guinea pigs for meat

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by akane, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. akane

    akane Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Seeing as this has no other place and guinea pigs fall under the ARBA here is my guinea pig meat thread. It's an idea I've been kicking around for awhile. Unfortunately mutt pigs around here cost more than show pigs specifically because people don't want their guinea pigs to go for food and the pet stores want $35-$40 but I managed to acquire someone's entire herd free who just ended up with them getting out of hand. You know that pregnant female from the pet store story. I picked out the biggest boar to put with the 3 females and we are off. (with a 70 day wait!) We also have a little boar I got elsewhere that I liked who went back to his previous home temporarily for treatment of respiratory infection symptoms. Those boars will run my mutt herd.

    Friday we experiment butchering a guinea pig with the extra boars. Good luck finding online info on how to do that with the AR groups so crazy about their pigs they've achieved world domination of the net for pig info. I'll update Friday how it goes and try to take pics without getting my camera gooey. We'll also see how they compare to rabbits in care, feed, growth rate, and resulting meat. Most will probably just be pet food though. The lack of fat in rabbit is causing problems with the amount we use it in the dogs' raw diets. We are having trouble securing higher fat sources that aren't $3/lb and after having free range eggs they won't eat even the organic store bought as a supplement. It's really hit our dog food bill and health to lose our house and farmland which included our various poultry.

    I may also get some silver agouti or silver white cresteds show quality at the show this weekend since they cost as much as mutts anyway. Might as well produce something I can also sell some of. I'm sure I can stash a pair away somewhere.
     
  2. lexa

    lexa Well-Known Member

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    I used to work with girl from Peru and she told me that every household there has a breeding pen of them for meat.
    I have toyed with idea as well, in case we would not be able to keep chickens or rabbits. Surely, I would be able to keep "pet" gunea pigs.
    From the research I have done on them, they have genetics that would allow for production of commercial strain. Peruvian ones, according to my friend and reading I have done, are much bigger than pets here. It would be nice to import them but it is not possible at the time, so the best you could do is to breed your own strain with good meat/bone ratio.
    I also like silver aguties and crested ones, those are my faves, but don't they tent to be smaller than traditional ones?
     

  3. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am interested to hear your results. The problem with guinea pigs is they grow slower, are much smaller, take twice as long to have babies, have half as many, and require more specialized care.

    Seems its a lose lose situation. However, the babies are born fully done and hit the ground running. If you have the time and space, I think it's worth experimenting with.

    There is usually one judge at each show I go to that does the guinea pigs that come. There are always some. When I went to the new years eve show last year there were more than I had ever seen, and a lot of babies for sale for less than 20 bucks. I also leaned then, that most breeders do not keep pedigrees on their gp's. They run them colony style with multiple boars.
     
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  4. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    There's always a way to select for bigger and faster growth.

    I believe there is a pig called a 'super pig' that is supposedly bigger. I've never been able to find them online anywhere.

    Is there a 'big' breed of guinea pig? One that is generally larger than the rest?
     
  5. Barnhouse

    Barnhouse Well-Known Member

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    Wow, this is interesting. I was just thinking the other day, it's a shame you can't eat guinea pigs. I didn't realize that you can.

    Is it like the cornish game hen of ARBA?
     
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  6. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    I have been free ranging guinea pigs for quite a few years.
    If you are wanting to use them as a food source they will have to be free ranged. For the amount of feed needed to grow one to butchering size you could raise just about any other small animal and come out ahead.

    It is very easy to free range them and they need little to no care. They don't even need water. They can find their own food. Many of the older guinea pigs will not have any litters. They are slow growers but the free ranged ones do get a little larger and fatter than the cage raised ones.

    They are fun to watch and nothing looks better than a mother guinea pig and her litter grazing in the back yard.

    Raising them for food would be a loosing thing. They do have a lot of meat for so small an animal.
     
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  7. GBov

    GBov Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How do you free range them and keep them safe from all the things that eat little livestock?
     
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  8. Barnhouse

    Barnhouse Well-Known Member

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    No predator problems?
    You just put them in a fenced area, or how does this work?
     
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  9. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Look up a Patagonia Cavy :) Now that is one you can eat! Capybara's also come to mind.
     
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  10. akane

    akane Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Except at several $100 each you could just sell those and buy enough other meat for a year. :p I saw a patagonia cavy on hoobly for $350. If I had the money I'd raise some. They are interesting.

