HAVE CAVIES, WILL TRAVEL - Nikki White
As there is no cavy club in Canberra, and though the Capital Country Cavy Club does five shows in the Canberra region (four in Queanbeayn plus the Royal Canberra) fanciers may have to travel afield to attend shows, whether Sydney, the Wollongong area or Narrandera (for the National Cavy Show). Some keen people even travel to Victoria or Queensland for shows. Similarly, if you want to purchase stock, particularly if it is a breed not kept in the Canberra region, you must be prepared to travel to either an interstate breeder or to an interstate show. Finally, you may need to take your cavies to a vet. For all this you will need suitable cages.
Fortunately, this isn't hard. The most basic are the cat carry cages you can buy at pet shops. Small bird cages are also suitable for smallish pigs. The trouble with these and rat cages is that the openings are often too narrow for the chunky cavy figure and the cage is tall rather than wide. Unlike rats and birds, cavies don't need to climb or fly about but they do like floor space.
Better still you can buy purpose-built carry cages in varying sizes and made either of wood or metal. Most cages come as two-holers, three-holers or four-holers. Sometimes you will see larger cages. The NSW Cavy Club offers wooden carry cages with removable wooden dividers to allow flexibility. They are carried by rope.
Three-holer NSW Cavy Club cage
Gary Johnston of South Australia used to sell similar metal ones, also available in two, three or four holers. These sometimes can still be bought.
These can be lined with newspaper and either wood-shavings or rice hulls, and then hay (except when going to Narrandera where vegetable matter should be left behind). Some people in the fancy make cloth bases similar to the type used on bird cages to keep the mess inside the cages. They sell these at shows. I use outdoor/indoor carpet which is easily washed in the metal cages as it will slip under the dividers. It also prevents the little petals from hiding under things which is so unhelpful when I am doing displays. Labels describing breed, colour, sex and name can be easily attached to the cages, and later removed.
When travelling in warmer weather, it is a good idea to carry small water bottles (available at pet shops or cavy shows for around $5) and also fresh food, whatever the weather and if you are going for a whole day or more (except if going to Narrandera because of the fruit fly exclusion zone but you can buy fresh vegetables and fruit there, either from the truck which comes to the showground or at the supermarket in town). A towel is a useful thing in hot weather. You can soak it, wring out the excess moisture and drape it over the top of the cages to keep the cavies cool. If it dries out, you can call in at a garage or service station and wet it again. Generally, I prefer not to show cavies in summer as I don't have air-conditioning. The NSW Cavy Club Christmas party & Show is as late into the year as I will consider (end of Nov./early Dec.) and the AGM at Castle Hill in mid-Feb. is the earliest. It isn't the journey to Sydney (or wherever) which is the problem as that is done early in the morning. It is the return trip when you are travelling in the hottest part of the day, that is you generally leave around 4pm which is the real worry.
If you are going away for several days, such as to the National, don't forget small bowls and a cartoon of the cavies' usual dry food mix as well as the fruit/veg. It is useful to take a grooming box with the usual claw clippers, combs, brushes, mitts and some wipes for last minute sprucing up. Your major grooming should have been done the previous week(s). If possible, you should take more cages or cages with more holes than you need to carry your show cavies just in case you are fortunate to be able to buy a breed or variety of cavy you need. This saves awkward doubling up and the newcomer can travel in comfort.