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Potential Protein Source

Home Forums Archive Distributed Research Projects Potential Protein Source

This topic contains 18 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Shouri Shouri 6 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
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  • #491
    Profile photo of AMW

    I’d like to recommend a research project looking into the viability of raising Guinea Pigs as a source of protein.

    Potential Pros

    1. It’s essentially an established technology. South Americans already raise and eat Guinea Pigs, and there are some efforts to export this practice.
    2. It’s potentially space efficient. As small animals, guinea pigs wouldn’t require much deck space, and it would be easy to stack cages , getting more use out of the existing square footage.
    3. Short growth cycle. My informal research indicates that they generally take about 29 weeks to reach full size (2 – 3 lbs).
    4. Relatively short breeding cycle. Females go into heat about every 15 – 17 days, and gestation takes around 60 – 70 days. Average litter size is 3. (Apparently it’s unhealthy for a female to have back-to-back gestation periods, though)
    5. Use of local resources. Seaweed and spirulina algae might be able to make up a large part of their diet (this would require some experimentation).

    Potential Cons

    1. Back-to-back breeding sessions are dangerous to the females, so it may not be efficient to have a set of breeder pigs and feeder pigs. Care would have to be taken to avoid inbreeding.
    2. Guinea pigs eat pretty much throughout the day, so it could be that they’re not an efficient way to turn vegetable mass into meat (again with the experimentation).
    3. Yuck factor. A lot of people think of guinea pigs as pets.
    Profile photo of jurisimprudent

    I recall that Jesrad – with typical French culinary insight – suggested in response to exactly this proposal that rabbits might have the same qualities with less of the “yuck” factor.

    Profile photo of Firefool125

    while yes rabbits are veeeerrrrrryyyy taaaassssstttttyyy, they are not the only small, furry, tasty and easily bred creature out there, you could also consider squirrels as an option. of course they would have to be supplimented with veggies and stuff they are incredibly tasty. as for the rabbits (i dont believe this holds true for those raised in captivity but i am not sure) i know that if you are trying to live off the land in a survival situation you only want to eat rabbits at certain times of the year so as to not risk certain diseases. BUY hey, they ARE TAAAASSSSSTTTTTYYYY.

    Profile photo of Jesrad

    Don’t spirulina algae already provide suitable proteins ? Seems to me it would be wasteful to feed it to animals that you then eat yourself. Also, someone said cultivating algae had a lot of technical shortcomings because they don’t grow in salt water and are very susceptible to becoming infested with other undesireable algae and seaweed or zooplankton. In any case, the most practical source of protein when you live at sea is… fish and seashell. And they’re tasty too !

    Profile photo of thebastidge


    Seals, Sea lions, Sea otters- people have eaten all of them. They also have useful pelts, and while we don’t tend to eat blubber much in our modern techno-society, it can still be rendered for bio-diesel. Organ meat is rich in vitamins and can be rendered more palatable as sausage.

    Profile photo of thebastidge

    “In any case, the most practical source of protein when you live at sea is… fish “

    • Every seafaring society has always relied on fish as a mainstay, but however tasty, anything will get wearisome. No society has ever eaten fish exclusively, that I’m aware of. Thor Heyerdahl’s crew fished algae and zooplankton out of the ocean using nylon stockings, and found that it was edible, but not by any means satisfying, as I recall from the book Kon-Tiki, although it has been a long time since I read that one. I’d say it’s perfectly acceptable to feed seaweed, kelp, and algae to something much tastier.
    Profile photo of bentropy

    Do guinea pigs provide enough protein? From what i understand a person can die from eating only rabbit meat for extended periods of time because they are so lean and don’t have the type of protein to sustain the human body. Why not just eat vegetables directly? I thought that vegetarians always spread propaganda about how inefficient meat production is in terms of the opportunity cost of potential calories had the land been used for growing veggies and not using the land to grow animal food.

    In my opinion this project only needs to put enough effort into the food problem to show that more sustainable options will grow out of the market. Ultimately a free market might result in floating greenhouse towers that are vertical farms and the owners of these seasteads would sell perpetually fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices to other seasteaders just like a land farm. I’ve never seen anybody try to make dual use of a piece of land by building an office building while simultaneously trying farming it hoping to make it a self sustaining micro-society why should a seastead cluster be any different?

