Register

Guinea pigs: working herds

Dogs and Cats, Other Pets, Poultry and Livestock. If it's yours and it runs, flies, swims or crawls, post about it here.
User avatar
Posts: 85
Joined: October 10, 2017
Location: Texas Zone 8
United States of America Male
Thanks: 19
Thanked: 16 in 13 posts
BunnyBucks: 525.00

Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Ghost » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:15 pm


A longer title could be "My fascination with working feeder herds of guinea pig". It sounds odd to refer to a herd of guinea pigs as a working herd. This use of "working" refer to the fact that the herd provides something to it's care taker. Guinea pigs can't provide much other than their very bodies, so the individual gives it's all in return for the care and feeding of the herd.

My friend "David" has such a heard and I have become enamored with the herd. His herd provides feeders for David's reptiles and a few medium size felines (not house cats). It should be noted, "David" already has enough to deal with regarding the public perception of his operation, and he does not want to take flack from the public due to widely publicizing the nature of his herd. I am taking measures to conceal David's identity, and unfortunately that means that I can't post photos. :sneaky2:

In lieu of pictures and video of David's herd I have found YouTube videos of similar feeder herds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_TUBzkwlM8 #Georgia Zoo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27nMREV1oZM #Kytoto Zoo
In neither video is it explicitly stated that they are used as feeder animals. After having analyzed the videos, I am %99 sure they are. Two factors lead me to this conclusion. One factor being, the institutions where the GPs are raised also house creatures that generally eat fresh kills or have there diets supplemented by fresh kills. The second factor is that the GPs are mixing in large numbers along with the presents of babies in the herd. This leads me to think that the GPs are allowed to breed freely. When GPs are allowed to breed freely, they must be culled, otherwise the GP population would rise at exponential rate. I love the video from Kytoto Zoo because, it shows several GPs is a highly relaxed state. That video shows that the GPs are well adjusted to their living condition. Looking on David's herd I often see GPs chilled-out to that extent. :groovyhippie2:

From time to time, I find it highly relaxing to simply observe the herd from a low angle such as while sitting on the ground. The GP herd has a certain dynamic that I found fascination. The way that move together and there calls they give for food. I also love the way that the GPs have to totally chill-out. I have trained myself to look at them as a herd. By that, I mean I acknowledge, individuals come and go but the herd goes on. There a few individuals with really cool markings, however looking at them as a herd, I am ok with the fact that David could cull the cool looking ones any day. That is why I concentrate on the group as apposed to the individual.

I have known for a long time the nature of David's herd, but it was not until the last few months, that I have become enamored with them. David's herd lives in a sort of indoor/outdoor setup, where during the day the GPs move freely between an enclosed ares and a court yard area (I will probably go over David's setup in a separate thread). I just can't get over the guinea pig's ability to totally chill out. When the GPs relax and chill-out, they are masters at the art of relaxation. They are unreserved in here ability to just relax. Even though their lives are short, they appear to live enjoy the life they do have. They are sample creatures with no concept of death. That being, the fact that any one of them could be snuffed out of existence at any time just because David has hungry mouths to feed, does not phase them in any way.

David often culls by simply going into the indoor section of the habit and grabbing individuals. After checking over the GP to verify size and sex the GP is humanely dispatched with cervical dislocation. During the cull, the GPs will run and hide, but their hiding is comically ineffective and it is obvious where the individual is hiding. David has a large variety of creatures that are regularly fed guinea pig. That being, David will need GPs of different sizes, therefor the GPs are culled at all different sizes and ages. What I find hard to wrap my brain around is after the cull the GPs go back to there normal relaxed selves in way way less than half an hour. I guess the GPs are too simple a creature to understand death. Even though David dispatches the GPS in the presents of other GPs, the act causes no long term stress in the herd. I need to remember the conditions that guinea pigs were domesticated under. In Pre-Columbian Peru they were raised inside peoples houses in close association with humans. GPs were feed vegetable scraps. When the humans wanted some meat, they could just grab a GP to make cuy for dinner. Those GPs that could not live under those conditions were breed out of existence.

