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Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#16  Unread postby Ghost » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:45 pm


Yesterday, I was looking over another GP that was killed to feed a reptile. Feeling around I could tell, just as a remembered, there is a large abound of meat not only around the shoulders, but also a sizable amount on meat at the base of the neck near the shoulder.

GBov wrote:There is almost no mess with loppers, a bit of blood but never more than from a cut adn the head doesnt come off or anything icky like that. As skin is so tough it seldom gets much damage but the bones inside are cut through so a clean kill.


Ok, I was thinking you decapitated the GP, I misunderstood, hence I thought it would be messy. I have been thinking about your post and I will probably not use loppers for the dispatchment, but needle nose pliers

The guinea pigs that I will be dispatching for human consumption are colony raised GPs which are not used to being handled. When I grab them they struggle. If I hold them I while they do calm a bit. I will hold the animal in my hand and calm it, or hold the animal against the ground to calm it. I will then use needle nose pliers to grab a vertebra near the skull. From there, I will bend the neck back the wrong direction then give a pull. This should work with a guinea pig that is not used to being handled. I can deliver a quick humane death and all the damaged should be at one spot near the skull.
You have to do the most good for the most. You most remember that a few will won't make it. Don't be ashamed to shed a tear for the ones lost along the way, we will not hold it against you. Just remember "the herd goes on".

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#17  Unread postby GBov » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:07 pm


My hands are nimble but not large or strong so I need at least one side of my dispatching tool to be sharp, pruners for small things like quail and lopers for larger things like turkeys and geese.

If you have strong hands I cant see why needle nosed pliers wouldn't work for you but have something as back up when you give them a try. I was glad I had back up once when my trial method went awry. :roll:

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#18  Unread postby Greencaller » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:30 pm


Well I WAS thinking of skinning cuy if I ever get my hands on one, but after reading this incredibly informational post, I think I'd rather scald. (Hope they don't smell as bad as chickens, lol).

There's not much demand for guinea pig fur, so far as I know, so there's another notch against skinning for me.

So for those of you who keep herds, I have to ask - what are the biggest health concerns you guys deal with, besides weather challenges? My region tends to be hot and humid for summers and winters generally cold, and I have little experience with GPs.

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#19  Unread postby akane » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:59 pm


Scalding a gp doesn't smell but having tried it without much experience prior to that and finding I had to scrape a lot personally I'd get a kitchen torch and burn it off quick and easy despite increased smell if I was doing a lot of them that way. It's actually the more standard way in their native areas and apparently crisping the skin with it prior to frying or roasting is quite desirable too. Reduces the greasiness and many compare it to pork rinds.

I have rarely had a sick guinea pig, their stocky bodies don't injure easily, and the only weather related was heat stroke when their shade blew off and their water fell over with miscommunication about who was supposed to check on them. Granted Iowa is not the hottest place in the world even if we do a pretty good job of getting there for short periods and I brought them inside at first snow but for the most part if you give them an adjustment period and shelter or cooling off options they don't suffer too many illnesses.

I never had parasites appear on/in the guinea pigs once established at my place despite keeping them in stalls that had horses over the winter and grazing alongside pastures but I did occasionally treat with ivermectin. I had one get a skin infection scratching at mites that lived in the hay and not on the guinea pig with a vet behind the times then that used penicillin. They are very antibiotic sensitive so if you decide to treat the safer options are harder to get than just running to the feed store. If you are bringing in a lot of guinea pigs it's often good to have a bottle of ivermectin on hand (injectable or pour on doesn't matter so long as you account for the concentration) and dose each new one topically behind the ears as a preventative because the mites that do live on guinea pigs are hard to detect even with proper skin scrapings and they are very tolerant of ivermectin. I have never heard of a bad reaction even with the unmeasured dosing many use.

Otherwise I've only bought some already suffering a respiratory infection and vit c deficiency. Diet is probably the other big issue besides weather as they need a vit c source at all times and you have to watch calcium and oxalic acid levels because they are prone to bladder stones. If you simply dose some vit c crystals when they can't have tons of fresh food and don't overdo the calcium rich sources they can be taken on and off greens of all kinds without much of the risk rabbits have. I just add them to the herd and start dumping garbage bags of greens in or move them from winter cages straight on to overgrown grass without issue.

