Transporting your cavy to the show

You can bring your guinea pigs to the show in any secure, well-ventilated container. Cavy Fanciers usually have purpose made carrying boxes, but a sturdy cardboard box with a few ventilation holes in it, a cat basket or a plastic small animal carrier will be fine. Put newspaper, shavings and hay in the bottom to keep the pig clean while travelling. Obviously if the show is in the summer, then something with really good ventilation is advisable on hot days, as guinea pigs can overheat quite easily in a closed box.

At the show

On the show day, the pigs will spend the day in a wire pen, which is supplied by the club. You will need to bring shavings and hay for bedding, plus dry food and vegetables for your guinea pigs to eat. Water is not usually provided, although you can put a bottle on the pen if you wish. Instead, most fanciers provide a selection of juicy vegetables, particularly cucumber, celery, apple, etc. to ensure that the pigs are not thirsty, and treats like parsley, chicory, fennel etc or whatever they particularly enjoy, to encourage them to eat in strange surroundings.

All the pigs should be in their pens half an hour before the time judging starts - this time is stated on the schedule. Once judging has begun, the pigs must stay in their pens except when being judged.

Each pig is allocated a number for the day, and wears a small sticky label on one ear with this number on it. The pen where they will spend the day has the same number. The ear labels will be attached to your entry form when you get it back from the secretary at the start of the show.

The numbering system also ensures that the judge has no idea which pig belongs to which exhibitor, and of course no exhibitor must tell the Judge which is his or her pig until judging is over, when they will be happy to answer any questions and encourage the novice fancier.

Short-coated pigs will only need a quick brush on the day to get any dust out of the coat. Longer coated animals must be carefully brushed and combed to make sure that there are no mats or tangles in the coats.

Pigs are not taken home until judging is over, even if all the classes they have been entered in have finished. The finish time depends on the number of entries and the speed of the judges, but is usually late afternoon. As the classes are finished, prize cards and rosettes are put on the pens of the winning guinea pigs. Prize money is paid out when all the judging has been completed. At some shows, the exhibitors are asked to help clear the pens away before prize money is paid out. This doesn’t take long if everyone lends a hand!

The show secretary will always be glad to answer any questions you may have about entering your guinea pig in a show, and will be able to introduce you experienced fanciers who can guide you through the show and ensure you enjoy your day.

Wash 3: Designed by Simon Neesam for the British Cavy Council © 2009