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Starting your own Pignic? Planning a Pignic / Pignic Etiquette

Print out:
Pignic Rules and Etiquette (PDF)
Sign-in Sheet (PDF)


Boston Pignic
2 times a year, usually in early June and mid-September.

coordinator

Sally Hurley (CavyMadness)

location

Wellesley Town Hall lawn ("the bowl"), Wellesley MA. Parking is in the Town Hall parking lot, directly across the street from the Library. (The town of Wellesley does not treat their grass. This link explains the town's policies on pesticides and treatments.)

information

visit Pignic Central on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pigniccentral

Other Pignics

Visit Pignic Central on Facebook to view event listings, or contact each Pignic coordinator directly.

Bay Area Pignic

Cupertino, CA
Facebook page: facebook.com/BApignic
contact: Lora, lora.figgat@gmail.com

Critter Corral/Chicago area Pignic

Bemis Woods Park, Grove #5, Western Springs, IL 60558
contact: Rose, info@crittercorral.org or Maegan, maegan@crittercorral.org

Critter Corral Open House

usually held in November
The Willard Wood Park Center, 515 1st Street, Crete, IL 60417

contact: Rose, info@crittercorral.org

Crazy Cavies South Florida Pignic Elfin Shelter at Tradewinds Park, just west of Florida’s Turnpike on Sample Road.
contact: crazycavies@hotmail.com; 954-547-3201
SoCal Pignic Irvine Animal Care Center, 6443 Oak Canyon Rd in Irvine.
contact: Michiko Vartanian at cavyhaven@gmail.com
Australian Cavy Sanctuary
Pignic in the Park
contact: Jessica, Australian Cavy Sanctuary
Georgia PigStock Lisa, Atlanta Metro Guinea Pig Rescue
Animal Refuge Leage Pignic,
Westbrook, Maine
Animal Refuge League, 449 Stroudwater Street, Westbrook Maine
contact: Stephanie Umbro
MGPR PIGstravaganza Reisterstown Regional Park, 401 Mitchell Drive, Reisterstown, Maryland 21136
contact: Deb Jackson, Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue
Minnesota Pignic sponsored by Twin Cities Guinea Pig Rescue
contact: Allysse at tcgpr@comcast.net
Ohio Valley PA Pignic Settler's Cabin Park, Oakdale, PA
contact: Angel, isaacshaven@comcast.net
Houston TX Pignic contact: Carla at cmartinez36@houston.rr.com or Monica at castaway_5@yahoo.com
Tampa Bay Pignic contact: Dana, dfhakes@aol.com or Deb, debg43@ij.net
   
CANADA:
St. Thomas Ontario Pignic
contact: Selina, arabandme@hotmail.com
CANADA: Toronto Pignic contact: Stephanie, stephpellatt@hotmail.com

Planning a Pignic

I get a lot of emails asking how to start a Pignic. It only requires a little bit of work at the start -- you must find a gathering place that is easily accessible to everyone, is not frequented by dogs, and is free of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. Having shade is essential; for many Pignics, people meet near trees. Bathroom facilities should be nearby. State Parks are a great option.

For some parks, you must obtain a permit to meet. This can easily be obtained through the park's governing authority. Generally, these are the people who could tell you if the grass is free of chemicals and generally dog-free as well. Once you have chosen a date and have your permit, all you have to do is get the word out! Some Pignics have planned activities, and others are just a casual picnic gathering. Look at the Pignics featured above for ideas.

Suggest that people bring materials to help set up and expand pens. Popular options are cube-grid squares (make sure squares are small, not large); other options include wire shelving and a roll-up plastic chicken-wire option. With every pen set up, you'll need fasteners: twist ties, binder clips, and cable ties are all good options. If you choose to have a communal Pignic (many piggies in pens), set up a girls' pen, a boys' pen, and a couple "time out" pens for pigs that don't get along well with others. Large pens should generally be long and narrow, so people don't have to step inside to reach a pig.

Have a small team of "Pig Experts" who can help newcomers to your Pignic. This team should be knowledgable, and should check ALL piggies going into communal pens for lice, respiratory distress, or anything that can be transferred to the other pigs.( At the Boston Pignic, we've have lime green t-shirts for the PIG PATROLteam, who make sure that everything runs smoothly.)

Another essential item is "wet" veggies and fruits, like cucumber and melon, that will help prevent the piggies from becoming too dehyrated in the sun. Make sure your spot has some shade and/or dappled sunlight, for both people and pigs.

Once everyone arrives at your Pignic, it is a great idea to get a general consensus of how often you would want to meet, and whether the location you chose is ideal. Then, just plan on returning to that spot the next time! The New England Pignic, the original, ran from 1996 to around 2003 in Westfield, Massachusetts. The location was chosen to accommodate people coming from upstate New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Many people will drive a couple of hours to spend a day with fellow piggy fanatics. :)

Pignic Rules and Etiquette

Print out:
Pignic Rules and Etiquette (PDF) | Sign-in Sheet (PDF)

Before you attend the Pignic, check your piggies for lice or any disease. If your pig shows signs of lice, please do not take him or her to a Pignic. If you are unsure about checking for lice, have the Pignic Coordinator check your pig upon arrival - and of course, if your pig is contagious at ALL, keep him or her in a separate pen!

Watch your pigs. Some people assume that their guinea pigs are just fine in a communal pen, and will go off to chat or play with other people. Meanwhile, some unsupervised pigs end up creating trouble, and it's up to strangers to figure out what to do and to whom that pig belongs. Be a responsible pig-parent and keep an eye on your own pigs.

Pens are for pigs, not people. Please stay out of the pens. People stepping into the pens pose a huge risk of injury to the pigs. You should be able to reach into the pens to retrieve guinea pigs if needed. We've indicated which pens are for girls and boys, so please double-check which pen your pigs should be in!

Keep chairs and stuff a few feet away from the pens. The less clutter around the pens, the less likely an accident will happen. And on that thought....

If you are next to the pens: kneel or sit. Keeping low while next to the pens allows everyone to have a clear view, and minimizes the risk of tripping over the walls of the pens.

Pigs do not always play well with others. Observe your pig(s) throughout the Pignic. Aggressive piggies should be kept separate from the main pens. Please alert people to mounting or aggressive behavior.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. There is a wealth of knowledge at the Pignic. Chat with someone new, and have fun!

Handle piggies with care. First, ask before you pick up another person's pig. If you are a novice, have someone show you how to pick up a pig. Guinea pigs have different personalities and can bite if they are handled incorrectly. Even worse, startled pigs can (and many do!) jump out of laps.

While handling pigs: keep these tips in mind:
Use towels to pick up and hold pigs. Using a towel to pick up and wrap them up will give you a better handle on the pig, and give the pig a little more security. Sometimes sounds (like car horns, a train, and any sudden noises) will startle pigs, causing them to either bolt or hunker down in your lap.

Do not hold a boar next to the sows' pen, or vice versa. The scent of the opposite sex can cause stress, or worse-- fights!

Finally, keep handling to a minimum. Children can get excited about holding pigs, and often try to pick up many pigs during a Pignic. Try to be gentle, calm, and aware that Pignics are for relaxation - for piggies and people alike!

Look for Pig Patrol people for help.

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copyright 1999-2014 Tammy Raabe / CavyMadness.
tammy@cavymadness.com