Until now, I have not had that much appreciation for pet guinea pigs. After all, what do you with an animal that has no demands other than to be cute and adorable. I know I am reading too much into the situation. but I have so much more respect for a creature that provides food for the other creatures at David's place and can remain cute and adorable despite the fact, they can be culled at any time.

The base food for Davids herd is commercial GP food. However there diet is supplemented with fresh vegetables and grass. I find it cute that just about any sort of vegetable scraps are relished by the GPs. Someone caring for David's heard mentioned that they are like little garbage disposals. I have been giving them banana peals and the husks from fresh corn. To my amazement these wast materials are treated as the best GP treat in the world. Fresh grass is something that also will trigger squeals of delight from the GPs. GPs are just so easily delighted I find it incredible. :laugh:

As a feeder herd David's guinea pigs are basically they are a meat animal. I feel that his operation epitomizes the humane raising of meat animals. The animals are well cared for, respected and then humanly dispatched. Having eaten one of David's GP I found it incredibly delicious. It was also good to know that the meat was sourced from such a well cared for and respected creatures. It's funny to be fascinated by the GP's behavior and the way they don't seam to take anything seriously. They are so cute and they make me smile, and at the same time, I know how scrumptious they are when cooked up. :wink:

PS. I will start a separate thread on why someone from a western culture might be interest in starting a herd of cavy for meat. In that post I would me explain the difference between David's operation and an operation to provide meat for human consumption.

edit: added less than half hour time frame to paragraph #6
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".

8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 7015
Joined: July 17, 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 1033 in 917 posts
BunnyBucks: 36,110.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#2  Unread postby akane » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:28 pm


Disorganization of randomly saved things and crashing a laptop about every year I don't immediately see what I want in my guinea pigs picture area folder but I have gathered a variety of ways guinea pigs are raised for meat around the world. I keep all my harddrives but where my external laptop enclosure went to plug them in for pulling the pics I'm not sure and photobucket was efficient for storage since like 2002 until they crammed all sorts of ads on there so I can't even view my own photos while logged in without tons of effort. I'm trying to figure out how to pull what I know I don't have elsewhere.... But I have various places pics and vids of bamboo slat cages in southeast asia, stone block pens have popped up in more populated areas of south america, some of the fancier indoor/outdoor split bird aviary type setups of manmade instead of just modified materials in other parts of the world or for larger places like zoos, and big outdoor wire pasture runs in the UK for rescues and a few individuals raising meat in the US. I also had some pictures of the oldest style raising with clay hiding huts in the food prep areas but with nearly an entire wall open to the outside as the cuy came and went. Then they had a tiered roughly made shelving area in one corner with only rails for confining the cuy planned to be food soonest as they collected them when they came to get table scraps before going out to graze again. Housing seems largely decided by predation risk and then by the availability and time people have to provide food versus needing to collect a lot of low energy plants or let them forage on their own instead of concentrated bagged feed that's easy to buy.

Overall guinea pigs are very low energy animals. They will move constantly when given a reason but that reason is generally only to eat food constantly for their usual low energy diet. On a more concentrated food they spend a lot of time sprawled out. They get fat quite easy for a reason. However, you'll find other meat animals aren't so different when given the option and temperament is not ignored while breeding. Guinea pigs are not also always as peaceful as they look either. Partially they are so subtle because they have such limited body movement. It's less common to group raise rabbits due to their territorial behavior and tendency to get in fights over space but well culled meat rabbits have been bred to stay pretty chilled out all the time too. If they were bred more towards the herd aspect instead of evolving for a loose colony and then being raised individually all those generations they would probably be as relaxed as guinea pigs. I've even seen pictures of setups of gerbils that normally naturally keep a single breeding pair and only live with family members prevented from breeding below them culled to the point they would colony breed peacefully in a large cage. It's only rabbits' constant defining of space and higher tendency to bolt since they have more agility than a guinea pig at running away that keeps them so lean when you switch to colony raising. They still sprawl around the food and water containers for cooling in large groups and they sprawl in their cages with little concern. One of my champagne d'argent pictures was used by someone because they wanted a pic of an extremely relaxed looking rabbit as he was simply letting himself conform to the curve of the corner of his cage. Properly culled feeder rats will spend the day piled up sleeping with each other not disturbed by wrestling dogs, human cleaning, and so forth. There are times I would run out into the field concerned about my large livestock only to find they were just enjoying the sun and not a mass death sprawled across the grass.

