• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Eat Guinea Pigs!

 
Steven Baxter
Posts: 254
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Alright, never ate one, only had one as a pet, RIP Mugsy. But Now I'm curious. Enjoy

 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They're a big thing in Peru.  Many raise them for food.  No thanks, rather eat squirrel.  Which is delicious, by the way.
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1440
Location: Vancouver Island
25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Al Loria wrote:
They're a big thing in Peru.  Many raise them for food.  No thanks, rather eat squirrel.  Which is delicious, by the way.


Hard to catch squirrels in the city... can't shoot them, can't trap them in parks... this leaves the backyard for trapping... doesn't sound like a constant source. G.P.s look (from the video) easier to raise than rabbits as they seem to all be in one cage and rabbits have to be separated.... One rabbit would be a meal for the whole family, instead of 4 GPs.... or 4 squirrels. Chickens are too loud to keep in a no livestock allowed city (we just voted on whether to allow people to legally keep 3 to 5 hens and it got turned down).

We can get organic grown chickens (and eggs) year round, but learning to look after animals as a crop till we can move to more land in a place zoned ag, would be useful. Rabbits or GPs could be grown inside a building and not alert people to their presence.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've wanted to try eating guinea pig for ages.
When I was a kid I saw a photo of an enormous Peruvian 'kebab' looking thing of several entire, grilled GPs.
Suffice to say, I was impressed.
Unfortunately I hate the stupid things when they're alive: all that weird muffled squeaking and pissing everywhere, but if they're as delicious as that 'kebab' looked, I might get over it!
 
                          
Posts: 56
Location: Bremerton, Washington
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the very interesting link, Oracle.  It started me on quite a rabbit-hop of new ideas leading down new threads, etc.  I got a couple of exciting new YouTubers to subscribe to!

The couple look like really sweet, happy, and creative people.  I was sorry to see so many nasty comments by folks obviously having a knee-jerk reaction against ever eating something "cute", as if only unattractive animals ever deserve to die; or as if cows, chickens, and pigs aren't all smart and adoreable in their own ways.  The guinea pigs this couple raised were obviously well cared for, and as meat sources go .  It's an interesting solution to the problem of raising one's own meat supply sustainably, especially in a small area.

As a farm animal I also have to admire the guinea pigs as relatively QUIET, too.  Perfect for city dwellers. 

I wonder how easy they are to breed and care for? 
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Len wrote:
Hard to catch squirrels in the city... can't shoot them, can't trap them in parks... this leaves the backyard for trapping... doesn't sound like a constant source.


Len, you bring up a good point.  I hadn't though of that.  Not all of us live outside the city.  We live in a semi-rural suburban area and still have the ability to hunt.  Getting past the cute and cuddly part is what may keep me thinking GPs are not for me. 
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8975
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I admit having a problem with the cute aspect.  But I also think chickies and turkeys are cute and I'm able to kill and eat them. 

Does anyone know how well guinea  pigs do in the heat?  I know rabbits don't like hot weather.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Al Loria wrote:
They're a big thing in Peru.  Many raise them for food.  No thanks, rather eat squirrel.  Which is delicious, by the way.


Anthony Bourdain I think has ate them and remarked how delicious it was.  I would try it, but I am unsure if I want to raise the lil critters for food here.
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


  Ive actually considered doing this before. I still might. It is a very neat animal actually. i think its an ideal animal for suburban homesteading. With some fish, bantams for eggs and some guinea pigs youd be able to do rather well with a small amount of land, and rotate stock easy enough you could always keep the animals fed with a much smaller area then many other types of animals....

    Even a goat is out of my league in my current location (though it could live at my land I own I wouldnt be there to care for it) All these other animals though, I could do well with right where I am.
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
M. Edwards (fiveandahalffarm) wrote:
Man, what a cool video. I saw someone drop what looked like a rough comparison earlier in the thread to the effect that the yield (edible meat) from four guinea pigs would be equal to that of one rabbit. Can anyone expound a bit further on what to expect in terms of pounds per animal? They look quite delicious in pictures I've seen.. more akin to little suckling piggies than rabbits by my visual guestimation. I'm eager to try a batch. Do you feed the pet varieties alfalfa pellets? I wonder if they'd scour terribly on fresh pasture. There's a bit in one of the Joel Salatin videos floating around YouTube where he talks about his son's rabbit population suffering a 50% mortality rate for a number of years until pasture tolerance was throroughly bred into them.


