we're now on Facebook! Visit Pignic Central on Facebook for info and become a fan!
Advertise your Pignic and find other Pignic people: Visit PignicCentral on Facebook
Check out Pignic photos: Pignic Central on Flickr
Starting your own Pignic? Planning a Pignic / Pignic Etiquette
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. :)
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:
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.
copyright 1999-2014 Tammy Raabe /