It's one of the main traits of domestication but the smaller aspects are often overlooked by people breeding for other purposes or trying to house them with the least risk and the ability to throw a large group together in a natural setting gets lost. When people get stuck on appearance or various performance aspects they will sometimes go extra lengths to keep an animal that can't live calmly and they continually try to more securely confine them to avoid issues either out of need or just less work. One of the things that has consistently remained a goal with guinea pigs is peaceful housing in a group since it was easy enough to just keep housing them that way and the main goal in the US has been peaceful pets. The fact they were not raised for much besides their cuteness and a secondary ability to be a food source for certain pets or more exotic animals has actually been a benefit to their personality. Colony raising rabbits after generations of cages, the complexities of various large livestock with certain breeds being known for difficult housing, or the poor selection for temperament over looks when breeding smaller feeder rodents has led to a lot more problems in the groups than you normally get with guinea pigs.

However, I have had flat out aggressive guinea pigs. I've had shoulders torn to the bone and eyes blinded. Rescues get in difficult to pair individuals sometimes. Often people stupidly confine a single male/female pair to a small cage and the males never stop wanting to breed so the females turn as aggressive as guinea pigs will generally get when they are more mentally stable. They launch fur ripping attacks at every guinea pig that comes near them for the rest of their lives even when you move them to much larger spaces. I'd say it's far more vicious than some displays I've seen of rabbits pitching each other to the ground when it remains only a display of ability for territory with no actual desire to do harm but they are leaping 3' in the air to do it. The rabbits simply make a much bigger show than the limited movement of a guinea pig and they more often draw blood even if on accident in the increased movement. You don't notice as easily the rapid fire biting and fur ripping with resulting squeals of guinea pigs because of their short movements and frequent noise making anyway versus when more athletic animals or ones less likely to make noise suddenly mount a defense. If you watch the more subtle aspects of a group of guinea pigs they first off have a greater tendency to avoid confrontation by giving up an area to not start something with an individual they don't get along with, no territorial desire is left in them, and second their attempts to defend themselves are short, violent, and over so fast with so little movement you don't always realize just how often a guinea pig did basically get in an equivalent fight to other animals we easily get more concerned over. The rarity to do lasting obvious damage in their attacks also makes it hard to realize how often they find ways to cause pain to get their point across. You'll see a lot more reports of aggressive or stress response behavior, complete breakdowns of the herd dynamic leading to actual injuries, and complex introduction steps on pet sites where guinea pigs have fewer options on the individuals they interact with so they are required to defend their location and they are more closely observed. The huge space per guinea pig requirements that have kept expanding did so for a reason but they are a bit inaccurate since it's not the space per guinea pig but just space and the more guinea pigs the more they can interact with who they want while using avoidance since the territorial behavior was so thoroughly bred out of them both naturally and then kept that way by humans. It seems a bit backward but more guinea pigs equals more peaceful pens instead of more chances for fights since their first response is to avoid rather than defend and go find the individuals they get along with if given the option. You can easily set up guinea pigs to show constant stress with biting, smashing each other, and squealing even to the point of actual injuries just by putting them in a standard cage.
http://s1321.beta.photobucket.com/user/takakageri/library/
Failing might just mean you are trying to climb instead of swim https://youtu.be/evathYHc1Fg

The following user would like to thank akane for this post
Ghost, Preitler

User avatar
Posts: 85
Joined: October 10, 2017
Location: Texas Zone 8
United States of America Male
Thanks: 19
Thanked: 16 in 13 posts
BunnyBucks: 525.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Ghost » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:25 pm


I'm a bit confused on the meaning of your first paragraph. You are trying to say you have a whole load of pictures of GP enclosures but you can't get to them? You are also pissed off at Photobucket for changes to there system. Don't worry, I would like to see them, but it will be years before I set up my own GP herd. If you do find them, please post, but take your time. I'm in no hurry.

akane wrote: Overall guinea pigs are very low energy animals. They will move constantly when given a reason but that reason is generally only to eat food constantly for their usual low energy diet. On a more concentrated food they spend a lot of time sprawled out. They get fat quite easy for a reason. However, you'll find other meat animals aren't so different when given the option and temperament is not ignored while breeding.


