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Guinea Pigs/cavy pedigrees

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Question
I am a 4H leader and have bred Polish rabbits. My girls have recently acquired Abyssinians. Are pedigrees as important with cavies as they are with rabbits? I am encouraging my girls to show at PaSRBA and we do not have pedigrees, will this be a problem?

Answer
Fortunately no, the pedigrees are not a necessity for raising and/or showing cavies. If you have rabbits you may already have the Evans program that you use for them. If not you can use any pedigree blank if you wish to raise cavies.

The pedigrees are important for breeding purposes so that you can track the genetic line of your pigs or rabbits. That way you have the information you need for trying to breed for specific genetic traits and colors. But for showing pigs you don't have to have a pedigree.

What I would suggest is to write to ARBA to ask if there are any special requirements for showing in local or state fairs. I would also contact your 4H director in your area as well.  

The majority of cavy breeders keep pedigrees for breeding purposes only.  Unlike the rabbit breeders, most cavy breeders aren't as enthusiastic about registering for champion certificates for your pigs.  

We keep records of the legs as they are issued and know which of our pigs are already champion eligible, but because cavies have metal tags in the ears rather than tattoos many of us don't like to have a tag in each ear as it doubles the chances that a pig will find a way to rip it out.  

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Organizations
Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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