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American Guinea Hog: Characteristics, Reproduction, and Protection

The Guinea Pig is a breed of pig that is officially called the American Guinea Hog, it is also known as a free-range pig, it is a breed of domestic pig native to the United States. Several mysteries confuse the history of this breed of pig.

The American Guinea Hog may be the best pig for a small farm. These pigs can be raised in pastures for superb meat and sausages.

American Guinea Hog

Few animals are as useful as guinea pigs on the farm. They have provided their owners with valuable lard for cooking and tasty meat for the table for thousands of years. For many, they represented food security in times of lean times, because, before refrigeration, pigs served as a storage system for food in the ground.

These pigs can also perform a number of tasks on the farm, plus their rooting behavior makes them natural breakers, and they can help control unwanted species such as snakes and rodents.

Characteristics

The guinea hog is a small breed of pig, black in color and covered with bristly hair. It has a curly tail too. Pigs in this class weigh between 150 and 300 pounds and are between 15 and 20 inches tall. They are much smaller than market hogs, which can weigh between 700 and 800 pounds when fully grown.

This pig has an especially flexible snout, which is useful when looking for food. Pigs generally have an excellent sense of smell. They can locate very small amounts of food just by using their nose. These pigs have large, thin ears that lose heat easily and help them stay cool.

When deciding whether pigs will work for your farm, don’t assume that all breeds are similar. Pigs can grow into massive animals, with breeding males tipping the scales at nearly 800 pounds, and large sows with piglets can be dangerous to the inexperienced hand.

Some breeds produce large amounts of meat (130-150 pounds per pig), which may be too much for the needs of a small family. A small breed such as the American Guinea Pig may be the best choice for many farms. One such pig produces 60 to 80 pounds of meat.

History and classification

The name derives from the origins of the pig that was believed to have come from African Guinea, but now it is believed that Guinea only involved small ones, such as Guinea Cattle. These pigs were popular with subsistence farmers, not only because of their ability to feed themselves but also because their habit of eating snakes made the pen safe for children and livestock.

The breed fell out of favor around 1880, and for a time was in danger of being completely lost. It is suspected that in the past there were several different American guinea pigs. In 2005 the American Guinea Hog Association was formed and works to ensure its existence. This pig is also included in Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, a catalog of heritage foods in danger of extinction.

The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago has been home to several of these pigs for several years. Guinea pigs are one of the many smaller breeds known to be kept as pets, although not as popular as the Large Bellied Pig.

Feeding

Guinea hogs can forage for many different foods, including plants, eggs, and small animals like insects and mice. The pigs at the Cosley Zoo are fed a commercial diet, hay, and a variety of fresh produce.
On small farms, Guinean pigs are capable of foraging for their own food, and may only need to be fed limited supplements. They need access to water or mud to stay cool and protect themselves from extreme weather conditions.

Reproduction

The gestation period for an American Guinea pig is 115 to 120 days. Sows (females) give birth to up to 10 piglets per litter.

Protection

Guinea hogs are smaller than other types of domestic pigs and are said to have a better temperament. They can often be found in petting zoos. As with other types of pigs, they can be raised for meat production, although generally on a small scale.

On small family farms, pigs can be used for pest control and tillage. These pigs are listed as critically ill by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. This means that there are fewer than 200 registered animals in North America and less than 2,000 in the world.

Guinea hogs in the Philippines are not popular but we have our own native pig called baboy ramo or baboy damo (wild boar)

 

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