Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
MentalSquint

Alright guys: Guinea Pigs?

63 posts in this topic

I know a lot of you folks are from Aus., and can't raise rabbits. I know the Peruvians have raised guinea pigs for food, and continue to do so. So much that the market has taken off in the US. I know it's a sensitive issue to people who raise them as pets, just like rabbits, quail, fish, chickens, etc. Are they a viable meat option to rabbits? Are there any laws in Aus. prohibiting this?

From what I've read they can be kept on a well maintained diet without commercial pellets (although people with winters or a lack of a greenhouse or aquaponics system would have to resort to pellets or put up hay) , and a pair can yield up to 260 offspring in two years. I've also read that they don't dress out very easily, and that their fur is soft and lacelike. Unfortunately due to domestication the US, and I'd assume most of the world outside of areas in South America, don't have the larger breeds they usually use for meat production.

I'd assume that like rabbits their droppings can be directly applied to garden plants without burning them?

http://www.echotech.org/mambo/images/DocMan/GuineaPi.PDF This is where I found most of the information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was reading an article about using fodder trays to grow feed for guinea pigs. Never thouth about why they needed so many.:eek: I've wanted to experiment with AP water and fodder production for generating mulch for other parts of the garden and feed for chickens. It could be one way of using AP to generate food for guinea pigs or rabbits, goats etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone eaten guinea pig and if so what did you think of the preparation and taste?

Gwen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not the fact that they're normally considered pets that turns me off: It's all the flamin' work required for such a small ammount of meat! Then again, the same could be said about quail I guess, and they're a great barbeque item. Using the pelts to make a patchwork quilt would be a bit of fun too, wouldn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mark,

You just took me one step closer to snacking on guinea pigs.

GaryD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm likewise! Although my dear wife (who is a vego ) thinks I am becoming somewhat of a barbarian! Suppose I should take that as a compliment!

I have been poking around a few places online, and I think I have uncovered a "underground" GP breeders group that don't just keep them because they are cute. There is talk of a giant strain in Oz, which I will quantify and report back.

As an aside, we took the kids out to a wildlife funpark (former pheasant farm) - Gumbaya Park yesterday, and they had a 20'x20' pen with free ranging GP, and they had at one end which was split level a glassed in honeycomb maze underground for the critters to sleep in. Very cool, and those little guys looked about as happy as a GP can be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Barbarian, see if ya can collect a few recipes too!

Now, if Guinea Pigs could be upsized to the extent that rabbits such as these are......

.....Bid...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to tempt you all, here is a episode of my most favourite barbarian - Andrew Zimmern - Bizarre Foods series

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuXKGuxB9Zc

This guy is awesome, how he traverses the globe immersing himself into the eating cultures of primarily lower socio economic folk - and helps to get the idea out of your head that you cant eat xyz critter because....

As his tag goes "If it looks good - EAT IT!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I saw that Bizzarre Foods episode and while some of Andrew's adventures leave me cold, I remember thinking "why not?" when he ate the guinea pig......particularly when he likened the taste to shoulder pork.

Closer to home, I located

on YouTube.....featuring Frank Fekonia from the Sunshine Coast. He and his partner Elisabeth eat guinea pigs.

I rang Elisabeth and she told me that, these days, Frank scalds the carcases in hot water to remove the fur (rather than skinning them).....and they've discovered that they prefer the taste with the skin on. Frank apparently only feeds the guinea pigs grass and legumes.

The benefits offered by guinea pigs (relative to farmed rabbits) include:

  • Compact – a complete breeding and rearing system can be accommodated in a few square metres.
  • Fit in nicely with a 30 day production cycle.
  • Lean, nutritious meat .
  • Easily processed – can be scalded and hair scraped off or skun like a rabbit. Use a sandwich maker to cook – use a marinade.
  • No prohibitions – unlike rabbits.
  • Readily integrated into a Microponics system.
  • Hardy – don’t contract myxamatosis or calicivirus like rabbits.
  • Able to be fed a home-grown diet – including the coarse grass that grows on our place.
  • Housing – on wire or on the ground
  • Multiplies rapidly – though not as fast as rabbits.
  • Unlike rabbits, they don’t gnaw or jump……and nor do they bite (often).

The only real issue is the 'Bambi' Syndrome where people will see them as pets rather than food.....even though they were originally domesticated in South America as a food source.

GaryD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The only real issue is the 'Bambi' Syndrome where people will see them as pets rather than food.....even though they were originally domesticated in South America as a food source.

Garyd

Thats interesting. When I was asking about quail people would give me a funny look when I asked what they tasted like. Now if you go to a fancy restaurant people will pay through the nose for a quail dish. Now it got me thinking of other top shelf dishes I've heard about but never tried.

pheasant,snail,frogs legs, partridge etc I like mussels and oysters also. It occured to me that the menu from your own back yard may end up the envy of a lot of people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But it is funny in a way though, that we should be somewhat surprised that we are interested in eating things that have had a pretty great life , on a pretty great diet.

By golly though, most folks totally freak out about GP on the BBQ - But rabbit is ok of course! Pleeeease!

Sometimes the average "westerner" scruples are just far too contemptible.

