Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
MentalSquint

Alright guys: Guinea Pigs?

63 posts in this topic

I am feeding mine working horse mix, lucerne hay and any grass that is laying around.

If anyone has some what do you feed them?

I used to move them around daily till they ate all the grass, I then put them on the cement with hay, till I noticed that the urine was affecting the cement. I now keep them in one spot on hard ground, adding grass and hay daily, mucking it out very infrequently. My first ones for harvest won't be ready for at least another five months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be interested to know about keeping GPs as food - but I need to get it past the kids who are adamant about NOT eating pets...Is there somewhere on the net that I can read about rearing them and processing (esp. how to humanely slaughter them)? I'm not real keen on bunnies because they bite and scratch and spray urine everywhere. Also I think housing them would be harder then GPs because as mentioned here rabbits dig, jump and chew a lot on things whilst GPs seem quite content to just mosey around minding their own business.

Lilian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Lilian,

The timing of your question is interesting.....given that we have a new member who does (along with her partner) keep guinea pigs for meat.

Give us a day or so to sort our her membership and I'm sure she'll be able to answer your questions.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Gary.

I know of a friend who is a missionary in South America and she's told me that they regularly eat guinea pig there. I recall her saying that it tastes like chicken...

I just remembered that my kids are actually allergic to guinea pig - we have 2 as pets. I'm not sure if they can 'eat' them safely without having a reaction. We'll have to stick with quail I think - just as a start anyway to get them used to eating the animals we have in our backyard.

Lilian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nrllee

I would not be eating the pet ones, maybe wait for them to have babies and call them a name that implies that they are for eating and not pets. http://www.echotech.org/mambo/images/DocMan/GuineaPi.PDF This is one of the sites I have got my information off. My daughter who has now left home wants to adopt them and save them from being processed. If people ask, I ask, if they really want the truth and that answers the question for them, without me having to answer it. I have others that are on the same wave length and are really interested in what they taste like. As yet I have not eaten one, the last batch of babies were 2 females. We don't want to eat the females until we have our core stock of up to 10 females.

Gary the couple on the sunshine coast, do they eat them regularly?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would not be eating the pet ones, maybe wait for them to have babies and call them a name that implies that they are for eating and not pets

Yes we've had that rule - unfortunately because we live in a suburban block and are restricted to the number of animals we are allowed to keep (we started off with chooks - council limit is 5 hens) so inevitably, the animals get names...

Which is why I went down the quail path because there are no council limits on quail (and I can keep the boys too). I'm hoping that the sheer quantity of numbers would enable me to have batches that don't get named - they look so alike anyway and that way there is no 'attachment'.

I do like guinea pigs though because the 2 that we have are so easy to keep in a suburban yard - the rabbit we need to free range daily and he's been spraying and biting - but I need to talk to the allergist about whether they (my kids) can still eat them even if they are supposedly allergic to them - I assume it's only to their fur...

I believe you can get them from shelters - but from the literature, it would appear that you would need to get them at 4-5 months of age and start them breeding. If the female hasn't had a litter by the time they are 10 months of age, a lot of them die when they give birth because their pelvis fuses after that and the babies get stuck - giving birth prior to 10 months ensures that this doesn't happen and she'll be okay to keep birthing after that. Just a bit of trivia. :)

Lilian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, My name is Elisabeth Fekonia and I am one half of the reputed couple from the Sunshine Coast eating guinea pigs. For the record, we are 70% food self sufficient on our 6 acres and have been doing all our own home kill for the past 15 years. Anything from a calves, turkeys, geese, chooks, pigs and yes even the odd guinea pig. Do all you Queenslanders know that it is verrrry illegal to keep rabbits here? This would incur a $30,000 fine if caught! Guinea pigs however are the other small meat and very suitable for back yard 'farmers' to have their own meat supply.

We house them nice and dry in a glass panelled structure away from snakes and we feed them soley on grass and legumes found growing on the side of the road. Their bedding is fantastic composting material. What else would you like to know??

Check out my website for interviews on eating guinea pigs on www.permacultureproduce.com.au

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Elisabeth,

We're delighted you could join us. Aside from your experience with this form of micro-livestock, you are well advanced in your journey to where many our members aspire.........self-sufficiency in food production.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Elisabeth

Are guinea pigs a red meat?

I have a miniscule area to keep livestock, we plan to eat Japanese Quail and Muscovy Ducks.

As they are feathered I was wanting something different, is there other micro-livestock I have not thought of?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I would class guinea pigs as red meat. The meat is very soft and tender and also tasty, especially if a marinade is used to cook the meat with. Another source of micro livestock would be snail production. The snails can be found in your garden on warm rainy nights. These were originally introduced by Italian migrants and have settled here in our climate and in our gardens. Capture the snails and feed them on lettuce and other greens from the garden. They need to be purged before cooking (with a diet of bran for ten days) and then they can be cooked in red wine!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for all the information - I have checked out your site. Great videos. I had no idea they were so noisey.

What would the average dressed weight of a guinea pig be? Do you know what percentage is bone? Do you use one for a meal for two or do you eat one each? Do you use a special 'large' breed?

I've read that a sow only has two working teets. Do they only keep two "piglets" :) What size litter would be normal? Do they all do well? Rabbits have eight teets, and it is normal practise (I've read) to foster off any more than that in a litter (mine have never had more than 6 at a time).

These sound like an easy to keep addition to the microponic system. I'm looking forward to getting my hands (and teeth) on some.

