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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 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: 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 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: 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
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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 » Wed May 15, 2019 9:30 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.

__________ Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:08 pm __________

Well, as I stated earlier in this thread I really wanted to create a how-to post on processing western skin-off cuy. Well processing my 3rd guinea pig did not go well. I posted a sort of rant to RT, not sure it it is really worth reading, but it can show you how things can go wrong.

I need to resign myself that skinning a GP will never be as easy as skinning a rabbit. Open skinning is just trickier then case skinning. I will try again some day, but right now I'm just not as enthusiastic about trying again "real soon". Also, even when David's heard was back up to full productivity, he was not quite ready to give up a 2LB GP. It was not until he started he started talking about how the herd was too big and he would have to reduce the herd.

I do want this thread to be a chiefly informative thread, so I will start with what went right. My curved blade worked well, I had an alert setup on eBay and I did find an exacto #23 blade for a not too crazy price. I think it was made by Excel, it was a name brand, not a cheep blade. I did like the size, the exacto #10 was ok, but I think the larger size was nice. The #23 was not too big. A #22 might also be a good blade, I tried to get one cheep, but another story. I think the #22 would have work fine, but I did like having the double sided that I could hold either direction. The other tool that preformed well for me were the combat scissors.

I still recommend THIS hog butcher video on YouTube. I would not consider it an instructional video, because he does not describe what he is doing, or what to watch out for. The video is however excellently filmed and executed with skill. The video does give you an idea of the effect you should look for.

In the hog video the man brakes the bone and cuts the hog's hind feet free. The Man then uses the detached feet as a handle to pull the hide away from the carcass. I found this to work well with my guinea pig. The next time I think I will break both bones before I even start to cut the hide. also once the foot is loose I might tie the two feed together with wire. Once this is done I can attach a weight to the wire that will pull the hide as I work.

One other thing that worked well, was using fish hooks to hold the carcass. In the hog video, after breaking off the feet a complex hook is used to lift the carcass. The hook is specifically made for pig size carcass. What I found works well to hold the GP is fish hooks. Once both feet are loose and can dangle I embed the hook into the muscle in the inside of the knee. From the hooks string was used to suspend the carcass. I found this quite secure for the processing.

Also, thanks to Akane, I don't bother splitting the front legs. I just remove the front feet and pull the hide around the front feet. This is the same way most people do the front legs of rabbits.

Now is the time to talk about what went wrong. Elephant in the room, I cut into the abdomen way before I wanted too. I would consider that to be my number one mistake, that seems to trigger other things going wrong from there. When I first learned about open skinning this is what concerned me most. I think I was relying on the seam ripper to limit the depth of cut and this time that strategy back-fired. I'm not sure if I will keep using the ripper or if I will just use the hook blade. I do like the jabby part of the ripper though. Also the first part of the skinning the GP was on a table that was too low for comfortable working.

I'm thinking about doing the first cut with the head on. Jab the pointy part of the ripper under the chin and slitting only in inch or two, not going past the rib cage. Then I will insert my finger to lift the hid away from the abdominal wall. As I make room between the hid and the carcass. I will cut the hide down the ventral side.

I am still looking for hints and tips, other than, just fix it with the skin on!

__________ Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:56 pm __________

OK, I've been thinking since the last GP I processed. I experimented with the seam ripper on some stretch wrap. I know GP will be different than the wrap, but it did give me some experience holding the seam ripper in different ways. I have come up with two different ways to hold the ripper while using my finger to separate the skin from the abdomen. In both methods, I start with an initial cut, then I insert my finger(s) from one hand into the incision. At the same time I hold the ripper with the other hand.

I have taken pictures using the stretch wrap. I painted the wrap black to make it easier to see, but at some places it is semitransparent. The green in the packaging under the wrap. The way that seems easiest, I call the two finger method. Here I insert my index & middle finger under the "skin". As you can see, there is a "groove" between my fingers, this is where I put the ripper. I am able to slice through the wrapper without damaging anything under the wrap. If there is enough room I would think this to be my preferred method.
ripper-two-finger.jpg
ripper-two-finger.jpg (61.22 KiB) Viewed 484 times


If there is not enough room for two fingers, I could use the one finger method. In this I just lay the ripper on top of my finger. Here is three different angles to see what I am talking about.
ripper-one-finger.jpg
ripper-one-finger.jpg (43.87 KiB) Viewed 484 times


I would cut until I was close to the anal/genital region and stop there. I Would reach my fingers around under the skin and probe around. The goal is to separate the skin all the way around. Reach around the large intestine/anus from one side. Then probe around the other side to loosen the skin.

