Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pig-a-Palooza 2017

I spent Saturday at Nevins Farm's Pig-a-Palooza in Methuen, MA.  I went to the first Pig-a-Palooza two years ago.  (I missed last year's since it conflicted with candy making.)   Wow - what a difference two years makes.  The first Pig-a-Palooza was well attended, but this one was packed.

Raffle table (there was some great stuff!)
Happy sows and happy people.  It was a packed room.

I was asked to clip nails, and oh boy, did I clip nails!  Rob had come to keep me company and take some photos.  However, so many people queued up that he grabbed another pair of clippers and jumped in to help me out.  (Thank you, thank you.)  I saw lots of pigs - Rob figures we must have clipped nails for 50 guinea pigs or more.  I thought he was exaggerating until I saw his photos - I worked on six pigs within the first ten minutes of the event.  We had a steady stream of people lined up once word got out that someone was clipping nails.

That means I didn't see much else.  I finished my last nail ten minutes before the whole thing ended.  I managed a quick tour to see the few guinea pigs that were still hanging out.  One sow had laid claim to an entire pile of hay.  A bunch of boars were still chasing each other around.  Rob managed to take several photos before he recruited himself for nail duty.  I can't wait to see more photos from others at the event.

Last Piggy Standing - it's all mine!
Speaking of boars and sows - I told one family, as I was explaining how to hold him so I could clip nails, that they had a nice boy.  They said no, it was a girl.  I held him up and said "He's all boar."  I was so grateful that his cagemate, another "girl", was as boarly as the first one.  It drove home the point that pet stores do not know how to identify boy and girl guinea pigs.  I ran into a third piggy that had the same identity problems.  Wow!

Some nails were in good shape, others were in a serious need of clipping.  There was lots of wriggling, some crying, a few guinea pigs talked to me the whole time.  All of the little kids talked to me, telling me stories and asking questions.  It was challenging to focus on nails and conversations at the same time.  I wish I had had more time to focus on the adults, the kids and their stories.  I enjoyed the little glimpses I got of these people and their pigs.

Everyone was well behaved (humans and guinea pigs).  I had a few guinea pigs "apply teeth" - in which they touched my skin with their teeth but did not bite down.  I had one upset sow hiss at me, but even she just warned me she was unhappy and didn't bite.  I had several boys sniff my hands with keen interest.  It's a little unnerving, because that's often a prelude to nibbling.  In this case I smelled like dozens of other guinea pigs and these boars were in love with me. 

So many pedicures!  The little kids were the first to notice my guinea pig earrings.
(and the poor little pig on the lower left got two nails overclipped.  Sorry!)

This little piggy started the woe-is-me wheeking after I finished her back feet, which is usually just a bunch of drama.  But when she started twitching, I knew she was truly distressed.  Hear the din in the background?  It was so noisy and warm, and I'm sure I was the last straw.  We gave her a short time-out, as I clipped her cagemate's nails, then managed to finish her front paws.  She had one really curly, hard-to-clip nail that I didn't want left undone.  She was a very good girl.

Both Rob and I cropped too close to the quick several times.  Sorry, piggies!  Black nails and wriggling paws were tough to do.  Some nails really bled!  It alarmed some of the young owners, but their adult caretakers were understanding.  Most were so relieved to have someone else dealing with wriggling, wheeking, uncooperative pigs.  In fact, someone set up a tip jar for nails; our efforts netted $75 towards the fundraising.  Go us!

A successful Pig-a-Palooza.  Not only did Nevins Farm raise $800, they adopted out eight guinea pigs (all of adoptable residents).  Yay!  It was an exhausting two hours, but it felt great to participate.


  1. What a generous thing to do! In addition to the luxury of professional nail trims I'll bet many owners learned more about how to meet the needs of their pets!
    Sorry you missed most of the festivities, though...reminds me of the cashmere goat show where I spent the entire day in a cold classroom learning about parasite management ;)

  2. I have very little experience with guinea pigs, other than a personable one named Rushette, who squeaked like a maniac when I visited! But I really enjoy your knowledge and as Quinn said, your generosity. Thanks so much. Maybe another time people could sign up ahead for a place in the more limited time you might allow for manicures? Seems only fair for you to get around and enjoy, too. But I think you still had a good time!

  3. This looks like a fun meeting and it sounds as though you and your nail clippers were very popular :-)


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