Sorry there are so many questions...Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guinea pigs are amazing creatures. When I was working in a lab facility we used to keep them in 'harems' with 1 male and 6 females to breed. They would typically have anywhere between 1-6 young (usually about 3). The difference with guinea pigs is that when they are born, they are REALLY well developed, I mean eyes open, fully furred, running around etc (very unlike bunnies). They start nibbling on adult food as young as 2 days and they have been known to survive quite well without supplementation with milk even when orphaned at a young age. And because they tend to be kept in harems (that's how the lab kept them), you will often have a couple of females having young at the same time and they seem to rear them on a communal basis.

The important thing to note is that you need to start them breeding young ie the sow needs to have her first litter before she hits 10 months of age otherwise her pelvis tends to fuse which means if she gets pregnant after that time, come the time for her to give birth, the babies get stuck and inevitably the sow dies. :(

There are big guinea pigs and smaller more petite ones. We have 1 of each (both females and same age but one is twice as fat as the other) which are pets and I know which one I would much prefer to eat - although my kids would have none of that... :confused:

Lilian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Lilian

In the lab what did you feed them?

Is there a cheap way to feed guinea pigs if you don't have access to green feed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Lillian,

Thanks for your information. They do sound amazing. I'm impressed that they are born so rugged.

In the lab, did you leave the male in with the female? I have read that sometimes they can kill the young. I've read that you should put the male in for a week to breed, then remove it. If you can just leave it in there and achieve good results, then that sounds good to me - I like to save work!

There's a Guinea Pig show on when I'm in Perth next and I'm very tempted to go take a look if I can find time.

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The lab I worked in kept the breeding colony to breed guinea pigs for experiments. I really only saw it from the 'outside' and wasn't involved in the day to day care but did pick up little pointers from their handlers during lunch breaks etc.

In the lab what did you feed them?

Is there a cheap way to feed guinea pigs if you don't have access to green feed?

They were fed pellets, Vitamin C (very important in guinea pigs) was provided in their drinking water and they get cubes of lucerne to munch on. They were kept on straw.

In the lab, did you leave the male in with the female? I have read that sometimes they can kill the young. I've read that you should put the male in for a week to breed, then remove it. If you can just leave it in there and achieve good results, then that sounds good to me - I like to save work!

To be honest I can't remember if they do or not. I think they take the sows out who are obviously heavily pregnant and put them in a sort of maternity type arrangement in lots of 8-10 max. Then when they wean the babies (at about 4 weeks) they pop the sows back in with the breeding pens again. I don't think the reason was to stop the boar from attacking the babies but it was more so to give the sow a 'break' because she can pretty much get pregnant again straight away after birthing.

Lilian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

Any one happen to catch the SBS program "A Dave In the Life" the other night? It featured a segment on Frank and Elisabeth Fekonia during which they killed and cooked a guinea pig for the wandering host of the program.

You can still see it on the SBS web site......here.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary, I just watched the show with the link that you provided. I thought it a shame that it came over with a negative slant on eating guinea pig. I hope my experience will be a more positive one. It is interesting, different peoples point of view, wether it is the peak oil problem, a religious one or one of saving money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I agree. I thought the host lacked a little objectivity given the utter garbage that most people eat in the name of food....all of it acceptable in their eyes because they are ignorant of what goes into it.....or what happens during its preparation.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

We've been baby sitting a guinea pig for a fortnight as part of a plan to surprise my Grandson on his birthday.

I was keen to give it a try......to revisit keeping guinea pigs. I'd had some when I was a kid but it never occurred to me back then that they might be a source of food.

As it turned out, Jan and Pig bonded......to the point where to even have the thought of guinea pigs for food is verboten......much less any discussion.

We delivered the birthday present on Saturday.....with the implicit understanding that, if things are not to Pig's liking in her new abode, she's welcome to return to our place....... to live.....like a person.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I omitted to include a photo of Pig......which my grandson refers to as a mouse.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We delivered the birthday present on Saturday.....with the implicit understanding that, if things are not to Pig's liking in her new abode, she's welcome to return to our place....... to live.....like a person.

Lol, thats the trouble with cute animals. They're not quite as defenseless as they first appear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi,

Any one happen to catch the SBS program "A Dave In the Life" the other night? It featured a segment on Frank and Elisabeth Fekonia during which they killed and cooked a guinea pig for the wandering host of the program.

You can still see it on the SBS web site......here.

Gary

Late reply :-)

Ahh there's prolly a bit to the view that they're a bit fiddly to prepare, well effort for small amount of meat but look at it this way, for those cultures that have little or no refridgeration, small meats like guinea pigs are brilliant. Plus they breed like, well like rabbits. Sort like a full apple tree when you need one, you pluck one ;-)

Now if you're a small household running only cattle, you need to work out a way of preserving a big carcase. Very easy with small animals

I'm a 5th generation farmer so I have no real qualms about eating animals...ok I draw the line certain animals, but I can eat Skippy, Bambi as well as Babe and a few others.

Never eaten guinea pig, someone said they're none feathered quails...must have only been talking about the size surely (?)

Look forward to trying it one day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Who Me,

Never eaten guinea pig, someone said they're none feathered quails...must have only been talking about the size surely (?)

Some species of guinea pig (cavy) are quite large.

I found a YouTube video that Featured Frank and Elisabeth Fekonia and their guinea pigs.....

Like Elisabeth, I've considered guinea pigs as an alternative to rabbits, but Her Serene Highness has decreed that it's not happening......yet!

Gary

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