I would flip the animal over onto the belly. I would insert the ripper under the skin where tail would be (but there isn't one) and cut one side around the anus. Then slice the skin, the other way around the anus.

I would flip the animal back onto it's back. I would then join the cuts. I'm not sure which cutting utensil to use. perhaps the exacto blade or combat sheers. The idea is that I would have a small patch of fur covering the anal/genital region.

Just some thoughts and pics...

__________ Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:31 pm __________

Ok this is update one thousand and one, for people that have not been bored from all my other updates. remember, if I ever get it together, I will start a new thread to act as a how-to. That being said, I got another opportunity to do a test butcher of a GP, and I am glad I have hungry creatures to eat my screw-ups.

First off. my idea of doing the front slit in two parts, seems to workout well. Part one, jabbing the ripper under the chin then start ripping towards the anus, but stop while you are still at the ribs. Part two, put your fingers into the incision and use your fingers to separate the abdomen from the skin. Once this is done, the loose skin is rather baggy. The pics from the last update I use cling wrap to simulate skin. The skin is in no way that tight! So to cut the second part, I would rather use a hook blade to cut.

The part that tripped me up is also a part that I had difficulty with when butchering the third GP I ate. The skin seems especially well attached near the coccyx. This makes it hard to form a separate piece of fur containing the anal/genital region. Whenever I did rabbits, I made the anal/genital region a separate piece.

I suppose I will need to do another test butcher to figure out that region. I do have an idea. I'm thinking that the first cut I will use the seam ripper on the hind leg. I would start on the outside of the leg starting near the knee, then cut on the outside leg until I reach the back, cutting towards the tail bone and keeping the cut behind the anus. The second cut would start on the other hind leg making a mirror image of the first cut. The two cuts will eventually meet behind the anus at the top part of the animal's back side. It is sort of hard to describe this. I don't have an image showing a GP from that angle.

Once those cuts were made, there would be a single post-anus slit going from one leg to the other. From there, I would lay the carcass on it's back and start cutting at the chin making chest cut. Once the chest is cut I would then use my fingers like I described earlier. I would use the hook blade to cut the separated skin down the belly. Once I got close to the genital region, I would form a Y. Each side of the Y would go around either side of the genital/anal region. Each side of the Y would eventually meet the post-anus slit.

From there I would proceed like I described in the Jan 28 update. I would brake the bones, hang the carcass and use the feet as handles to pull the skin off.

__________ Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:52 pm __________

April update

It is odd because when I am reading over what I have written and I am figuring out how to skin a GP it is always so abstract. My approach is sort of like dissembling a laptop. I've got a mathematical mindset with thoughts of topology. But, when I it comes to testing-out my ideas, things are quite a bit different. First I kill a guinea pig, then I find myself in the outdoors with a knife on one hand and a dead body in the other. The whole thing is always a bit messier than I imagined. Again, I am glad to have hungry creatures that love to eat GPs regardless how my butchering attempts go.

When I finish my how-to thread, it will be straight forward do this then do that description. This thread is for working things out. Here I feel free to ramble-on and include observations that are not directly relevant. When making my drawings, I draw on top of the photo I took when butchering my second GP. I'm so delighted to work with the image, it's so well balanced. The GP in the image did not have a nickname at the time of her dispatchment. I have worked with the image many hours (I have created many line sets that were never posted). As I worked, I have given her the postmortem nickname Little Sis. As I draw I thank Little Sis for lying there so still, her carcass laid out so perfectly, it makes such a great photo for diagramming the process. I thank her for that and the lovely meal she made for me.

Now that babbling is out of the way, I was able to do another test butcher to test out my skinning plans in the real world. This time I was able to get to a point where I feel that I am ready to butcher another guinea pig for my consumption.