Being low energy is probable good from an economic/ecological standpoint, because they will use less energy in their daily activity and store more energy in there bodies, leaving more calories on food energy can be transferred up to the next trophic level https://www.thefreedictionary.com/trophic+level.

Yeah, I can now understand. I suppose that the commercial GP food is dense in calories so the GP would do a little work in eating it then laze around all day. The one I butchered was probably a bit fat. Could be that is why he tasted so good. When I cooked the whole meat carcass, I pulled the cooked meat from the bone, it left a fatty feel on my fingers. The fat felt very much like the fat on a cooked pork chop. Next time I butcher, I'll take a look at the liver. I'm not sure if GPs are subject to fatty liver disease (it can be an issue in birds).

akane wrote: Overall guinea pigs are very low energy animals. They will move Guinea pigs are not also always as peaceful as they look either. Partially they are so subtle because they have such limited body movement. It's less common to group raise rabbits due to their territorial behavior and tendency to get in fights over space but well culled meat rabbits have been bred to stay pretty chilled out all the time too.


Yeah, I haven't seen too many GP fights, but I know there are, because occasionally I see male guinea pigs with a scratched-up rear-end with scabs. When David culls, the scratched up rear end will always put the GP on the "will be culled" list. I'm not sure if it is best to cull the scratch-er or the scratch-ee. I'm sure Dave does NOT want my advice on changing his culling practices. I'm mainly thinking the hypothetical, "if I get my own herd". I really want to make it a separate thread, but the colony aspect is the one advantage of raising GPs for meat over rabbits. It is interesting though that rabbits could be artificially selected for colony life. It would be nice if people looking into colony meat rabbits could use on-line communities to exchange rabbits bread for colony temperament.
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".

6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership
Posts: 2095
Joined: May 25, 2012
Location: Florida, zone 9b
Thanks: 14
Thanked: 139 in 111 posts
BunnyBucks: 12,410.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#4  Unread postby GBov » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:07 am


When I would cull my extra males they always has scratched up shoulders and flanks but never serious. And watching the young males sparring was fun, no damage but lots of noise and fury. :lol: Then they would scatter when a high ranking male would amble over to see what was going on.

They are funny in a colony/herd. But so are rabbits. Its nice to see any animal acting normally, our "pets" so seldom get the chance to be natural or normal.

Posts: 7
Joined: February 7, 2018
Location: NW Missouri
United States of America
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 1 in 1 post
BunnyBucks: 35.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Greencaller » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:17 pm


In doing research and watching videos of other folks' gp setups is the more pigs there are, the happier and healthier the entire colony seems to be. There used to be a video (might still be able to find it) of a guy walking through his gp shed shadowed by a flock of them, all excitedly wheeking. I find colonies fun and relaxing to watch, and I'd love to have my own "working" herd as well soon.

The fascinating thing I find about them is they are grass grazers - more so than rabbits. Some larger Peruvian operations grow large flats of wheatgrass (or winter/red rye, I recently learned) for their herds. I know it's great stuff for rabbits (and the leavings a great chicken snack), too. Since guinea pigs generally don't burrow or climb, managing tractors - rotated over plots of wheatgrass??? - is a do-able option. They can really mow down some grass in a yard, too! (Provided they don't nibble on something poisonous.)

Since the two species are not related, I wonder if I couldn't rotate my pastures between my rabbits, gps, and chickens/birds? (If I'm going to bother building rabbit-proof mini pastures, I might as well make the best use of them, eh?) It's an idea I'm playing with.

