Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meet Gus and Victoria (or Shari and Trooper or Starbright and Sunshine or whatever)

In keeping with the urban homesteading momentum we've got goin' on around here, we just got us some pigs. American Guinea Hogs to be exact. We found the perfect breeding pair at Cascade Meadows Farm, out past Sandy. They've also provided the Oregon Zoo with a mama and baby American Guinea Hog. Kirk and Jason were just about the nicest farmers, folks, I've ever met. When we arrived on Saturday at the Farm, it was shearing time for the Icelandic Sheep. Despite what I'm sure was a hectic day, Kirk and Jason spent almost two hours with us. They showed us around the farm and introduced us to their herds of Dexter cattle, Icelandic sheep, Americana chickens and of course, American Guinea Hogs.
We brought home a female and a male hog. I decided I liked the names Gus and Victoria; Josh and Jason agreed. Stella demanded they be named Starbright and Sunshine, which I guess is cool because they do kinda look like My Little Ponies. And of course, Nik, always the joker, wanted the names Trooper and Shari. Shari being short for Sheriff and Trooper short for State Trooper. I refuse to explain his idiosyncrasies.

Despite Nik's juvenile tendencies, we're all really excited to breed and harvest our own meat. We've eaten the chickens and turkeys we've raised and we're ready to take it a step further with a larger animal. This breed of hog was our first choice for this, our venture into true Homesteading. The American Guinea Hog stays small and is a true forager, making the meat more tasty and healthy. They eat everything edible, including meats and dairy and veggies and fruits and just about anything a human could eat. They turn our waste into delicious meat. The consummate recyclers!
In addition to great tasting meat and a healthier waste system for us, their humans, there's only 200 Guinea Pigs left in the United States. They're listed as critical on the Conservation Priority list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. I've added some resources at the end of this page because I'd like to urge you to look into them as they're amazing animals.

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