  • Step one: break bones and make a post anal slit.
    cuy-butcher-A-try1.png
    cuy-butcher-A-try1.png (544.69 KiB) Viewed 199 times

    • 1A) Break the leg bones using the either needle-nose pliers or the flat side of a knife. Break the hind leg bone between the foot and knee. do this for both hind legs. Lay the carcass stomach down and feel the spine. At a point near the end of the spine and a small distance from the anus, make a slit (red line) in the skin using a flat knife. The cut should go all the way through the skin it is ok if the cut exposes the bone in the spine. This part of the GP has little padding between the skin and bone.

    • 1B) Insert the jabby point of the seam ripper under the skin near the point where the bone was broken on the right leg. Make a slit (blue line) in the leg skin on the outside of the leg. Continue this slit until you reach the red line. Make a similar cut (green line) on the left leg until it joins the red line. When I tried this I had to use the flat blade in a few places. Once you are finished you should have a single slit that runs from one leg to the other. The slit should separate the skin on the top side of the carcass from that on the belly side. The anus will be still attached to the fur on the belly side but separated from the top side fur.

  • Step 2: opening the belly side of the skin.
    cuy-butcher-B-try5.png
    cuy-butcher-B-try5.png (539.65 KiB) Viewed 199 times

    • 2A) lay the carcass on it's back. Insert the jabby bit of the ripper under the skin beneath the chin. Then create the short incision (red line) that does not pass the rib cage.

    • 2B) Jam your finger onto the slit and pull the skin away from the body. As I do this the loosened skin is sort of baggy. Use the hook blade to continue the belly side incisions (green line). You can use one hand to probe under the sin and the other side to hold the hook blade. Continue the cut until you get close to the anal/genital region.

    • 2C) Make the incision in two two paths around the anal/genital region (dark & Light blue lines) that join with the post-anal slit. The post-anal slit is not visible on the side of the carcass visible in photo 2, it is therefore represented symbolically as the black & white dashed line. I start both blue lines from the green line. These cuts were made while while probing my finger under the skin to separate it from the carcass.

      I found it difficult to make the blue cuts in a single stroke. You will need to start the dark blue cut at the green cut, but as you work your way around "the back side" you might find the dark blue cut difficult to make with the hook blade. You might wish to start dark blue cut a second time at the post-anal slit and work towards your existing dark blue line cut. You should be able to make the two parts meet somewhere, If you use a flat blade be sure not to cut too deep. You can use the same procedure to complete the light blue line.

    Once step 2 is com pleated, the hide is now in two pieces. A small piece of hide covers the anal/genital region and the rest of the carcass is covered by the bigger piece.

END OF sample tutorial

That is about as far as a got with the last test butcher. I feel I am ready to do a butcher for my consumption. With the GP getting the skin off if the hardest part for me. Removing the GI tract is sort of icky to look at, but not difficult to figure out. Depending on how that goes I'll do a full right up.

To finish the tutorial I would say cut off the head and front feet. Once that is done, follow the hog video from separating the legs out and pulling on them to pull the hide away from the carcass using the hind legs as handles.

Once the big part of the skin is off, follow the rabbit processing video.

__________ Wed May 15, 2019 8:30 pm __________

Hi everybody reading this. It seems that this thread has been sort of a blog post for me because, I am the only user actively posting on this thread. I have however watched the image view counter going up, so I can see that there are actually people reading this thread. I will be asking you people for some help today.

As I stated earlier, I am working on a how-to guide for butchering skin-off cuy. I would like your input and CONSTRICTIVE criticism. In the block quote below, I will post a portion (not the whole thing) of the how-to from my harddrive. I would like your input on how I can improve this writing. I am chiefly interest in errors in grammar and spelling errors (wrong words) that made it past my cheap spell checker. I am also interest in what you think of my presentation and instructive flow. The chief question in my mind is, "Do you think this is a set of instructions you could follow?". At this point, I don't need anyone to actually follow my instructions. But, I want to know could you follow these instructions if you wanted to?

I am also taking criticisms of my diagrams and how well the written instructions and diagrams fit together. Do the images help with understanding what I am saying in the text? Also, In the example I have written it in the second person form, meaning, "You do this then you do that.". Do you think this is a good form to put the instructions in? Do you think a first person instructive form would be better. Example, "I do this first, then after that I do this other thing." At this point I'm not that interested in alternative techniques. I would like to get a full set of instructions out there. Once I have a complete version of the how-to posted, I would be more interested in different ways to achieve a skinned cuy meat carcass.

