There are 3 specific lineages here in Peru that were produced in a breeding program in the 1970's. The current stock is probably not at all pure as your average guinea pig keeper just keeps them all together and interbreeding is rampant.
Raza Peru - Brown/Red and White, the largest of the lineages which can reach an edible weight by just 9 weeks old (don't shoot the messenger), they are precocious (a direct translation) and have the lowest birth rate (I have heard just 1 or 2 babies per litter).
Raza Andina - Smaller and a variety of colours, they have thicker coats making them more suited to colder climes, they have a higher birth rate.
Raza Inti - Something inbetween, golden yellow coloured, they are adaptable to a variety of climates and have about 3 babies per litter.
- Supporter in '11
I wasn't aware of the 3 lineages in Peru. THe Razu Peru line sounds like what I've seen here. We did have one give birth here - to a huge pup that was 250 grams -over twice the size of our typical pup. I'd have to dig up the weight chart but we were amazed how quickly it grew. I know the cuy were bred for increased meat production and it seems like they succeeded.
I've noticed a lot less cuy in our area recently. Most of the ones I've seen would have been born around 2011 so it makes me thing that Petco's experiment in selling the cuy was discontinued.
Inglorious - If you have some good sources for information about the cuy, I'd love to see them. The cuy fascinate me. We've really enjoyed them.
- Supporter in '11
Most of the ones we came across came from shelters where they had been surrendered. The shelters couldn't place them because they were so wild - many just launching themselves out of the cages when the door was open. I also so several on craigslist. The only litter of cuy pups I ever saw was the litter we took in - mom was cuy, dad was probably something else because pups didn't have the typical cuy coloring of just red and white.
We're seeing a lot less of them now. I still have two.
Was left at Petco in Antioch, CA with cage and all supplies, I mentioned that I'd like to rescue a pig and the store said someone had just left one.
4 lbs 6 oz at last weigh in
Very sweet, loves her ears rubbed, hates being caught, but enjoys lap time and brushing. She purrs and kisses.
Right eye has been irritated, I've medicated it, but still having problems. She may be allergic to something.
8/2/13 - Updated info: Bubbles passed way, age 2yrs 10mos. Several months ago Bubbles had blood in her urine and was hunching up when she peed. She was obviously in pain. I took her in an put her on antibiotics, she recovered. She weighed 5lb 15oz. Recently she has seemed to slow down and not drinking as much water, last night she seemed lethargic. She passed away this morning. We think that she was about three months old when we got her in Jan 2011, so she was almost 3 years old when she died. She was very large and did not like floor time, so she had limited exercise. We fed her Oxbow Timothy Hay, Oxbow pig food and lots of fresh veggies. She lived in a large 5'x1 1/2 open topped cage. She had fatty eyes.
Adopted at Andy's Pet Shop in San Jose Ca/Northstar Rescue
4lbs 1oz at last wiegh in, I think she's gained weight.
Red and White
Was grumpy and bossy with Bubbles for a while, but has mellowed. Was easier to catch when I first got her, she learned to run from Bubbles. Loves lap time though and will let me clip her nails.
No health problems so far.
I intentionally searched for a "large" companion for my Bubbles. I found Large Marge on Pet Finder. It took them a while to settle in but they are doing fine. My 10 yr old daughter has no problem handling these pigs, they are beautiful and sweet. I'll post pictures soon. I keep them in an open top CG cage, no problems. They also love my two labs.
UPDATE: Large Marge or "Margie" Passed away apx age 2 yrs old July 2012.
She seemed to be the healthier of the two, grumpy and energetic, in shape unlike overweight Bubbles. I heard a cough or two one day, then the next day we heard her gasping for air, I took her out and held her as she died. It was very quick. She died 11 months after we adopted her. It was sudden, I think her heart just failed. She was full grown when I adopted her, she weighed about 4 1/2 pounds when she passed.
- Supporter in '11
Guinea pig died of acute respiratory distress
Heart. Submitted is the entire heart. The heart is slightly globose and has a dilated right ventricle and atrium. Gross appearance consistent with possible right heart failure.
A single, sagittal section of the heart is examined. The left atrium, both ventricles and the roots of the great vessels are captured in the section. There is minimal infiltration of the interauricular septum by lymphocytes and granulocytes and mild interstitial lymphocytic and granulocytic infiltration of the right ventricular myocardium with foci of mild interstitial fibrosis. There is minimal papillary proliferation of visceral pericardial mesothelium. An intraluminal fibrinous clot within the right atrium contains granular material consistent with bacterial colonies as well as additional granulocytes.
