Today I attended my first ever livestock auction.  Ian was sleeping since he worked overnight and I didn’t feel like spending the day at home.  I noticed that Sherman has its 3rd Saturday of the month auction so I decided what the heck I’ll drive out and give ‘er a go.

Any time we have purchased livestock in the past we bought directly from a breeder.  I’ve always been told that any animal that goes to auction is the sickest of the sick or terribly diseased.  That being said, most animals at the auction looked ok if not good.  A few calves had a poopy rear but they were active and bright eyed.  There was also what appeared to be a tamworth cross piglet that was just standing staring off into space.  If she was on our farm she probably would have been put down if she had been that way.  She just didn’t look or act right.  I definately wouldn’t have taken it to auction to further stress the poor thing.

Overall the auction was run much the same as a typical estate auction.  I made my mind up to not buy any animals while there.  I’ve always heard of horror stories about buying at auction.  I did however, pick up a couple of buckets and bowls for use with the animals here at the farm.

The auction ran from about 10:00am until nearly 5pm.  The first several hours were mainly tack items.  There were few things that I wanted since we don’t have horses here at our farm.  After the tack and miscellaneous, they then moved on to poultry and rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets.  After than it was goats, pigs, cows and finally hourses.

To get an idea of the prices that animals fetched here in SWNY and NYPA I’ll give a brief run down.

Turkeys – appeared to be royal palm hens $40-47 each
Rabbits – $6-15 each (one guy bought just about every rabbit)
Guinea Pigs – $2-3 each
Buck Goats $80-90
A doe that looked in milk – $100
Other does $60-65
Cross breed steer calf – $55
Heifer Holstein calf – $60
Holstein Bull Calf – $10-22.50
Jersey Bull Calf – $7.50-15
Bred Sow probably yorkshire cross – $160
Feeder Guilts approx 300# = $165
Weaner pigs – $35

Horses I didn’t write down the prices because I really have no clue one horse for another.  One that stuck out in my head was a bred halflinger mare $385.  There were a lot of broke horses good for trail rides but many many went unsold.

What suprised me was that the goats went for so much.  For cross bred auction goats I wouldn’t have touched them with a 10’ pole for fear of CL or any other number of insidious diseases that don’t always make animals look ill.  I was also suprised to see guinea pigs and pigeons…oh and a ferrett.

Overall, I really would have expected more animals.  The bulk of the auction was non-livestock.  By the 50th halter I was ready to need a bit for myself.  Despite this it was a worthwhile day.  I learned a bit and I talked with some very nice folks.

I kinda wish I would have spent the money on the steer and bull calves and given them a go.  I don’t think I would have bought a heifer at auction for fear that it would be a freemartin but going did open my mind to the auctions.  It didn’t, however,  break me of all of my fears.  Now that I’m home my carharts are in the sanitary wash and my boots will be getting a scrub in disinfectant.  I my not taking any risks with my livestock just in case there was something catchy there.

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