** Recommended videos **

I recommend watching two videos that will help you out. First this hog butchering video. I suggest you watch the hog butchering video until the skin is off around the 5:21 mark. I will not be making the same cuts in the same order. But what I do want you to notice is how he pulls the skin away from the carcass and how he occasionally uses the curved blade to cut the skin away from the connective tissue. This is how you should be using your curved blade.

[Editor note: this portion on the instruction will not get far enough to reference the second video]

The second video is this rabbit processing video. Once the skin has been removed, I will pretty much follow the procedure she lays out after the skin is removed around the 8:23 mark. You will need to watch the rabbit processing video, because I will refer heavily to it. There may be a few places where my procedure is different from the rabbit video, but That will be the exception and I will note it as such.

*BEFORE*
Before you begin the dressing process you will need to dispatch the GP and make sure he is "good and dead". This is because, with this procedure, there are a cuts and bone breaks that before head removal.
For the first two steps, you will put the carcass on a flat surface. To make this process easier I highly suggest you have your table set at a level that is easy to work with. Having to bend over to work will make the process much more difficult.

  • Step one: break bones and make a post anal slit.
    cuy-butcher-A-try1.png
    cuy-butcher-A-try1.png (544.69 KiB) Viewed 199 times

    • 1A) Break the leg bones using the either needle-nose pliers or the flat side of a knife. Break the hind leg bone closer to the foot than the knee. do this for both hind legs.
    • 1B) Lay the carcass belly-side down on your working surface. It is best to make the first cut on top of the spine. If you make the cut past the end of the spine you risk cutting or nicking the large intestine. The spine prevents you from cutting too deep. To make the first cut you will need to feel around spine. Place your flat blade on top of the spine near the end and "saw" threw the skin to make a slit represented by the red line. The cut should go all the way through the skin. This part of the GP has little padding between the skin and bone, it is ok if the cut exposes bone.
    • 1C) Insert the tip of the seam ripper under the skin near the point where the bone was broken on the right leg. Make a slit (blue line) in the skin on the outside of the leg. Continue this slit until you reach the red line. Make a similar cut (green line) on the left leg until it joins the red line. When I tried this I had to use the flat blade in a few places.

    Once you are finished you should have a single slit that runs from one leg to the other. The slit should separate the skin on the top side of the carcass from that on the belly side. The anus will be still attached to the fur on the belly side but separated from the top side fur.
  • Step 2: opening the belly side of the skin.
    cuy-butcher-B-try5.png
    cuy-butcher-B-try5.png (539.65 KiB) Viewed 199 times

    • 2A) lay the carcass belly-side up. Insert the tip of the ripper under the skin beneath the chin. Then create a short incision (red line). Make the cut long enough for you to get your finger in it, but be sure to not go past the rib cage.
    • 2B) Jam your finger onto the slit and pull the skin away from tissue underneath. As you do this, the loosened skin will be baggy. Use the hook blade to continue the belly side incisions (green line). You can use one hand to probe under the skin and the other hand to hold the blade. Continue the cut until you get an inch or so away from the anal/genital region.
    • 2C) Make the incision in two two paths around the anal/genital region (dark & Light blue lines) that join with the post-anal slit. The post-anal slit is not visible on this photo of the carcass, it is therefore represented symbolically as the black & white dashed line. Start both of these cuts from the green line. When I make these cuts, I probing my finger under the skin to separate it from the carcass.

      I found it difficult to make the blue cuts in a single stroke. You will need to start the dark blue cut at the green cut. As you cut around "the bend", you might find the dark blue cut difficult to make with the hook blade. You might wish to start dark blue cut a second time at the post-anal slit and work towards your existing dark blue line cut. You should be able to make the two parts meet somewhere, If you need to use the flat blade be sure not to cut too deep. You can use the same procedure to complete the light blue line.

    Once step 2 is completed, the hide is now in two pieces. A small piece of hide covers the anal/genital region. The larger piece of hide covers rest of the carcass
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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Psybird

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