    Profile photo of Tuk

    I’ve never seen anybody try to make dual use of a piece of land by building an office building while simultaneously trying farming it hoping to make it a self sustaining micro-society why should a seastead cluster be any different?

    Really? You don’t know anyone with a garden in their backyard? My understanding of the seasteads is that everyone would provide the majority of their own food. Granted, some things like trees require a lot of space that maybe only one or two platforms would have, and so some items could be bought/sold/bartered. Or those sorts of trees could be grown as dwarf varieties.

    • But as far as making a small successful garden to feed a family, it’s actually pretty easy, once you have the materials. It would have to be decided if using pots filled with soil vs hydroponics was more efficient and cost effective, and if the resulting vegetables retained their nutritional value. Perhaps one of these, but much larger: http://www.aerogrow.com/

    Also, by knowing alot about companion planting techniques, it would be possible to grow a large variety of crops in a small space. See http://www.eap.mcgill.ca/Publications/EAP55.htm

    Not to mention growing mushrooms for many, many reasons: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/258

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    Of course, you are free to eat whatever you want but I doubt many people would like to eat guinea pigs. I wouldn’t mind eating algae (if it wasn’t all there was to eat). Guinea pigs…no way. Besides. algae already provides the protein requirements. So the only reason to consider guinea pigs is taste.

    Profile photo of thebastidge

    There are some principles of companion planting techniques in a great many books about permaculture. There are a great many people interested in creating sustainable micro-communities, on land. For various reasons: individualist concerns, political concerns, millenaialist, fundamentalists, paranoids, environmentalists, and other people who just think it’s a neat idea.

    • I started reading up a bit on flora of tidal marshes, estuaries, salt marshes etc. Cord Grass seems to be a species with a bit of utility as feed stock and for stabilization in an artificial island scenario that doesn’t need much encouragement to grow. The varieties that are considered invasive weeds in some areas, would be fine if you were in the open ocean where it is unlikely to migrate.
    • I don’t see protein, or indeed any essential nutrient or vitamins being a problem. Early sailors got scurvy because they didn’t avail themselves of what was there in the sea: supplementing with seaweed and eating the organs of fish and other animals, because it’s not (especially seaweed) very appealing.
    • I see variety and tastiness becoming the major issue. Food is a VERY important part of life and comfort. If you have never been in the field eating pre-packaged rations for days or weeks at a time you may not appreciate how good a meal of freshly prepared food can be.
    Profile photo of Sundiver
    • Open ocean aquaculture is ready for prime time. There is even a VC company investing in it. http://www.aquacopia.com
    • I would assume the plan does not include total self-sufficiency. It should be easy to trade high quality seafood for whatever one desires.
    • An onboard fish processing capability would be needed. Put the fish wastes into a pelletizer with the seaweed, kelp, and algae.
    • What are you going to do about a shark defense plan??? (yes I’m kidding).
    • “Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshiped.”

    Profile photo of thebastidge

    attracting unwanted attention is a large, looming fact on the seastead horizon, whether it is lawyers, militaries, or ocean predators. the seastead is likely to put out some might tempting and tasty smells inthe water, not to mention aquaculture just raising the level of prey species available to feed on.

    Profile photo of ernie_the_emo_emu

    Entomophagy is something else to consider. Its common in many parts of the world and has a rather ancient history. Insects produce more poundage per square meter and their nutritional benefits are comprable to meat sources more common in Europe and the Americas. I’ve included a portion of entomophagy in my own diet since aquiring a taste of it in SA and you’d be surprised how good some of it actually tastes. I personally tend to suppliment traditional meat sources with it (stirfries with rabbit, cricket, and pork, for example, or tacos with beef and ant brood).

    Profile photo of vincecate

    In Anguilla we only have 4 real grocery stores and none of them have “cricket” or “ant brood”. Where do you get yours?

    Profile photo of

    In China I had these giant water beetles sauteed in a butter and garlic sauce. They were very tasty. You pull the heads and legs off and then eat them whole like cherries.

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