Gary - sign me up! Cuy over charcoal is a GO!

Must now run off and see if there are some good genetics getting around before making an acquisition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Anniefish,

Umm Gary, what does Jan think?

Jan, like most people, has the ability to partition the animal kingdom into convenient categories like food, pets, interesting things to look and others (like snakes and spiders) to be horrified at.......so it's unlikely that she will get into eating guinea pigs anytime soon.

I have a rather more logical approach and, like Mark, don't see them as much different to rabbits in terms of their prospective use for food. They're a rabbit without the ears......or a rat without the tail (but with a much cleaner diet).

Duff.......I've eaten everything on your list except the frog's legs and they are all good. A friend of ours went out to dinner at a bush tucker restaurant for his birthday last weekend.......and he ate possum. It seems that they are being farmed for food in Tasmania.

I'm inclined toward the view that if you give your animals good food, a good life and a quick and painless departure, you are achieving something that most large scale meat rearing and processing operations don't even come close to. Geez, most people on the planet don't get it that good.

Mark - get that BBQ lit......I'm coming over!

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the current price of $10 each around here one would certainly hope that they would breed very quickly, especially if intended for the plate. Referring back to the u-tube clip in Mark's post, it would appear that the method used to prepare the cuis there was to scald them in very hot water and remove the fur, rather than gut and skin them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bid,

I'm sure you realise this - but just in case. You still 'gut' them!

A rabbit you skin then eviscerate

A chicken you scald, pluck (or pick), then eviscerate (though I also skin my chickens to save plucking - I hate the smell of wet feathers).

with a GP it sounds like you can do either scald & defur or skin.

Once you try one, I'd be interested in your opinion on taste and texture - also the quantity of meat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

By golly though, most folks totally freak out about GP on the BBQ - But rabbit is ok of course! Pleeeease![/Quote]

I find even with rabbit there is a large divide - from people who are impressed to people who are disgusted (mind you most of them eat lamb - lambs aren't cute I guess). Even those that are keen to eat the resulting dish still can't believe that I can 'process' my own 'cute little bunnies' :)

I'm keen to give GP a go, but I'm worried that even my partner will freak out at the thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ken,

(mind you most of them eat lamb - lambs aren't cute I guess)

I think that many people's acceptance of meat of almost any kind is linked to the fact that they are not confronted with its slaughter and processing. If it comes in a packet from the supermarket they can eat it without thinking about how it came to be there.

I believe that they would take an entirely different view of lambs, cattle or pigs if they ever witnessed what happens on a killing chain.

The best explanation for what we refer to as the "Bambi syndrome" is that people are too separated from where their food comes from.

In my estimation this creates a whole raft of issues including:

  • their willingness to eat substandard manufactured foods
  • external control of our food chain
  • bizarre ethical positions around the use of animals for food
  • unrealistic notions of life and death

The other issue is that we live in a wealthy society where we can remain detached from the day-to-day processing and preparation of food. If we lived in the same wretched circumstances as most of the world's people, we would take a much more realistic (and accepting) view of what is food and what is not.

Even those that are keen to eat the resulting dish still can't believe that I can 'process' my own 'cute little bunnies' :)

I've experienced similar reactions. I explain that, while I certainly don't enjoy killing anything, I've made a conscious decision to be part of the food chain on my own terms rather than those prescribed by agribusiness conglomerates.

My animals live eat better food and live in far better circumstances than their counterparts on factory farms. Their end comes quickly and at the hands of someone who cared for them and who appreciates their sacrifice.

Is that BBQ hot yet, Mark?

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

G'day,

Perfect case in point. My 7 year old son, who is a blood thirsty little coot like most 7 year olds, cannot wait until I have the rabbits on the go and when we can, I quote "kill the extra boy ones, cos mmm mmmm mmmm I lurve rabbit", but when I floated the idea of raising GP for food, he gave an outright NO - "It's just not right Dad!"

He'll come around...

Must away and check that the Barbie is up to temp yet! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same here, Mark; the daughters aren't too keen. However, if they don't see the rabbits or GP's being prepared, and are presented with a cooked dish, it would apparently be OK.

The more I think about it, to raise the quail, rabbits and GPs I really need a large shed.... A well ventilated large shed, said Mrs Bid, who is very sensitive to odours of any type.

How far away from trying out a GP on that barbie are you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A fair way off I think. I will have the rabbits on the go first, but will be keeping one eye open for large sized strains of GP..... just in case.... :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The more I think about it, to raise the quail, rabbits and GPs I really need a large shed.... A well ventilated large shed

Is there any reason for putting the GP's in a shed? I keep mine outside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most definately, Grassroots: It's for my comfort, not theirs. :D

We purchased our property towards the end of a very long dry spell, when the place looked really good, and were informed by the vendors that "Since the council put the easement and flood drain across the back there hasn't been any problem with flooding".

Lying b@st@rds: Five weeks after we moved in the heavens opened up and most of the block went under water. In the four and a half years we have been here we've been flooded out six times, and as I write the ground is largely a quagmire. (Even the rabbits here have webbed feet.) This is one of the driving reasons for me wanting to go to aquaponics: My vegetable beds have been washed away all too often.

......Bid...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0