8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 7015
Joined: July 17, 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 1033 in 917 posts
BunnyBucks: 36,110.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#6  Unread postby akane » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:34 pm


Guinea pigs fall under "grazing" and rabbits fall under "browsing" styles of herbivores. Much like horses and sheep versus goats. Grazing animals will go for the ground growing young, thin plants first and then the brush or trees hanging down while avoiding many tougher weeds. A horse pasture gets filled with these pockets of weeds if you don't keep them mowed down and rotate grazing. Goats are often used to strip land of those weeds and thick areas of brush that are hard to mow because they will eat the tough and woody plants eagerly. You'll see just as many cottontails sitting on the mulch under decorative bushes in town eating off them as eating the edges of lawns. Guinea pigs will trim the lawns along the edges of shelter if you let them loose. They make great alternatives to using a weed whacker on basic lawn grass around objects and along buildings :lol:

Ghost wrote:I'm a bit confused on the meaning of your first paragraph. You are trying to say you have a whole load of pictures of GP enclosures but you can't get to them? You are also pissed off at Photobucket for changes to there system. Don't worry, I would like to see them, but it will be years before I set up my own GP herd. If you do find them, please post, but take your time. I'm in no hurry.


Photobucket used to be a completely free, infinite space, no ads hosting site that I basically used as permanent backup of my pics through various computer crashes. You now have to pay $2/month just to reduce the ads enough you can view your own pics without constantly closing things and it won't work with adblockers up. It's far higher per month to allow any pics to show up on other websites now. All the things I've posted over the years are now displaying some message about paying for 3rd party hosting instead of the pic and the same for most people who used it. That means I have to find a way to download 100s of pics to move them when I can't even navigate my own albums easily. It takes 10 times as long to find something I want to post again and I have to download it, upload it to another site, and then post it. A warning they were going to do that would have been nice. :roll:

I pulled one of my folders. I'm not going to post them directly and will just link to an album on my imgur account because they are not mine but they were still posted by people as examples for others to see. It's not the most useful for a large herd pen discussion but these are some smaller cages and carriers for the giant cuy variety from people in a Philippines group when I was trying to figure out how to do slat wood flooring instead of solid floors or ground dwelling. https://imgur.com/a/NmkxO
http://s1321.beta.photobucket.com/user/takakageri/library/
Failing might just mean you are trying to climb instead of swim https://youtu.be/evathYHc1Fg

Site Supporter
Posts: 25
Joined: January 30, 2018
Location: Merriam KS
United States of America Female
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 7 in 4 posts
BunnyBucks: 140.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Dani4Hedgies » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:34 am


Hmm never thought of keeping GP as a food source but I have heard that they are a good one and while I know that you can't keep GP and Rabbits together do to them having the ability to poison the other as a rotation of crop fields it might be doable. Going to have to chat with my partner about GPs. Thanks for all the great info.

8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 7015
Joined: July 17, 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 1033 in 917 posts
BunnyBucks: 36,110.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#8  Unread postby akane » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:38 pm


Plenty house rabbits and guinea pigs together. We were noting on another thread how the rabbits adjusted to the guinea pig fresh food diet pretty much instantly and wondered if they were getting the digestive bacteria necessary from the guinea pigs. They don't poison each other in any way. I have no idea what rumor you are even talking about. Rabbits do have a much greater capacity to injure a guinea pig even on accident with their strong legs and sharp nails and the occasional male pig will stupidly agree to a territory fight with a rabbit but that's the only real risk between the species. The rest is just the typical problems of colony raising rabbits. We feed the same rabbit pellets to all our south american rodents. Guinea pigs, degus, chinchillas.... and just make sure to add extra chewing for chins and degus and extra vit c for guinea pigs.
http://s1321.beta.photobucket.com/user/takakageri/library/
Failing might just mean you are trying to climb instead of swim https://youtu.be/evathYHc1Fg

Site Supporter
Posts: 25
Joined: January 30, 2018
Location: Merriam KS
United States of America Female
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 7 in 4 posts
BunnyBucks: 140.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Dani4Hedgies » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:08 pm


This is what I had heard/read

Rabbits may bully guinea pigs, which can make them stressed if they cannot get away. The bacteria, Bordetella bronchiseptica,is the most common cause of respiratory disease in guinea pigs. Rabbits, cats and dogs can carry this bacteria which can pass to guinea pigs and cause disease.

