I would definitely say you are raising on a large scale.
I was thinking they could be a pleasant alternative to rabbits for BARF for my dog. I wanted to know about growth rates (1 lb target live weight), feed conversion, individual space requirements, labor requirements & medical concerns, especially as compared to rabbits.
The main problem is that they have a pretty low reproductive rate. Gpigs tend to have a VERY long gestation rate, 70 days, and only have on average 3-4 babies, unlike rabbits at 30 days and up to 14 kits.
You'd be looking at about 4-5 months to get to a 2 pound animal, and dressed out, an adult animal (32-36 oz) would probably yield roughly a pound of meat. The skull would be the largest and heaviest portion, weighing about a third to half a pound, but if you're doing a whole foods thing, the larger dogs (not sure about what breed you raise) would PROBABLY be able to handle the large skulls, if you feed rabbits now, but... the skull is a pretty major part of the animal.
As far as to the one pound growth rate, you're looking to achieve this at about 8-10 weeks of age, but again, that's NOT dressed out, that's full animal. Babies (up to about 5 weeks) honk through the food, and you will find that they start eating solids at about 4-5 days of age, some will start nibbling on pellets at about.. 2-3 days of age. They're born fully furred and ready to go, and VERY cute I might add, until they get to that 12 week intermediate 'teenager' stage.. lol Babies do tend to go through a LOT of feed. I typically go through about ... maybe 150 pounds or slightly more per week? Cavy feed is much more costly on average (generally about 2x more) than rabbit feed is, due to their need for ascorbic acid, and also because most commercial rabbit feeds have antibiotics in them, you cannot use them for cavies for two reasons: 1. Cavies need about 30 mgs/kg of Vit C per day, and it breaks down in 90 days so the stuff HAS to be fresh. 2. The antibiotics used in rabbit feed to prevent the spread of coccidiosis is rather harsh and somewhat toxic for cavies. Hence, you're doubling your feed bill for half the output...
One of the brands I noticed it on was Purina. I had been feeding it 50/50 with Mazuri cavy, and all of the sudden, a bunch of us who were feeding this mix (it might have been advanced show blend, the higher of the two proteins) were noticing blood in the urine and stool of our pigs and unexplained deaths. Somebody realized that the feed had been reformulated to include antibiotics. No change was done on the packaging, except one tiny line on the ingredient tag.
Many may not carry that antibiotic, but unless you know what to look for... you might not notice it. I know I hadn't until it was too late for a few of my animals.
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