Any real life experience would be helpful as well. I'm in Connecticut. Thanks.
Meat guinea pig stock
is there an advantage to raising guinea pigs as opposed to rabbits?
Occasionally cuy are accidentally imported into the US. It happened in California recently, a pet store had "giant, monster" guinea pigs that were, at a young age, 2-3x larger than pet adults. Some of them were about the size of a small rabbit.
Most cuy are a red color. Red colored guinea pigs, even non-cuy, tend to be larger. If I were you, I would find as many large, red guinea pigs as I could and try making your own breed.* They do not have to be solid red, as long as they have that red/orange fur gene. It seems to be connected to size. As guinea pigs breed quickly, I do not think it would take too long to increase size.
More people raise cavies/guinea pigs for meat in the United States than people realize. The cuy breed is also around, but from what I have read, people do not allow others to know when they have breeding stock.
The topic of cuy comes up frequently on this message board. You should keep this thread updated and let everyone know if/how you are making progress.
*If you do start a breeding project, I think you could make a profit selling some, since so many people are looking for large cuy.
There are some. Cuy is, nutritionally, different from rabbit meat. For some people, caring for guinea pigs simply works better. For others, rabbits are a better choice. The two species have different care requirements. Some people raise both. In some countries, cuy is more than half of a person's total meat consumption. It is said to be very healthy and does not have the same problems of "rabbit starvation." For that reason I know they are popular with preppers.
I forgot to mention that many Amish and Mennonites raise guinea pigs for meat, but I don't know if it is cuy or their own breed. I also read on wikipedia that Andean immigrants to New York City have brought cuy with them.
Here is a video, it is hard to hear what the people are saying over the music, but it shows a guinea pig farm in Georgia. If you watch to the end of the video, you can email the guy who owns them. (Look just below the video and there will be three options: share, embed, email. It only shows up when the video ends.) You should ask him if he knows where to get cuy in the US. He might know.
There are also some people on BYC who raise them. Try PMing "ohiogoatgirl". She says she raised and ate some in this old thread. If she doesn't respond to PM, you could email her, in the same way. She has some youtube videos in the thread, so check them out.
Let me know if any of this was helpful. I might have some more leads/links I could find and share later. I actually found a website from someone who claims to raise cuy on a homestead, but the site isn't working. If it goes back up soon I can link to it.