8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 7015
Joined: July 17, 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 1033 in 917 posts
BunnyBucks: 36,110.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#10  Unread postby akane » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:42 pm


I've never had a guinea pig get a respiratory infection except maybe 15years ago on cedar shavings housed alone. I haven't heard of it with other people keeping them together and actually it's not even the thing cautioned against by those who are paranoid of keeping them together. It's usually accidental injuries which so far has proven far more rare than stated, that 1 rabbit and 1 guinea pig don't communicate the same so would not satisfy each others' interaction needs, or that rabbit pellets are medicated (practically none are anymore) and guinea pigs can't eat them. I did have guinea pigs straight from a show with rabbits spread pastuerella to a rabbit without showing symptoms but it's not something they seem to routinely carry and the rabbit was a pet store purchase with unknown quality of breeding for immunity so she may have eventually succumbed to local strains from some source anyway. Simply quarantining guinea pigs the same as rabbits would likely eliminate that risk.

There's actually 5 rabbits loose but they weren't as eager to appear for greens as the guinea pigs. The pee build up is the only reason I don't have a rabbit colony anymore. Every time I've had them indoors no amount of scrubbing gets it off and I just end up having to empty the room and repaint.
Image

I think it was Zass saying the guinea pigs would sleep on the rabbits. :lol:
http://s1321.beta.photobucket.com/user/takakageri/library/
Failing might just mean you are trying to climb instead of swim https://youtu.be/evathYHc1Fg

6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership
Posts: 2095
Joined: May 25, 2012
Location: Florida, zone 9b
Thanks: 14
Thanked: 139 in 111 posts
BunnyBucks: 12,410.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#11  Unread postby GBov » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:34 pm


LOVELY picture!

Site Supporter
Posts: 25
Joined: January 30, 2018
Location: Merriam KS
United States of America Female
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 7 in 4 posts
BunnyBucks: 140.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Dani4Hedgies » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:04 pm


akane thank you for clarify that for me now that I know that is all false rumor I will look into doing a colony of the two. Thank you

8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 7015
Joined: July 17, 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 1033 in 917 posts
BunnyBucks: 36,110.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#13  Unread postby akane » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:20 pm


You still have the variable territorial nature of rabbits to deal with but that already exists in a rabbit colony. I did have a checkered giant that would kill very small rabbits like netherlands so she probably would have attacked guinea pigs too but her issue wouldn't just be guinea pigs. It was a personality problem with her in a colony at all. None of my netherlands or the standard chinchilla rabbits were a problem and others have kept full size meat breeds with guinea pigs but like all rabbit colonies you have to watch the individual rabbits for personality that might lead to above average aggression toward guinea pigs and often other rabbits that are easy targets. Like I said you can have the occasional male guinea pig decide stupidly he can take on a rabbit for territory but since most guinea pigs have very little territorial nature most of the time they only seriously start anything with known other males known to be capable of breeding and observed trying to take their sows. The potential issues aren't really increased over putting rabbits with other rabbits that have a large size difference.

If the main infection worried about is common bordetella my dogs are regularly exposed at training classes, competitions, play groups, dog parks, and other events and it would seem it should equally be an issue between dog and guinea pig when most people have both and often allow them contact at least through cage wire and sharing surfaces one right after the other. I have an even longer history of dogs nosing guinea pigs. I have to be careful posting on pet sites that have a ban on predatory animals being in pics with potential prey as a dangerous situation because usually there is a dog of a high prey drive breed photobombing attempts to take pics of new birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, small rodents... helping count babies, or wandering through ground pens. The only one I can't train any measure of safety beyond threat of death enough to prevent her going out of her way to kill supervised animals is the shiba and of course my 1 year old wolf hybrid will be a longer work in progress than most while being far harder to contain than a typical dog.
http://s1321.beta.photobucket.com/user/takakageri/library/
Failing might just mean you are trying to climb instead of swim https://youtu.be/evathYHc1Fg

Posts: 7
Joined: February 7, 2018
Location: NW Missouri
United States of America
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 1 in 1 post
BunnyBucks: 35.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Greencaller » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:42 am


Personally, if I wanted a canine work companion to help me with rounding up the smaller critters I'd go find a collie or collie cross pup over anything. While they're a classic herd dog, their instincts were bred less toward the nipping and more towards strong-eyeing and keeping things in groups. Only thing is they tend to be high energy and I'm not sure they'd stay busy enough with a small operation. And lots of time and patience goes into training them.