    They may take another month to produce offspring but their offspring come out equal to a 4 or 5 month old rabbit so you don't really lose anything there. They are just in their mother instead of in a nest box while growing fur and developing the ability to eat solid food. Plus they can breed as early as 3 weeks.

    They seem to be more efficient when feeding them on table scraps than actual feed. In peru they live off vegetable peelings and forage and often have houses set up for them right in the kitchen.

    Free ranging guinea pigs is easy because they will establish a home base and not run off. A chainlink fence and a shelter with a small hole or very low works well because they will actually stay in the yard despite being able to duck through the chainlink. We raised them that way for years when I was a kid until my stepdad left the gate open after mowing. They could have headed off in to the wild blue yonder any time they wanted but they stayed in our yard because they knew it was safe and only ducked through the fence when we were on the inside trying to catch them. Then they used our deck which was only about 6" off the ground to hide under from weather and other predators. We only ever lost a few pups here and there to who knows what. Maybe stray cats, maybe birds. Bonus is you don't have to go around chopping weeds along edges your mower can't get because the pigs love to run along things and will eat the weeds down. Unfortunately I cannot do that at this time. They will have to cage raise for now.
     
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  11. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    I have a 6ft. privacy fence around my place with a hot wire at the top.
    Also have plenty of bushes, small trees, and bamboo for them to live in. One of their favorites is a row of pampas grass.

    My dog keeps most predators out and my muscovey drake takes care of the flying ones. Haven't lost any bird or animal in a long time.
     
  12. sherry in Maine

    sherry in Maine Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have considered doing this as well. (just to feed my dogs, I also raised rabs with my kid for af ew years.)
    Anyone I spoke to about it acted like it was revolting and unthinkable. The breeders who acted that way made me wonder if they even knew where g.p.s were from and what they were used for elsewhere. . . .

    There's a place in CT I think that sells dog food (rawfood) and they also raise & sell g.p.s for 8 bucks a lb, I think or maybe 4 bucks, cant recall. I'd love to try it out on my dogs, especially the one who is allergic to chicken.
     
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  13. akane

    akane Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There's a strain of guinea pig imported to europe recently that gets about double and a half the size of your average pet guinea pig and probably 3 times the size of many show guinea pigs. The term cuy is often applied to them and also used when discussing any guinea pig as meat or native from peru. I've seen pictures of a few and they are near the size of a commercial rabbit. They apparently though suffer health issues and short lifespans because of complications in increasing the size so much. They haven't picked up as pets and spread much for that reason.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
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  14. Barnhouse

    Barnhouse Well-Known Member

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    Good grief, that looks like one you could ride.
    That's not what I think of when I hear guinea pig, but it sure looks interesting!
     
  15. Treewhisper

    Treewhisper Well-Known Member

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    When i was a kid my cousin used to raise guinea pigs colony style in his back yard and supplied all the pet stores in three counties with baby guinea pigs. It was quite lucrative!

    Where i live people are giving them away for free on craigslist. What does gp meat taste like?
     
  16. Millroad

    Millroad Well-Known Member

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    In South America they call it cuy (pronounce quee) and yes, it is eaten everywhere. Here it is plated up:


    Travel: The Cuy As Dinner
     
  17. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I've thought about this in the past as well. I wish there was more information out there. Wonder if they would eat my raspberry canes or blueberry bushes. Wonder if they would chew on fruit tree bark. I imagine they would.
     
  18. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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    My objective would be to have them as a supplement. In my thinking they would be converting something inedible to me (grass) into something edible with very little effort on my part. Also with the benefit of being able to run around and keep themselves alive till I need them, and of being of a small enough size to not be a food storage issue if refrigeration wasn't available.
     
  19. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    No, they won't eat tree bark or raspberry or blueberry bushes. You can have a whole herd in your yard and the only way to tell they are there is you probably won't have to mow.
    They graze the grass. I have all of those things growing in my yard and they have never bothered a thing. They eat weeds also. My yard is just about weed free.
     
  20. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    During the winter I do feed them some grain and rabbit pellets.
    I can't think of any animal or bird that can live with less care.
    They will need some place to hide and den up. Mine like the pampas grass.
    Just be sure the house cats are not allowed in the yard.