Im no expert but Ive read into them before.... they have a few key nutritional needs, like vitamin c, they dont make their own.... but they are very adaptive to a wide range of diets being a rodent. I dont think it would take muh hassle to transition them to other foods then pellets. My grandmother ate one on vacation and said they were extremely tasty...

Theres some breeding work that has bred them to be much larger, some folks from south america are trying to re introduce them as food to the states. Its working in immigrant parts of some large cities.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8975
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"The Designers Manual" has a picture of a guinea pig house on pasture in an orchard, so it looks like you can raise them on whatever weeds are available, plus making sure they get vitamin C from greens or vegetables. 
 
Bob Carder
Posts: 8
Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
SILVERSEEDS wrote:
they have a few key nutritional needs, like vitamin c, they dont make their own....


Yes, interestingly the only animals that don't make their own vitamin c are guinea pigs and humans. Just a coincidence I'm sure 

I've also considered this on and off throughout the years. Despite raising my own goats as well as hunting I like the idea of guinea pigs and this may inspire me to finally take the leap.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lots of kids kept them when I was young. They were always in a mesh-bottomed hutch and just shuffled over every day. I don't remember them being fed anything but what they stood on and random things from the garden, but being a kid, I was quite possibly oblivious to grown-up details like the pigs' actual dietary requirements...
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd9/5/gp951.htm

http://wanderinggaia.com/2010/09/05/guinea-pig-power/

this guy has a great set up!!! he is powering his home with them!!! although hes got a market for them to... still very neat though.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8975
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Inspiring! 
 
                          
Posts: 56
Location: Bremerton, Washington
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


Thanks, Silverseeds!  Great info. 
Such a shame, though, that in the second article they couldn't think of anything less crude to call the excrement than "shit".  I'm not a prude, but I didn't expect to hear that from a reporter doing a respectful piece.  I was surprised how difficult it made it for me to read that piece. 
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"The ingenious people of the rural town of Pachacamac, outside Lima, are using the furry fellas to light their homes, cook their food, grow their veggies, power their televisions and, this is Peru after all, line their bellies."

Crap.. so I guess it's only okay to eat the things if you're Peruvian? Or does the rest of South America get a pass as well for being uncivilized dark people? Thank you, kind journalist, for your clarification.
 
                          
Posts: 56
Location: Bremerton, Washington
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
M. Edwards (fiveandahalffarm) wrote:Crap.. so I guess it's only okay to eat the things if you're Peruvian? Or does the rest of South America get a pass as well for being uncivilized dark people? Thank you, kind journalist, for your clarification.


Yeah, I noticed that too. 

One of the sad things about being prejudiced or bigoted is that you rarely see it in yourself.  I'm sure the reporter thought they were being open-minded for not retching all over the paper at the thought of someone eating what was, to them, a pet from high school named "Mr. Whiskers".
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i dont know... i took that to simply mean that in peru you find them at the grocery store or farmers market, and here you find them in pet stores.....

either way, i am seriously considering undertaking this. especially once I was re reading these links i posted (I had saved these from looking into it awhile back) and remembered that they are higher in protein, but lower in fat. not that im to worried about fat, but a nice high quality protein, my own grandma told me is extremely tasty? she travels all over and eats at all these gourmet places. I never heard her use the word extremely.

  Plus its much more efficient then beef. According to what i was reading last night, sheep and goats and cows eat roughly 8 pounds of food to grow a pound, and yeah that all depends on diet Im sure.... guinea pigs it is less then 3 pounds for them to grow a pound! Of course Im not sure they accounted for the bone mass and such, but either way its an efficient animal. If its a good year I could raise a bunch, a hard year I can widdle down the flock, and breed it back up real fast if need be later. Its really versatile like that.... personable and easy to keep happy to.
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was watching Anthony Bourdain this morning out of the corner of my eye while reading the news, and something caught my attention. Capibaras. They range wild all over South America, and in some instances are farmed. I dunno how you'd get ahold of breeding stock, and suitable habitat could be an issue in a climate like mine (semi-arid Mediterranean), as they are semi-aquatic creatures; but they're substantially larger than their guinea pig cousins, and the meat looks lovely. Its flavor is purportedly akin to that of pork. Maybe could be raised as a less destructive alternative to pigs if you could create a suitable environment for them?
 