Pregnancy complications are unavoidable for the most part. Having such developed young they have a higher risk of stuck pups, runts, and premature litters than rodents or rabbits giving birth to pinkies. It's a problem across the south american rodents. Activity is the best preventative and getting overweight will doom them. I find the shoulder blades the easiest place to tell if they actually are gaining fat pads or just stretching out from pregnancies. The number of individuals is more important than the space but of course you want enough space for them all. A couple in a huge pen will pick a single one to follow and spend most of their time lounging quietly while waiting for that one to move or scattered in a smaller cage holding down one spot all day. They have more health complications all around when they are not mobile. The constant interaction of several will cause them to keep interacting to keep their individual spots or following the whims of multiple top pigs to travel between locations more often in large pens.
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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#20  Unread postby GBov » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:14 pm


The trick with scalding is really REALLY hot water! Like, almost boiling. Then the fur just slips off a treat. The problem with burning it off, at least in real pigs, is the hair base is still IN the skin. I ruined all the crackling on a proper pig, trying the burn it off method. :(

My herd had slobbers in it - that's when the front teeth don't meet properly so after time they prop the mouth open, gpig drools all over itself and starves to death, not nice - but hard culling fixed that.

I also had pups born fully formed and dead, esp at the start of my experiment raising them. I was feeding pine for vit c which many told me was the problem but when I stopped feeding it, the dead pups still arrived.

That problem totally disappeared after I put all the gpigs into a wire sided shed, 15 by 10 ft. They lived with quail and I had feeders full of rabbit food AND quail food. Started feeding pine for vit c again as it was free, the quail ate the rabbit food and the gpigs ate the 21% protein game bird feed.

So I don't know if it was all the space and running the gpigs did or the game bird feed that fixed the late-term abortions but they ended. I was glad too, little dead babies are always sad.

Oh, as to the quail, they were the biggest I ever raised. It was so funny, they would dig little holes in the sand floor and sit in them, all you could see were the eyes. And the gpigs would stampede all around the pen edges so they were in constant motion, watched by the zen quail. :lol:

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#21  Unread postby akane » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:40 pm


Almost boiling? I had to go well past boiling. I had to let it boil until it couldn't be bubbling more than that before it did anything to loosen hair and then double dipped them and scraped a ton.
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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#22  Unread postby GBov » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:13 pm


Was it a very old male perhaps? My young males cleaned up a treat.

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#23  Unread postby akane » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:04 pm


I can't remember what age the 5 or so I tried to scald that time were and then I tried to do 2 others another time but I got impatient getting the water hot enough when I could probably skin the things faster now.
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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#24  Unread postby GBov » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:36 pm


It's funny how some things work for some and not others. I hate radishes and yet mine always grow fantastically while my mum, who loves the nasty things, can only grow super hot dental floss.

Perhaps its the same with cleaning gpigs? :lol:

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#25  Unread postby ladysown » Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:29 pm


So I don't know if it was all the space and running the gpigs did or the game bird feed that fixed the late-term abortions but they ended. I was glad too, little dead babies are always sad.


I found when I raised guinea pigs that they did better in bigger cages, running with a big herd than they do in smaller. Less dead babies and more action running around. It's also more fun watching develop their small cliques too.
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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#26  Unread postby GBov » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:57 pm


ladysown wrote:
So I don't know if it was all the space and running the gpigs did or the game bird feed that fixed the late-term abortions but they ended. I was glad too, little dead babies are always sad.


I found when I raised guinea pigs that they did better in bigger cages, running with a big herd than they do in smaller. Less dead babies and more action running around. It's also more fun watching develop their small cliques too.


