The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Guinea pigs are heaven to eat

Inca and chewWarning ! This post is not suitable reading for the faint hearted, it contains black humour.

Guinea pigs are a delicacy in Peru. I discovered that they are delicious raw.

One day I returned from my first wallpapering job to find The Contessa barking with delight from a pretty yellow silk button backed chair. Peeping out from a pile of cushions beside her was a tan shorthaired guinea pig with very bright black eyes. Not knowing quite how to deal with the situation I reached for the kitchen roll. My sister, who was with me at the time, couldn’t be bothered with my namby pambiness and pulled away the nest of cushions.

There was just the front of the guinea pig left. It looked as if it had been chopped with an axe. The Min Pins had eaten it, bones and all.

The next morning I woke to empty dog beds. Dr Q and The Contessa were out early searching the undergrowth. They spent all daylight hours in the garden for the next three weeks. They could smell live guinea pig but they couldn’t locate the mobile dish. This was because the other guinea pig had strayed into the front garden (the dogs have no access to the front garden).

I spotted the visitor a couple of days after the half eaten guinea pig episode. It appeared from the bushes when I opened the front door. A white, black and tan specimen that clearly was used to humans bringing breakfast. I rang Anne Mary immediately.
“What do guinea pigs eat?”
“Cauliflower, carrots, greens.”
This little fellow feasted on the fruits of our veg basket.

The next day he was there again.
“Can we keep him Danny?”
“No, we have too many pets. Perhaps we can locate the owner.”
I tried banging on doors. No one had lost a guinea pig. The next morning I warned the spotted creature of the dangers of wandering into the back garden. It stood quite still on small chez longe legs, small eyes meeting mine before it dragged the cauliflower head into the darkness of the brambles.

A week or so later, when the guinea pig and I were on first name terms, Danny and I passed a house with a smart hutch in the garden. The door hung open, inviting any GP with wings to fly up and roost.
“There you are, they must have come from this garden.” D pressed the doorbell.
“We’ve got a small guinea pig, living in our front garden and wondered if it belonged to you.”
“I’ve lost two! They belong to my daughter.”
“Well we just have the one.” Better not to mention the other.
She reached for a butterfly net, “I can catch him with this.”

The spotted guest didn’t appear for breakfast the next day so I stopped feeding him, imagining that he had been swept up in the net. I met the lady a month later.
“Did you have any luck with the butterfly net?”
“No. I returned several times without success. But yesterday morning, I looked up from my desk and spotted him sitting under the hutch in our garden!”

The prodigal guinea pig had returned.

Back at the cottage, my sister arrived with a present for the Min Pins. They unwrapped it with hunters’ glee. No messing with ribbons, just ripped the wrapping apart.

They attached themselves as one to this present. I beat them back to examine the trophy. It was a guinea pig toy, with a squeak. We christened him Snack. It seemed fitting in a ghastly sort of way

Snack is tossed aloft constantly. He still has a squeak, despite being abandoned in the garden on several cold nights. A living memorial to an afternoon of Min Pin foodie heaven. Inca loves this toy. She arrived well after the historic event.

Clearly late at night she has been told the tale.

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  1. People get upset. Stupid people like Teresa irritate me to no end. The fact that you’d put an animal before a human makes me wonder about your mental health.

  2. Helle (Helen)

    I know this debate took place a rather long time ago, but I only read it yesterday after having followed your link. While I don’t like the idea of any animal suffering, what really bothers me are all these people, not only your comment writers, but people generally who become extremely upset over the fate of one specific animal, whereas the daily serious suffering of millions of farm animals, broiler chickens, turkeys or horses being transported for days without water or feed through Europe does not really generate nearly the same level of outrage or feelings of being upset. I would seriously recommend to people to support CIWF – compassion in world farming – or World Horse Welfare, they deal with and try to eliviate much worse suffering.
    Apart from that, I hope you have a good time with your guests.

  3. I love guinea pigs, all animals in fact but I could see the black humour in your tale. I think the title of your article clearly indicated what it was about so quite frankly people you should have been prepared for it, if not it become apparent pretty quickly so for goodness sake get off your soap box and read something else instead.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Lena

    Yes this post caused a lot of ructions.

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