Speaking of which - I had the priveledge of meeting some hybrids and their owners on several occasions, getting to interact with them on a regular basis. They are some characters! I met one gal when her hybrid when he was an unruly ba***ahem* one year old pup. When I saw her again over a year later she'd taken him to carting classes and he was a real mellow fellow after that (besides recently been fixed) and content. Took his carting very seriously, too.

Anyway, about mixed colonies:

akane wrote:A horse pasture gets filled with these pockets of weeds if you don't keep them mowed down and rotate grazing. Goats are often used to strip land of those weeds and thick areas of brush that are hard to mow because they will eat the tough and woody plants eagerly.


My neighbors had one horse, several goats and the most well-grazed little pasture you ever saw. That fits with my idea of rotating pastures between the species. Rabbits tend to browse and eat more herbs than grass, gps now the grass and just about anything left and then the chickens take care of grains, seeds, bugs and leavings. At least, that's the idea.

Now I'm trying to calculate the ratio between how many pens of what size will provide enough fresh feed to how many of this species for how long. But I'm still in the reading phase of learning, and this site has so much good reading!

But as I understand it, GPs and rabbits will co-mingle if they're of the right disposition to do so. Well noted. In that case I might be wise to plan back-up pens in case somebody doesn't like to play nice?

I think I'm interested in colony raising because I'm addicted to watching large groups of little furry bodies scampering about and interacting with each other. Everything else is a delicious bonus, heh.

User avatar
Posts: 85
Joined: October 10, 2017
Location: Texas Zone 8
United States of America Male
Thanks: 19
Thanked: 16 in 13 posts
BunnyBucks: 525.00

Re: Guinea pigs: working herds

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Ghost » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:37 pm


@Greencaller First of all I would like to welcome another person to RT especially someone else to talk meat guinea pigs with.

Greencaller wrote:In doing research and watching videos of other folks' gp setups is the more pigs there are, the happier and healthier the entire colony seems to be. There used to be a video (might still be able to find it) of a guy walking through his gp shed shadowed by a flock of them, all excitedly wheeking. I find colonies fun and relaxing to watch, and I'd love to have my own "working" herd as well soon.


I too find "colonies fun and relaxing to watch". It is strange that the first thing I posted on RT was about killing them. Then I had to say, Oh no I love them as a fascinating living mass of little squeakers. I only have a little experience with "furry edibles", so killing them is a bit of an emotional strain for me. But I am truly amazed how the herd does not hold it against you when you snuff a few.

When I am in the presents of the GPs I have one of two mental modes, friend mode and predator mode. In friend mode, I act in ways not to stress out the GPs. But in predator mode, I move in different ways, I seem to shutdown parts of my empathy, so as to allow me to "get the job done". It seems that the herd is able to pick up on my behavior and act accordingly.

It is amazing that even after there is a cull, some leafy greens and a genital mannerism will calm them down. I can put out a hand and they will come up and sniff it as-if I was no threat at all. David is very hands-off with his herd. They are colony raised, the GPs will resist being picked up, in order to sex them or examine them for fight wounds, I have to go into predator mode and catch them the same as a cull. But still, after a few moments of excitement, some long grass and going into friend mode and all is forgiven by the herd.

It is odd because they get over it much faster than I do. If I go predator to examine them or put them in a bucket for David to dispatch, I can relax quickly afterwards and chill with the GPs. But when I actually kill a guinea pig, it causes my adrenalin to spike, and it takes me at least 15 minutes to relax down to a chill mode. When David goes into the shed to dispatches a few, I have chilled with the GPs just a few minutes after the last kill. They seam a bit jumpy at first, but after I have time to pick some fresh grass, they will start munching and relax in short order.
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".

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests