housing for meat guinea pigs

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housing for meat guinea pigs

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Ghost » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:55 pm

I decided to make a new thread from the descussion following in from the thread Spicificaly to the responses

Greencaller wrote: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. <snip>

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?)

GBov wrote: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.

akane wrote: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.

My only experince is from observations from "Davids" GP setup but I have noticed that many GPs do not seam to like being exposed to direct sunlight for long hours. In David's setup he has a shed made with fence pickets walls and a tin roof. The shed is rather dark with streaks of light from between the pickets. David does have a courtyard wher the GPs do have access to direct sunlight. Inside the shed are cardbord crates that the GPs (adults and juveniles) love to hid under. The babies under 2 weeks are almose exclusuivaly under the crates.

The interesting fact is that only a few GPs will spend long hours in the courtyard with the sunlight. Most GPs seam to prefer the darkness of the shed. It is good that at night even cortyard loving individules retreat to the shed (which has better predator security). When visitoirs come they will usualy only see 5 to 10 GPs in the courtyard,. When I toss in some grass or veggie scraps, another 20 or so GPs will come out of the shed.

My suggestion is that whatever your setup is, be sure to give your GPs plenty of dark places to hide during the day.

When it comes to GBov and protecting against predators I have an idea about using cattle panel to provide both rigid structure and predator blocking abilities. I would then use either chicken wire or simple boards to keep the GPs from exiting through the cattle panel holes. I don't have any experience with this in a real world situation. So it would be nice to know if anyone has experience with a similar situation.

There is a YouTube channel called LeonRFpoa who seames to be one of the most susessfull setups in the USA for raising cuy that I found on YouTube. His channle is the video that best shiowes his setup is here

PS. LeonRFpoa also has is friends with girlwalkswithgoats aka ohiogoatgirl I tried to contact ohiogoatgirl to get to LeonRFpoa but so far no luck.
You have to do the most good for the most. You must remember that a few 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: housing for meat guinea pigs

Post Number:#2  Unread postby akane » Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:56 pm

Guinea pigs are built as basically above ground burrowers. They move through thick plants with their wedge shaped heads pushed by blocky bodies with no neck to twist or legs to get tangled. They are never in the open. To be in the open is to be eaten. To be lost from the group is to be eaten. Sunlight means open areas and light reflects off sleek hair no matter the color in ways it does not off textured plants and dirt. It wasn't directly the sunlight ours avoided but any open area. They could be in light if they were against the side of a building, along the fence they knew how to duck through if something attacked them on either side, or moving along the partial cover of bushes and low growing pine trees. They will also use areas with straight growing, tall plants that allow sunlight when it is overhead but are considerably higher than them. They will only use uncovered, flat places with short plant life if there are a lot of guinea pigs and never any sign of predators. There was a zoo that had a guinea pig herd they put in a pen and barn that had housed equines (horse relatives). It was entirely open but they quickly had several dozen guinea pigs and the only thing that came near them with all the layers of fencing between the interior of the zoo and the wildlife was small birds and humans that fed them what grass grew outside their pen where they could not strip it all from the ground. They lounged around and in the building on slow days but would run to the fences wheeking and move about the wide open space if people stopped to look at them in the hope they could get more fresh food or the approved food pellets you could throw them.

They did not evolve for that though and like I said a completely grazed down pen with a lot of guinea pigs is basically a cage blown up to a massive scale. They can feel the same safety as a cage in the house where they can't get lost, are always near another guinea pig, and no one ever sees any danger while the humans still provide most to all of the food depending how grazed it is. More normal response to enough open space is to always stay against or under something. Big areas of shelter work better than individual hides and areas of tall plants or edible bushes will make open areas into sheltered areas. We started a new outdoor guinea pig pen prior to losing the cuy crosses and used raspberry canes down one end that have grown into a tangled 4' wide and 8' tall area, a sunflower patch opposite that, blueberry bushes that require a 10-15' spread take up one half, 2 established rhubarb plants grow leaves bigger than a guinea pig within a month of coming out of the ground but can still be stepped over/around at the 4th side, and I let 2 pest mulberry trees grow up instead of continuing to cut them down. Down the middle I put wood pallets and some wood structure that I don't know why they built it but it's about 10' long, 4' wide with wood boards solidly screwed to a frame that holds it off the ground. Takes both of us to move it and it's probably been sitting outdoors for 5+ years already without rot. I then just walked down my low shelters as a path spreading areas of edible herbs between combination cover crop mixes of tight growing legumes and tall growing grains. Now if only I still had some cuy so it didn't just look like I made a tangled mass of useless plants in my yard. :lol:

__________ Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:56 pm __________

For the double layer fencing I have to load my old photobucket account I no longer leave up a link to but if they've toned the ads down enough this was the 10x10' herb garden pen that eventually grew quite thick. ... door%20pen I added bird netting over top and a dig barrier with strawberries planted through the wire mesh along the outside except the area that eventually became a gate with bricks. That album only has the layout that starts a little sparse with the wood house and clay piping used for small shelters in the small pen early on but somewhere in a "plant" or "garden" album I have some pics of the thick growth with the catnip turning into 3' wide bushes (eventually killed by one of the cats before the pen was in use that year and the plants had not grown big enough to survive a cat being high for a month straight), cilantro to my waist every year, and the nasturtium/snapdragon area about 1' high and too thick to pull a guinea pig out of without ripping plants away. Plus I added some type of small bush to the central spot where the paths crossed but I forget what it was called and put miniature blueberry sunshine that was developed to be a potted blueberry at the corners outside the fence after the ground had settled around the posts. The fennel did not survive a couple winters with -30F periods we had during that time so that back corner plot did go bare. I ended up leaving the structure when I moved because while the interior was fully accessible to pick what the guinea pigs didn't eat I couldn't untangle the fence from the plant growth it was sandwiched between.

Again I can't post photobucket pics as image links anymore so you have to click links and risk ads but this is how I did basic 12x12' stable pens. They were entirely sheltered with only direct light hitting the concrete between stall rows so I didn't worry much about shelter and threw their cage hides in because I had them around with some horse blanket covered grids for warmer areas when they were moved out in late winter/early spring. There are actually 8 sows added to that side but the hay is far deeper piles than it looks. They preferred more burrowing to the artificial hides. If you have a large monitor and know where to look I can still point out the brown butt concealed in some hay. ... 010341.jpg
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