                            
Posts: 42
Location: Central Missouri
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What I've read concurs on their efficiency.  Basically, the smaller the animal the better they are at converting food to protien.  As in, skip the turkeys and chickens, and go for quail. I'll assume the same goes for GP's
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yeah i did want quail over chickens because of their efficiency, but you need permits for them here. so im going to work on breeding good laying bantam chickens. which if they laid as well as larger ones im betting would be more efficient based on the numbers I saw once in regards to their feeding habits per weight.... I wont know until i try i guess.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8975
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There seem to be a few breeders of capybara in the US.  Apparently in some or possibly most states you need a permit to have them. Most or all breeders are of exotic pets, so they will be expensive.

"Current price on our hand raised, bottle baby capybaras is $600 per animal."

http://www.kapiyvaexotics.com/index.html
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I read a bit further as well, and found this:

"In California, a single capybara is required to have 100 square feet of cage space, with each additional capybara requiring 50 additional feet of space and a five foot ceiling. A pool and gnawing logs must also be placed in the cage."

This is in addition to having the animal examined before transport across our state line by a government veterinarian, assuming we can't locate a breeder here.

Crap.. how do you explain to them the beasties aren't for display in a zoo?
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1440
Location: Vancouver Island
25
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
CrunchyBread wrote:
Thanks, Silverseeds!  Great info. 
Such a shame, though, that in the second article they couldn't think of anything less crude to call the excrement than "shit".  I'm not a prude, but I didn't expect to hear that from a reporter doing a respectful piece.  I was surprised how difficult it made it for me to read that piece. 


English is not her first language. For her "shit" is the English word for whatever faeces in Spanish. (I think Spanish, I could be wrong) Her English is actually very good. I have worked with a lot of people with English as a second language and the use of what we consider "coarse" language is very common. Some one swears and they ask what that word means... and so that is the word they use for that purpose thereafter.
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Len wrote:
English is not her first language. For her "shit" is the English word for whatever faeces in Spanish. (I think Spanish, I could be wrong) Her English is actually very good. I have worked with a lot of people with English as a second language and the use of what we consider "coarse" language is very common. Some one swears and they ask what that word means... and so that is the word they use for that purpose thereafter.


Mm.. some healthy perspective into the author's background. I probably spoke too quickly as well.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8975
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
M. Edwards (fiveandahalffarm) wrote:

Crap.. how do you explain to them the beasties aren't for display in a zoo?


It's unfortunate but I suppose there's a reason these things are regulated - apparently they breed like mad and easily overwhelm the owners who then might release them to the wild; there's some feral ones in Texas (or at least one has been photographed in the wild).  Could become a problem like the nutria, etc.   
 
Heda Ledus
Posts: 70
Location: San Francisco
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Microlivestock-Guinea Pigs
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1831&page=241

They say its a ratio of 2:1 in terms of feed to weight gain; amazing! They can deal with tropical heat but I was wondering if you cross the curly long hair fancy GPs with the giant ones would they be able to resist cold better? Even high in the Punas they are kept close to warmth.                 
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1440
Location: Vancouver Island
25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This one place where the internet fails.... try looking up guinea pigs and all the sites seem to be about pets. Nothing on the pelts or fur, (hey, if I'm going to grow them, what all can I get out of them?) except how to care for it and wash the poor animal. How long they live.... I want to know how long to pot

Lots of stuff on one or two to look at.... but most of the how to eat/cook/farm are of the that's yucky kind of sites. One of the things that put me off rabbits is all the gear... separate cages.... move this one here and that one there. It doesn't seem very perma-anything.

guinea pigs on the other hand can all be kept together.... in a pen. Left to themselves, they breed, and raise their young and get along together well. Pull the excess males and be happy. They are small... one site suggested that two or three would be a meal... so my 4 for my family may be short. its one of those try and see things. Something else that points to the size is that the recipes that I find include the guts as part of the stuffing. I was hoping for something the size of a Cornish hen... maybe not.