I LOVED watching them, they are so funny in a big herd! :D

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#27  Unread postby akane » Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:31 am


We had them in a large fenced yard before we moved out of town. Probably considerably bigger than the double lot I have now in town. They didn't use the open space as much as large livestock but had a similar pattern of traveling between various grazing and resting areas as weather changed. We mostly kept only the same breeding age boar and sow at the end of every year so it was a family group of young daughters having 1 or 2 litters before being rehomed and the pups from several litters at any time. That led to them all following the oldest sow we kept for 8years and they'd run in a guinea pig train with the head sow in front and the mature boar in back. If a young one got lost going from place to place it would start wheeking louder and the boar would go find it while the sow slowed down. When they all got in view of each other instead of just noise they'd continue running full speed for the next building, our swingset with slide, the wood pile, around the pool, under the porch, through the pine tree row..... that they planned to eat around while sheltering. I have never been able to set up that much space again without predators. They had 12x12' horse stalls and then a 10x10' herb garden I fenced the little plots off for them to graze the grass spaces between or anything that hung over the wire. Usually I try for 2x6' cages minimum, preferably 30" wide cages. I did one 9' long. Anything smaller I only used for temporary situations like boar growout, a newborn litter that couldn't handle all the adults around, or sows I didn't want bred again.
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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#28  Unread postby Greencaller » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:08 am


I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea of a large herd of animals running in a smaller space, and it doesn't want to stick for some reason, but I'm fascinated by it still.


So, akana, if you don't mind me asking, about how many gpigs of average size can one of your pens (2' x 6' x 30") house comfortably?


I'd love to let them run in a yard if I had one fenced, lol. Instead I thought about dragging out the ol' raised garden bed frames and re-purposing them as indoor/outdoor gp/rabbit yards. I have several and they would be easier to vermin-proof, with I hope enough to do rotational feeding. (Hutches on wheels?)

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#29  Unread postby GBov » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:42 am


An electric lawn mower is your friend! I cut my yard in strips and feed the clippings to just about every animal here, including the one gpig we currently have.

If vermin are a big problem (here too) then you can get all the good of the grass but not lose stock or have to make stronger pens or lighter pens or whatnots.

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Re: Hi GBov,Akane & others with cuy experience.

Post Number:#30  Unread postby akane » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:01 pm


You can easily put 3-5 sows and a boar in 6' length if you are removing boars early to growout pens and don't allow the daughters to start having litters too. My cages frequently had a couple extra breeding age sows for periods of time before I'd make another colony out of the daughters I'd kept or cull some older sows. Remember guinea pigs are one of the most social animals you will find. They do better with enough space to exercise but are quite happy to always be within inches of another guinea pig and if you stick 6-12 individuals on an acre of land with plenty of grazing and cover most of the time they will all be within about an 8sq ft area. It is dependent on how well they can visually see each other on flat, bare ground versus tall grass, bushes, or uneven terrain but if given a grown out area when resting they will lay a few inches apart and when they travel it's nose to butt with anyone who can't see the others through tall plants immediately letting out louder wheeking to orient themselves and catch up. When you get very high numbers in more open or grazed down pens they start to mill about more and form multiple groups because they can find another individual easily and always hear many individuals around them. At that point you have more like a small cage setup expanded to a huge scale with enough guinea pigs to create an appearance of an equally filled space to them. The same as small cages the risk of getting lost or the need to travel as a single group from place to place is eliminated by how easily they can find another guinea pig again so they don't keep as tight of herd or travel to the same locations all at the same time like a smaller number in a large space will. They also don't need much individual hides, blocked off individual spaces, and broken line of sight like rabbits prefer. They do like to only graze around some type of barrier or shelter since they practically walk around wheeking "eat me" at everything but they don't need structures for much privacy from each other. You can use low covered areas large enough for the group or the various smaller groups within the herd to fit in together as their shelters or feeding/watering stations. Small hides are good to feel secure in small spaces, especially with lots of traffic around a cage, but you'll just find them standing on top of each other and complaining about it as they try to fit into the same little hide. In the yard they used the whole porch, in the outdoor medium pens I would throw down modified wood pallets to have a solid roof, and the pens in the stable I built frames and covered them with old horse blankets. One person did wood pallets with hay bales on top of them in a shed for eating, hiding, and winter warmth but they couldn't catch the guinea pigs all winter without taking it apart. With cages people often stretch a section of fleece fabric over one end of their cage and since I turned some free large bookshelves into floor pens I used the shelves to cover the ends of cages as their hiding area.
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