Septic, right ventricular endocarditis with minimal lymphocytic and granulocytic myocarditis; mild mesothelial proliferation.
There is a septic fibrinous clot within the right atrium as well as evidence of low grade myocarditis. The acute respiratory distress may have been secondary to cardiac failure of there may have in fact have been an acute bacterial pneumonia as well.
And read this:
I was told Madeline was 2 months old but you can never tell with these stores and I didn't believe it because she is quite large. I may believe it now. The very first thing I noticed about her was her incredible speed. I put her in a large room and watched her run around like a flash. I have had many pigs and none ever moved ½ as fast as Madeline.
I brought her outside to a garden where I take all my pigs that has 30” of wood around all 4 sides. None have ever even come close to scaling or jumping it. Madeline was over it a second after I put her down, with ease, like it wasn’t even there. It took me 3 hours to retrieve her from under my deck. With night coming I ended up having to use a net and I don’t believe if I had all day I would have gotten her any other way. I was lucky to get her with the net. She fought like a tiger.
Her strength and speed is like nothing I’ve ever seen in any pig. She eats like a wild animal. I can put a huge romaine lettuce leaf down and she picks the whole thing up and devours it in 45 seconds. I am only giving her hay and vegetables and some occasional fruit. I am giving her a lot of veggies and she is eating huge amounts of hay, poop is perfect despite a lot of veggies (I am mixing them up to avoid high gas veggies).
I will start weighing her tonight but in about 2 weeks it appears she’s grown about 50% of the size she was when I got her I will get photos up tomorrow but is it possible from my description she is what everyone is discussing on this thread?
The "mejorado" or improved cuy was bred through natural selection from cuy crillos (your average domesticated guinea pig). They were bred by the INIEA (Institute for Investigating Experimental Agriculture) in Peru in the 1970s through early 2000s as "commercial" breeds (rather than pets) to help address poverty and hunger in regions where no other livestock or large agriculture could be developed.
The original cuy breeds were Peruvian, Andina, and Inti. Newer cuy breeds are the Inka, Mantaro, and Saños.
•The "Peruvian" line of cuy mejorado gain more weight by the time they are marketed for sale (12 weeks of age, rather than 20 weeks.) They are characterized by early weight gain (800 grams by two months of age when well fed; the food to weight ratio is 3.8g) The average litter size is 2.8 pups. The Peruvian line is white with red, smooth coated. Developed by the Agriculture department of the University of La Molina to have less fat and more protein.
•The Andina line is the most prolific breed. At least 3.2 babies per litter and more likely to go into postpartum heat. They usually have a white coat with smooth hair and black eyes.
•The Inti line of cuy mejorado is a the most selectively bred line. Inti cuy mejorados have black eyes, with fawn and white fur and a swirl on the head (crest?). They are the hardiest and would be best for families living in the mountains. They are supposed to be 800g by ten weeks.
•The Inka seem to look like huge abbies with red and white fur.
•The Mantaro line was announced in 2012 for people living in the highlands. It has an average of four pups per litter and a gestation period of 67 days. Based on the slideshow pictures, these pigs are mostly red with a little bit of white on the face, sometimes crested.
•The Saños line (Spanish for "healthy") will grow to 1000g by 8 weeks, 9.6 babies per mother per year.
Then there are "mestizo" cuys which is the result of different cross breeding between cuy crillos and cuy mejorados. These mixed cuy are called "cuy crillo mejorados." A family might buy one of these selectively bred cuy to breed into their herd to make their herd more productive and hardy. These cuy will have coarser fur than domesticated guinea pigs. [So these are the half-cuy that we are seeing?]
These selectively bred cuy come in two types:
Type A: Guinea pigs with increased muscular development, round heads, floppy ears, shapped like a parallelogram, good food-to-weight gain conversion, quiet temperment (so cuys were bred to be more quiet than your average pig--is this why they won't wheek?)
Type B: More angular elongated head, erect ears. with poorer muscle development, extremely nervous. Type B cuy have a temperment that makes handling difficult. (As if type A's werent' difficult to handle?)
Based on what I've read it looks like the Southern California pet stores are importing cuy mejorado and that most of these cuy are Type A Peruvians (hence the distinctive red and white coloring, quietness, and round head/floppy ears.) The average weight of these full-cuys after two months will be 800g. Some pet stores are importing the 'mestizo' cuy crillo mejorados.