The by-laws here are written strange. The only animals allowed in the yard, are dogs and cats.... so I could keep a goat if it was never outside... or chickens if they were quiet... but only as pets (I guess that means I would have to give them all names ).
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Runs into the "too small a package" problem. I find rabbits are the low end and they are quite a bit bigger than guinea pigs. Chickens are marginal but at least lay eggs and eat insects.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8975
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Small packages eliminate the need for refrigeration.

 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay for one person dining but for large families it means opening multiple small packages. There is a lot more packaging and waste.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8975
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
132
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, that makes sense.   
 
Shawn Bell
Posts: 156
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you harvest for each meal, there is no packaging...no waste.

My Grandmother tells of going out to get a chicken for supper, and she ain't talking KFC.
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
 I think the small packages need less refrigeration is a major point. I dont see how it matter how large the individual animals are. they are VERY easy to skin and clean up. Its also much more efficient then most animals, and much easier to care for then rabbits, not that rabbits are hard, but these are easier from what I gather....

  personally their size is the main reason Im strongly considering raising these. small size and their diet ranges enable me to keep a flock at nearly any level of feeding needs, and build up my stock fast....  like when food is abundant, I can raise and eat lots of them, as it cools down I save the best ones over winter..... at that point I can concentrate more on my fish pulling them from their tanks having grown them to size in the warmth. they dont eat much in winter but they dont loose much weight either.... eggs, and chickens as I have extra.... I might never need to use the fridge for anything but left overs, and be able to have a few choices on meats....
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Shawn Bell wrote:If you harvest for each meal, there is no packaging...no waste.


Digestive tract (guts), lungs, bladder, bones, skin, brain, etc. Lots of "packaging" there.
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
pubwvj wrote:
Digestive tract (guts), lungs, bladder, bones, skin, brain, etc. Lots of "packaging" there.


yeah but still very easy to process it out of that package. It takes seconds according to everything Ive read. Its also still more productive per pound of meat then goats or sheep or cows, much more actually.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
SILVERSEEDS wrote:yeah but still very easy to process it out of that package. It takes seconds according to everything Ive read.


Rather than just reading, I've done it, a lot for rabbits, sheep, pigs, ducks, chickens, etc. The guinea pig will be more like a rabbit but not nearly as much meat. Both are a lot less productive than doing a pig..

SILVERSEEDS wrote:Its also still more productive per pound of meat then goats or sheep or cows, much more actually.


So if you want efficiency do pigs. They have about a 70% yield, almost double any of the other animals including guinea pigs.

Actually though, if someone wants a small package of meat I would suggest rabbits rather than guinea pigs because the rabbits have a lot more meat. Guinea pigs are closer to rats in meat content. Chickens are another good choice because you also get the eggs.

Great thing is, you choose.

Enough said.
 
                                              
Posts: 500
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


  Ive got no room for pigs, nor the ability to feed them, and no where close enough space to keep a breeding population.

guinea pigs are much tastier then rabbits according to my grandma anyway, shes eaten them. Its also a bit more versatile imo.  the meat is also MUCH healthier then rabbit or beef or pork or any you listed.

  I am doing chickens for sure, have them now, fish also.

  and of course your right, my choice for me, yours for you.... for me im more convinced by the hour, this is the perfect animal to round out my production of meat efforts..... Later on i will have goats and lots of other stuff, not an option now though.....

  also if your not aware, Im not sure its easy to get them, but theres a new selection of guinea pigs, that are much bigger, but personally I think their size is perfect. single serving for each person according to all Ive read, real easy to clean.

  Im not going to do it, but if I Had to, I could feed the guinea pig poop to the fish and probably chickens. 18 percent protein and makes a decent feed, although not as the sole source of feed. I doubt Id ever do that, but its col to know I could if I needed to....
 
                          
Posts: 56
Location: Bremerton, Washington
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I saw a setup one man designed which suspended GP cage over a fishtank to recyle their poop instantly.  Much as I like the idea of not having to muck out a stable of them, I know I also read that part of their diet is actually supposed to be supplemented by eating some of their own poop.  I have no idea how that's supposed to work, but there you go.  I'd be afraid that if they had no access to any poop ever sitting around they might actually have a nutritional deficiency.

But then again, I only know what I've read.  I never even raised a hamster.
 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic