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Skinning Guinea Pigs

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Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Ghost » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:44 pm


Quotes from http://rabbittalk.com/hi-gbov-and-others-with-cuy-experience-t32305.html

akane wrote:Skinning seems hard at first but it can be learned and is popular for some people who don't like the fatter, greasier skin. I think it's also most appealing when crisped specifically and a lot of people slow roast them instead so it probably depends what you are preparing.


I know skin-on cooking is how cuy are traditionally prepared, but it just does not seam appealing.to me. Once I was old enough to understand that chickens often sit in there own poop and feathers do not form a shield against poop, the idea of eating chicken skin-on lost it's appeal.

akane wrote:Scalding works but takes really really hot water. I found hotter than they say for regular hogs to get the easiest removal, which is difficult to boil that high plus a bit dangerous, and scrape a lot.


For a variety of logistical reasons, I would rather avoid scolding if possible.

akane wrote:Skinning seems hard at first but it can be learned <snip> Don't try to do it like a rabbit where you work down. Try not to go through the muscle of the belly cutting the skin and then work around the guinea pig until the skin is left stuck to the spine before separating it down the spine. The increased fat and connective fibers make it not peel down like rabbits so you have to cut the connections up each side and legs to the highest fat area on the spine where it gets the most stuck. More like deer than rabbit.


This is probably why I had such a hard time skinning my first guinea pig. Plus, the fact I did not have the best tool-set available at the time.

akane wrote:Skinning was horrid at first because I was used to rabbits but you get used to it if you practice. Older breeders were still difficult because the fat builds up after the first couple years even if you keep them active and fed on a lot of low calorie, low fat fresh foods so there's a lot more tissue to seperate. The young ones though at 1lbs for American bred and around 2lbs for Peruvian imports or crosses I was eventually doing cleanly in minutes. They are just extremely different from rabbits and do require a knife for slicing up between the hide and meat. You have to use "open skinning" instead of "case skinning" or any variation that usually works to peel a skin on small animals. Their similarity more to large meat animals and hogs is why they are often scalded or torched and the skin crisped but they do skin like heavier hided game animals. It just seems like so much more work for a small thing when you normally can quickly peel the skin and they often case skins even on things like beaver and coon.


Cool, I would very much learn how to skin guinea pigs efficiently without having to spend an hour to get one pound of meat. You really need to consider me like as a city-slicker that only learned to process rabbit from the Internet. Judging from your description, the method I learned for rabbit was a form of "case skinning". It is similar to the video I highlighted in this thread http://rabbittalk.com/rabbit-processing-video-t32295.html. I really don't have any "back-woods" skills, so saying skin them like a beaver does not have any meaning to me. I suppose it's kind of odd to learn back-woods skills from the Internet. But locally the people with the most back-woods skills are not in my friends circle, and I now live 250 miles from the couple that I did the meat rabbits with.

Looking on YouTube for how-to animal proessing videos is realy a mixed bag. Some videos are well deocumented like the one I linked to in that thread, others are not. I like most videos by girlwalkswithgoats AKA ohiogoatgirl, but her video showing proceesing a guinea pig does not function as a how-to. Does anyone here on RT know were I can find a good how-to guide for open skinning. It does not have to be video, a good diagram works well. If no one one can find one, I suppose, I can borrow some plush animals and between pictures and photoshop I can understand what akane is talking about.

Whould you mind critiquing my tool selection? By the next time I have another guinea pig available, I should have the following equipment. Knife with disposable trapezoid blades https://www.carlkammerling.com/graphics_cache/4/e/3458-t0954-3-600.jpg, hook blade http://www.irwin.com/uploads/products/large/carbon-hook-utility-blades-930.jpg, exacto 22 blade https://www.draftingsuppliesdew.com/resize/images/xacto/xacto-no22.jpg?bw=600&bh=600, and combat scissors http://www.taiwangun.com/img/imagecache/ea46ffb1f5b7f7a1a4ab980d49e2de8e431e3124.JPG. I am also concidering getting an exacto #23 blade http://www.ovrtrains.com/images/P/_0039_X223_A.jpg, but I will try out the #22 first because I can get them cheeper. When processing rabbits, I loved the hook blade, because it allowed me to hold the skin away from the carcass and cut without letting the blade touching the meat. The hook-blade also worked well as a gut hook for small creatures like rabbit. The combat scissors work well for cutting tendons and cartilage between bones (beware the $1 ones on eBay are flimsy metal, Walmart has a good pare for about $4). What do you think of my asortment of GP processing tools?
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: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#2  Unread postby GBov » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:05 pm


BUT!!! Chicken skin is the POINT of chickens! All crispy and yummy! :D

I have no idea how you could easily skin a gpig, they all seemed REALLY attached to their skin when I was cooking them. But as we all love fat the skin made the difference in worth it or not land. Without the skin I cant see the little things being worth cleaning.

But then again, it took me ages to learn to skin squirrels and now I can do them with little trouble. Still more work than rabbits but worth it, flavor wise.

Perhaps if you scalded, cooked and then took the skin off?

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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#3  Unread postby KimitsuKouseki » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:21 pm


You've watched my video, I cant imagine it being too much harder then skinning the legs and head on a rabbit, just take your time with it, also I use embroidery scisors.

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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Ghost » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:10 pm


GBov wrote:I have no idea how you could easily skin a gpig, they all seemed REALLY attached to their skin when I was cooking them. But as we all love fat the skin made the difference in worth it or not land. Without the skin I cant see the little things being worth cleaning.


Hi GBov,

I have been wanting your input in the whole eating guinea pig issue, but I suppose my use of the term cuy may have been confusing. I intended "cuy" just to refer to guinea pig meat and guinea pigs that are raised for food regardless of whether or not they were the larger South American breeds of cavia porcellus. Did you still raise them? How yummy do you find them? I see you eat yours skin-on. Should I ask :shock: ,do you cook them head-on or head-off?

added:

I see you answered my questions in the other thread. I will ask all non-skinning questions there

__________ Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:10 pm __________

For reasons I won't go into, It has taken longer than I thought to get a second guinea pig to eat. However I am still looking forward to another delicious meal of cuy.

I stumbled on a well produced video that shows open skinning on a hog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx8u34wnsuo. As with guinea pigs, hogs have a fatty layer under the skin that make case skinning very difficult.

I plan to use this as a basic model where I will start the initial skinning with the carcass on paper/plastic. Then I can start with the front legs and remove the front feet. The video shows how to slit the skin down the ventral side. Then slit the skin around the anus. I would then cut down the hind legs as demonstrated in the video. However I would not remove hind feet, I will simply cut around the feet and free the skin from the leg. From there, I can hang from the tendon around the feet on two hooks. From There I will remove the skin much as the way shown on the video.

After the skin is removed instead of following video, I will probably follow the Hidden Thicket video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9D5tJZSZrk after 8:18. I thinks it demonstrates the the best way to eviscerate the carcass. I think it is great at showing how to remove the large intestine.
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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Zass » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:22 am


As for critique of the skinning products, I see you have selected mostly short strait blades for cutting. I actually prefer a curved tip, like that of a number 10 surgical scalpel for delicate skinning. They have a nice way of being able to sever connective tissue without penetrating skin, or anything you don't want broken open. ;) The hooks look like they could be pretty useful on baggy skinned critters like rabbits.

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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#6  Unread postby akane » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:50 am


Actually a small sharp pair of scissors is one of my best tools. Except when I decide to use one side for slicing instead of bothering to grab my knife and cut my hand holding the other half. :lol: Usually scissors, game bird or fish bone shears, and my 4" pocket knife with a half serrated blade and good point is all I use. I have a deer processing kit somewhere but totally not worth it over any sharp, little blade and something to snip the initial hide or through thinner bones. Unlike rabbits where I slice the skin off and use the feet to hang them until the end I usually snip the feet off the guinea pigs right away and use the space to get under the hide for snipping or slicing it off the legs easier.
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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Ghost » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:32 pm


OK, I just finished processing my second guinea pig, this time I used an open skinning technique, much easier than case skinning.

I tried to follow the skinning process of the hog video (linked easier in this thread) (boy, talk about expertise making things look easy) . I had the dead GP on her back, I slit from the front legs to the chin and from the hind legs to the first cut. Then I then lengthened the first cuts and extended the cut towards the anus. When I got near the anus, I cut around both sides. I removed her front feet, but I left her hind feet on so I could hang her by Achilles tendon.

Once the skin was off I planed to follow The Hidden Thicket video, especially when It comes to removing the large intestine. When I butcher rabbits, I tend to leave a patch of fur in the genital-anal region (larger than the hidden thicket video). The patch is later removed when the large intestine is removed. In the H-T video she has to use a knife to separate the rabbit's pelvis,so as to remove the intestine in one piece. I was a bit confused because, I butchered an older sow which had previously given birth. In this individual, the pelvis was not fused like in rabbits. When attempting to separate the pelvis, it was difficult to find where the pelvis was. I was able to follow the legs back, then I realized the pelvis was not fused (I rendered about how sows must pup before a certain age). Cutting through a bit of soft tissue was enough to clear a path to remove the large intestine.

TOOL LIST

  • Combat Scissors - This tool was well suited for cutting through the sternum and removing head and feet.
  • Exacto #10/#22 - The tool I found most useful was the the curved blade exacto #10. The curved blade made removing the skin much easier. Estimating size (I did not have a larger #22 blade), I beleave that either size would work. The larger #22 might speed things along. Would like to try both.
  • Exacto #23 - I don't think I will be bothering with the more expansive hard-to-find #23 blade. I originally thought the double sided blade would be good for working the cut in two directions, cutting one way and then reversing and cutting the other way. After working the #10, I was never even tempted to reverse the cut. Also, with the open skinning technique, I have plenty of room to flip the blade over if I ever need to reverse the cut direction.
  • Seam Ripper - As the surprise tool that I did not think of until I noticed it hanging in the store, I decided to try a large seam ripper https://quinncreative.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/seamripper1.jpg. I decided to try it out to make the first cuts. These are the cuts where I want to go under the skin but not pierce the abdomen. I was able to use it somewhat. It was a bit weird using the seam ripper. It was only effective when holding at certain angles. If I can learn to "find" the the best angle better, it could become an indispensable tool. If I can't, then I will stop using it.
  • Hook Blade - The hook blade worked as a gut hook, but other than that I did not use it like when I skinned rabbits. For Rabbits I considered the hook blade to be my go-to blade. If I can find the proper technique for the seam ripper, then I may just retire the hook blade.
  • Trapezoid Blade - Only used it from time to time, nut not that much, but I don't think I want to do without it.

PS. Now I understand why people have rabbit processing stations. Just the time consuming process of getting all your equipment to an ad-hoc location and prepping the surfaces can slow things down.
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: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#8  Unread postby akane » Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:22 am


The pelvic bones never fuse. It is not why there is any suggested age for breeding and most experienced in breeding don't follow any age suggestions or have a variety of other reasons they tend to breed at a certain age. Sedentary, older animals may have issues with the ligaments that hold the pelvic bones not relaxing to allow enough separation and with fat buildup. With colony or large pen raised guinea pigs that move around more as adults that issue is pretty much eliminated too and there is no longer a noticeable difference in the age groups.
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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#9  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:15 am


I used to have a hog farm-- sometimes I skinned hogs instead of scalding-- I was amazed at how much Guinea pigs resembled hogs when butchering... for GP I like to leave the skin on.... part of that is just laziness i am sure...
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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Ghost » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:43 pm


michaels4gardens wrote:I used to have a hog farm-- sometimes I skinned hogs instead of scalding-- I was amazed at how much Guinea pigs resembled hogs when butchering... for GP I like to leave the skin on.... part of that is just laziness i am sure...


So, between you, me and GBov, that makes three guinea pig eaters on Rabbit talk (well that continue to post)? If so, please post your favorite cuy recipes on that thread, be sure to include that you use skin-on cuy.
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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Zass » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:15 pm


My family tried them out for about a year. We ate a few, and sold many more as pets, just because the demand was so high here. (No pet store in this little city at all.)
They were able to sustain and breed entirely on veggie scraps, hay, and fresh foods during the spring and summer, but it was very very uneconomical to feed them during the winter.
I consider it a more or less successful experiment, but that they would be a better option for parts of the country with a longer growing season.

We just have a couple of the sows as pets now.

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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Ghost » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:34 pm


akane wrote:The pelvic bones never fuse. It is not why there is any suggested age for breeding and most experienced in breeding don't follow any age suggestions or have a variety of other reasons they tend to breed at a certain age. Sedentary, older animals may have issues with the ligaments that hold the pelvic bones not relaxing to allow enough separation and with fat buildup. With colony or large pen raised guinea pigs that move around more as adults that issue is pretty much eliminated too and there is no longer a noticeable difference in the age groups.


So your saying no mater the age or sex or whether or not the individual has given birth the pelvic bones never fuse! That seams to explain guinea pigs locomotion. In most mammals the fuses pelvis structure provides a stable base to attach powerful muscles that allow running and jumping. Without the fused pelvis the GPs sort of amble along with there front legs providing roughly equal locomotion power to the rear. This is evidenced by the equal amounts of meat on hind quarters and the shoulder blades.

If you look at other members of the Caviidae https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caviidae family such as the Patagonian Mara https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patagonian_mara they can hop-run especially when escaping danger. Just by looking at them you can see a significant amount of muscle mass in there hind quarters. I would guess that an anatomical examination would show that pelvis bones of Mara are fused thus allowing them greater power for locomotion.

__________ Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:34 pm __________

I did a little experiment with a test butcher (feeding dead animals to non-picky eaters) and I've worked on my procedure for skinning guinea pigs. I plan on waiting until the Texas weather cools before fixing cuy again. The next time I fix cuy, I'll try to take more pictures. I wish to start a new how-to thread for making western shin off cuy. It will be a complete how-to incorporating all I have learned from start to finish. For now it doesn't seam like people are clamoring for this information, so for now I'll just post a snippet of the post I am working on, just enough for the new info.


--Using the seam ripper to start the skinning process--
cuy-butcher.png
cuy-butcher.png (539.81 KiB) Viewed 412 times

To preform the first cut (red line) Grab on of the front feet and jab the spike under the skin. Slide the ripper down the leg and towards the head. The seam ripper works best when you use the spike part to lift the skin away from the carcass (use this for all seam ripper cuts). For the second cut (blue line), grab the other front leg and and jab the spike under the skin. Slide the ripper down the leg then cut across the upper torso until you join the first cut.

To make the third cut (green line) lift the flap created by the first two cuts and put the spike end under the flap then rip towards the anal/genital region. This is where using the spike end to lift the skin away from the carcass is most useful, because at this stage, you don't want to cut into the abdominal cavity. To make cuts 4 and 5 (Orange lines) use the same procedure as the second cut.
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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#13  Unread postby akane » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:05 pm


I don't even do separate leg cuts. I remove the feet, slit the entire middle (the green line on that pic), and it just comes off over the end of the leg bones as I slice between the skin and muscle of one side and then the other while pulling. The head takes more effort to go around if you want to leave it on but I usually don't so the only other full cut I make is the throat after cervical dislocation or co2 chamber to be certain of death and bleed them out before slitting the skin lengthwise. After skinning I can just cut deeper into the abdomen to remove digestive tract and whether I want to anything else or if I'm making them into pet food I leave the organs in the body cavity. That way the animals don't realize they are chewing up organs with the rest of their frozen prey.
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Re: Skinning Guinea Pigs

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Ghost » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:07 pm


I did another test butcher (feed dead animals to non-fussy eaters) to apply some of Akane's advice.

This time, I started cutting by inserting the seam ripper point under the chin and ripping towards the anus (but stopping before it). I find the seam ripper cool, because it prevents cutting too deep, however the tool will only cut is you hold it at the correct angle. Following Akane's advice, I was able to remove the skin from the front legs by simply removing the front feat and pulling the leg through.

In this test skinning, I did not finish removing the skin. In the hog slaughter video I linked, I liked how the man used the hind feet to aid him when pulling the hide away from the carcass. I would like to experiment that part next.
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