifty due date calculator (http://www.gestationcalculator.com/o...pig-calculator ) due dates are about 2/4/2013 and 2/10/2013.

and i might be getting 2 more. real young ones. possibly nizhoni napews babies!
also looking for larger bred guinea pigs locally and search is still on for actual cuy. though i have found that several people in UK/europe have some breeders!
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My wife's friend is a small animal specialist (worked for Benson Institute for a few years). He mentioned, about 25 years ago, that cuy in Peru had been successfully bred to reach 4 pounds, so I wouldn't doubt that someone has bred an 8 pounder by now. Cuy have comparatively recently begun to be bred in the same way rabbits and chickens have been bred for the last 200 years or so. I am sure there is still room for improvement.

I have noticed a definite increase in the size of cuy being sold in roadside stands. Here is a photo from October 2012 of cuy at a roadside stand near Cuenca, Ecuador (that's chicken on the skewer in the back):



A lot of the reference material available for raising cuy for meat, as well as blogs, lists and forums, is going to be in Spanish.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thats neat!

does your friend still stay in touch with the people who were working on the project? I would just LOVE LOVE LOVE to get some contacts! very few people seem to be even thinking about this, let alone working towards it. I would love to be able to offer to farm some and record all my findings and weights, etc.
.... I do believe I'm daydreaming about it now that I think about the possibility! even just starting with 2lb animals would be nice. my one boar is 2lb but the rest are just about a pound or a bit over...

OH and about that pet forum topic about the cuy... all of my comments have been moved to its own topic. titled "Extraneous Discussion" *falls over and flops around the floor laughing so hard*
so apparently asking questions about cuy on the ONE AND ONLY topic I found on there about cuy is extraneous... wonder where they got the definition of extraneous then...
ahh well. I have continued on, in said moved topic. though I am claiming to want to set up a rescue for *baby voice* "these poor wild piggies".... though in a way I would be. rescuing them. I would be taking extremely productive animals from homes where they are not meant to be housed as pets. and likely are getting ready to be dropped somewhere to be someone elses problem because its not a perfect little pet that is snuggly.
I would be taking these animals and putting them in housing that they would be safe in, have space and plenty of food, live happy and healthy lives,.. and be the productive animals that they have been bred for generations to be. and thats not to be someones pet.
 
James Slaughter
Posts: 94
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Before you go down the path too far, have you dispatched (killed, skinned, gutted, and cleaned) one yet? Till you do this, I don't think it is worthwhile daydreaming too much. It is not an easy thing to do.

Btw, make sure you can tell the boys from the girls, and keep them separated. They really are randy little buggers, and do start breeding at an amazingly young age (females at 4 weeks of age).
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kadence,

To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't worked directly with cuy in many years. For the past 10 or 15 years, he has, on the side, been developing the Coturnix quail industry in Ecuador.

You might try contacting agricultural universities. There may be someone doing active research in breeding cuy/cavy/guinea pig for meat production here in the States.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
James Slaughter wrote:Before you go down the path too far, have you dispatched (killed, skinned, gutted, and cleaned) one yet? Till you do this, I don't think it is worthwhile daydreaming too much. It is not an easy thing to do.

Btw, make sure you can tell the boys from the girls, and keep them separated. They really are randy little buggers, and do start breeding at an amazingly young age (females at 4 weeks of age).


i have not done a guinea pig yet, no.
though i have done: goat, chicken, turkey, deer, rabbit.
hope to add quail, cow, hog, sheep, guinea pig to the list.

yes i have rabbits as well and am catching on with how to sex the guinea pigs. rabbits are actually harder to sex i think so far. its said guinea pigs are able to reproduce as young as 3-4 weeks.
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
32
books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Andrew Parker wrote:Kadence,

To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't worked directly with cuy in many years. For the past 10 or 15 years, he has, on the side, been developing the Coturnix quail industry in Ecuador.

You might try contacting agricultural universities. There may be someone doing active research in breeding cuy/cavy/guinea pig for meat production here in the States.


neat. coturnix quail are on my wishlist of animals.

good idea about the ag services. i will have to look into that. thanks
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic