Meat guinea pigs (cuy)?

Ron Bequeath

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I have never bred guinea pigs, but I think the breeding rate and growth rate for rabbits would be better. Also, more meat on rabbits at 8 weeks. We have extensive experience with rabbit production.

You can use hanging cages for rabbits and build manure pits underneath. Rabbit manure can be applied fresh to any plants since it doesn't burn. If you buy a good basic meat breed like a New Zealand White or Californian, you shouldn't have any problems with milk. I prefer Californians. We started with NZW and DH loves them but I prefer the Cals since I found they got to 5 lbs at 8 weeks which was a little sooner than the NZWs. They ere also a little calmer and they are a slightly smaller adult rabbit than the NZW which ay or may not make a difference since you have to take the doe to the buck for breeding. Does are always larger than bucks.

Bucks don't usually get territorial or grumpy. Does get grumpy if they are bred when mature. Raising them in wire cages is space saving, and makes it easier, IMO, to watch for any problems. They are pretty disease free, and if raised off the ground don't get coccidiosis or other parasites or diseases. You have to protect from predators. Dogs being the worst. By enclosing the hanging cages inside a chain link dog kennel, you will avoid dog attacks. The standard size cage for a doe and litter is 36"w x 30"deep. I use "baby saver" cages with smaller wire on the bottom to prevent kits that fall out of the nest box. I use the same cages for my bucks to allow more utilization of space by being able to move rabbits around.

Meat breeds should start their breeding life at 6 months. Rabbit gestation is 30 days. The average litter is 8 kits. Their kits are ready to butcher at 8 weeks. At 8 weeks the young bunnies weigh between 4-6 lbs. The doe is most fertile right after kindling, however, I breed back when the kits are 6-7 weeks old This gives the doe 2-3 weeks to recover before she produces another litter. As long as you keep her on a high protein ration, this is fine. Rabbit does will start to decline in reproduction around 3 years old. In a commercial rabbitry these does will be disposed of. In a home situation you can get another year out of them. The litters will get smaller and occasionally the doe will not take.

One buck and starting trio. Two trios will produce plenty of meat for your family, and allow you to keep young doe to grow your barn since you will have a second buck to cross breed with. One doe producing 8 bunnies four ties a year will give you 32 fryers each. Four does will give you 128 bunnies per year.

Keep only the very best does for replacement does. Eat or sell the rest for meat. Buy a new buck every now and then to bring I new blood. Buy your first stock from a good breeder – remember that the Standard of Perfection for judging all meat type rabbits is based in where the eat is. If the rabbit is a lousy show specimen it means that they do not have any meat where it is supposed to be. Don’t buy cheap “non show” rabbits thinking you are getting bargain. If they don’t have any meat on them they will not be worth their feed. On the other hand, you don’t need to pay a fortune for a breeding trio either. Getting your trio from a decent breeder who can show you what to look for when it comes to meat, is best. Good breeders love to share their knowledge with new breeders. They will help you decide what does to keep and what to eat too.

Guinea pigs make noise – squeals, whistles, etc., while rabbits rarely make any noise. If you live in an area where noise is a problem, you can raise lots of rabbits and not even know they are there. Also, rabbits can handle extreme cold. They don’t like extreme heat, but you can use fans or misters to lower the temperatures. Rabbits only need to be protected from rain and wind.

Before making up your mind about raising guinea pigs or meat, you should work out how many lb. of meat you will get from each. One rabbit fryer fed our family of 6.

Questions to have answered –

How many GPs in a litter?

Length of gestation?

How often can you breed?

How big is butcher size?

How long does it take to grow to butcher size?

How much meat in lb. per year can one GP produce compared to one rabbit?

The cost of feed to produce 1 lb. of meat.

Space needed for and cost of trailers compared to one 36” x 30” wire cage per rabbit.
I'd get tired of just gp so would suggest a breeding trio of each. Rabbit and gp. Also after you've got that settled add 6 hens and have eggs and if roosters are allowed in your area chicken for dinner. Never tried the gp but my daughter did in Peru and said it was good. Just don't like the heads on them when cooked. Maybe I'll have to try some, thanks for the suggestion.
 

MtViking

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I’d like to know how this works out, I can’t imagine having enough meat on a Gp to bother with the work involved but the only Guinea pigs I’ve seen are at the pet stores I would need quite a few to fill my appetite. I imagine they would taste similar to rabbits though. Rabbits are surprisingly easy to take care of once your set up and if your thrifty and handy with tools can be very affordable to get started. I built my hutches from free pallet wood I had to by the cage wire but you would need to do the same for a GP I get 50# bags of feed for like $12-$15 and hay bales for like $3 or less. During the nice months I grow most everything they need to eat and have my grow outs in a tractor like you were thinking of with your gps I’m not trying to talk anyone out of raising any meat animal just letting you know rabbits raising can be done affordably and successfully at the same time and you get more bang for buck come harvest. I harvest roughly 8 rabbits per doe and can have up words to 20# of meat or more that’s just the meat not the bones and the rest. I raise satins so they’re a little longer to get to the 5-6 pound live weight mark but I like em they’re very sweet and the fur is beautiful, and I got show quality breeding trio for about $45 total not per rabbit. Keep your eyes open for deals. I got mine from a 4-H family where the kids were upgrading to goats and hogs so I got a great deal on some great rabbits. Good luck on the adventure which ever you choose it will be very fun and rewarding I guarantee it.
 

Jesusfreak101

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okay at first i was kinda like how would you get enough meat from these then i saw this massive thing and was kinda like okay. personally i agree with v but if it works for you thats great i just have four kids and they eat alot.
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misfitmorgan

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The problem is unless the OP lives in a place they can get that specific bred of GP raising for meat about pretty pointless. Normal american GP only get 1.5-2.5lbs fully grown and the latter takes around 8 MONTHS to get that size. At 8 weeks old GP only weight around 3/4lb.

We bred GP for a couple years most litters were 2-3, and it was way more then 8 weeks until there would be anything worth cooking. GP only have a carcass yield of 37-43% so 1.5-2.5lbs live weight(8 MONTHS) at absolute best would only be 0.92-1.075lbs. Carcass yield 37-43%, low end of the scale being sows and high end being boars.

Like others have said you need to look at how much meat your family needs to see if this is viable for you. So far it looks like you would only be getting 50-75lbs of meat a year.

Also need to look into how much room you need per GP?
According to the humane society, 4 GP would need a cage/pen min 13sqft. Thats around 3ft x 4.5ft. You said eventually you will need about 20 breeders in groups, so 4 cages/pens of 3ft x 4.5ft plus room to move them to fresh grass.

You said they would be nibbling grass in your yard so how big is your yard? How much grass does each GP need a day? GP eat about a cup of food a day at adult size.

How much does GP food cost? No you can't just feed them grass, they need pelleted GP feed as well at least 1/8c day per GP to ensure they get their minerals and vitamins or they can get sick or die pretty quickly.

What are you feeding them for the 6-7months of year when there is no grass(winter)?

When you calculate feed/cage space/grass....dont forget to count the pups. 20 breeders in 4 groups, 4 females per group, average 3 pups per female, thats 48 pups added onto your 20 breeders which you will have to carry/feed for several months.

How fast does your grass grow back? Usually pretty quick but it depends how eaten down it gets.

As mentioned by others GP are VERY LOUD, if you have neighbors you will have many many complaints on the noise of GPs in a yard. a couple GP are loud, 60-70 GP would be lose your mind loud. Fun fact pups are as loud as full grown GP at birth.

I have raised rabbits as well and I agree with others it would be much cleaner, quieter, cheaper to breed meat rabbits. They can be scratchy yes but so can GP and GP bite more often too.
Two females and one buck rabbit can pretty easily give you 600lbs of meat/year.
Rabbits are butchered at 8-10 weeks old weighing 4-6lbs, carcass yield is around 60%.

People use tractors for rabbits too.
 

Ridgetop

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I think that GPs need a more varied diet too. They can't synthesize Vita C so have to have it added to their water or diet by way of fresh fruit. More labor intensive than feeding pelleted feed in J-feeders to rabbits. I would worry about them living on the ground as opposed to wire like rabbits in hanging cages, due to possibility of coccidiosis. On the other hand, I have also heard that GPs have a problem living on wire because their feet are bare and have no protection from the wire mesh like rabbits do.

I have never bred or owned GPs, so don't really know too much about them. I did look into them a while back since my grandson wanted one as a pet.

It is possible that the American GPs are much smaller than the Cuys that ChubbyCapra is thinking of breeding. They look like another species.
 

rachels.haven

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Mazuri makes a 100% vitamin C food for G. pigs. I haven't managed to find another one. They also can live with grass during the season. It's not so bad.
The places advocating feeding them fruit and salad daily are enjoying humanizing their pets for their own benefit, at the detriment of the animals. They also do not require as much space as is stated in the literature. Mine prefer about 1x1' each in a multiple pig cage + a hiding hut each to be most comfortable. Too much space and at least ours seem intimidated and won't do much. They also don't need fleece cage liners,which have to be washed daily (!!!). They do need a solid cage bottom, clean horse quality wood shavings, a clean water bottle. A big pile of grass and clover daily during the season in addition to pellets and a high vitamin C feed in the winter covers them fine.
Biggest issues with the kids pigs is that the females spray urine at each other, regardless of space and hideys provided and it gets on my walls (one identical hut is always better than the rest). :somad Roast piggie, anyone?
 

rachels.haven

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I bet the big ones would need more space though-a lot of space. I hear they are active with a more keyed up temperament.
 
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