December 8, 2013

Cavy Conclusions

We have finally done the last test in the guinea pig experiment.

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Almost a year ago, we started researching guinea pigs as an additional source of food in our Food Web menagerie. If you want to look back at our original post comparing cavies and rabbits as far as reproduction, efficiency, space and housing goes.

After 10 months of having guinea pigs, we finally got around to the ultimate test: taste. So, what do we think?

First of all, guinea pigs cannot compare to rabbits as far as efficiency is concerned. Rabbits produce more meat in less time, no doubt about it. Rabbits are still my unequivocal favorite, and provide the vast majority of the meat we eat.

Both animals are very easy to manage and are a pleasure to have around. Guinea pigs are more vocal and tend to make better pets, which makes them harder to kill, but does provides the homestead with a different kind of revenue.

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The butchering process is in general harder with cavies. They are more fiddly than rabbits, which are about the easiest animal to process.¬†As for taste, they are pretty good. Rabbit is a very lean meat, whereas cavy tends to be greasier. And, of course, there’s not as much meat on the bones.

So do Cavies hold any advantages? Yes, if you lack space or facilities. Guinea pigs are very easy to house. They don’t jump or burrow, unlike rabbits. Also, cavies can eat a wider variety of scraps and are supposedly hardier (less prone to disease). I guess their greatest advantage lies in diversity – the more species you can have, the more secure you food source is.

Will we keep them? Not sure yet. I don’t think they are for us really, not when we are so fond of rabbits. And it’s not like we lack diversity in our setup. However, every time we broach the subject of possibly getting rid of them, Leo gets all sad. We’ve told him we don’t have to decide yet and we’ll just play it by ear.

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