My name is Amanda, and I am an animal lover. Here is the story of how I got Storybook Cavies going.
My family and I started with our first pig in 1998, an Abyssinian mix named Stormy. He was the most devoted little critter we'd ever had. At the time we knew practically nothing about cavies. Stormy lived outside in a cage that we'd open during the day to let him out to play. At night we'd call "Stormy!", and he'd come wheeking and purring out of the ivy plants in our back yard. Unfortunately, one day he decided that dog food was on the breakfast menu, so he went up to 'share' the kibble with our dog. Our dog did not want to share, and nipped at Stormy. To another dog, it would have been a warning; but it was too much for poor Stormy. We lost Stormy the next week.
Jojo (my sister) and Stormy. Also, my brother in the background, safely cutting something with a saw (*snicker*).
After Stormy, of course we had to get another one. We got several more from pet stores and people who no longer wanted their pets, but had bad luck with those pigs. We decided to get one from a breeder. My mom used to raise and show Airedales and Jack Russels, so we started wondering about the cavy fancy world. We got 'Cappy Boppy' from Carole Newbill of Cavy Carats. From the moment I saw her floor-to-ceiling cages, her room dedicated just to cavies, and her PIGS, I was a cavy slave. Soon we started showing and breeding cavies.
We started with some American Broken Rainbows from D'Ann of Tartan Cavies and soon we had about fourteen or so guinea pigs, most of them for show. We learned how nice and sturdy some cages are, and how flimsy others are. We learned how guinea pigs need extra vitamin C, and how funny, cute and HUNGRY the little pigs can be (and always are!). This went on for a few years, until the year of 2002. We were thinking about moving, and mom decided that guinea pig shows were too time-consuming and unorganized to go to anymore. I was not very happy about that. Guinea pig shows were the only time I could talk to other cavy breeders who really understood why I was crazy about cavies. My brother and two sisters lost interest in their pigs when we stopped showing.
D'Ann offered to take me to some shows, and, needless to say, I went. It had been over two years since I'd been to a show, and I loved it! The only thing is, how do you leave a show without bringing back one (or more...) pigs home? It's funny how to non-cavy people you say 'I have sixteen guinea pigs' and they say 'Oh, wow! That's a lot!', and when you talk to cavy breeders you say 'I only have sixteen guinea pigs,' and they give you a look of sympathy. We are a little crazy.
Then once again the famous saying ~ Guinea pigs are like potato chips, you can't stop at just one.
I pay (and have paid) for my animals food, bedding, medical, grooming, etc. etc. needs personally since I was twelve. My sister and I do all of the care for the cavies. My parents let us jump into this fun hobby, but we have to do everything and pay for everything ourselves. I am thankful for that, as it has taught us a lot about responsibility, time and money management, finances, organization and diligence. See - owning cavies is educational! (I even learned some web design through owning cavies!)
I am at the point that my hard work in breeding and caring for my pigs is paying off. Pedigrees are filling up with 'Storybook' pigs and I am getting nicer marked babies all the time.
I don't have a huge caviary...ok, not even a big one; but I love my pigs, and I do occasionally have litters. My goal at the moment is to become a registrar and then a judge. I currently raise American cavies in Broken Color (rainbows stole my heart), and Golden Agouti. My sister has come back around and has now been raising Broken Teddies for several years. In 2009 she added Teddy Satins and Peruvian Satins. She also raises Golden Agouti Americans. The GA's chose us, we probably would never have any if it weren't for Fiona.
Fiona is a Golden Agouti American sow who someone dumped in the empty field behind our house. My sister spotted her and several other cavies running around being chased by a hawk. We donned gloves, put our hair up, and dove through the underbrush until we caught one. We never managed to catch the other two, but Fiona has become a permanent resident at Storybook Caviary. We didn't know squat about Golden Agoutis, but decided we'd try showing her anyway. She did better at her first show than any of ours did, so we decided to give GA's a try. Now we have some very nice Golden Agoutis, and we even took home Best of Variety for American Golden Agoutis at the 2010 ACBA Specialty!
Fiona and her first litter - boar on the right won BOV at Specialty
Anyways, I hope that you can find some useful information here, or just enjoy browsing through the photos of pretty piggies (I'm always looking through other breeder's websites, check out the 'Links' page for other drool-worthy sites). If you have any cavy-related questions, feel free to email me. I'm always happy to help out where I can!
Cavy - Related Achievements
Now that I'm in college I don't have as much time to do cool cavy-related stuff, but I am planning on working towards my registrar's license within the next year or so. Most of the entries below have to do with my high school years.
4-H Related Awards/Recognition
- 4-H member for 10 years
- local 4-H club webmaster for several years
- "Longhair Cavy Care" 4-H Demonstration, State Medalist 2004
- 4-H California State Winner: Cavy Record Book
- Cavy Project Jr leader for one year
- Cavy Project Teen Leader for five years
- Cavy Project Adult Leader for two years (they couldn't get rid of me just because I was too old to be a member, haha!)
- Created national 4-H Cavy Project resource Website as Teen Leader
- Planned and ran a 4-H and ARBA/ACBA sanctioned show as a Teen Leader
- Designed shirt (the one with the crazy Silkie screaming for coffee)
- Wrote/put together an article for the JACBA (Journal of the American Cavy Breeder's Association)
- 2008 Runner-Up ACBA Queen (if you are a youth and ever get the chance to compete, you have to - it's an epic opportunity for the young cavy enthusiast)
- 2008 ACBA Overall Management Winner
- 2008 ACBA Div. 2 Management Winner
- 2008 ACBA Div. 2 Achievement Winner
- Spoke with head of animation about guinea pigs for hours for the creation of the movie "G-Force"
- Was interviewed for/published in Critters USA
This site was last updated 07/13/10