Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A night at the auction

Kev and I went to the "Small Animal" Livestock auction last night. We were shopping for pigs to butcher this weekend. Now, we have pigs already lined up, we were just hoping to get some for a cheaper price.

This was our first time at this particular auction. When we got there, they were auctioning off chickens and other poultry. We saw quail, lots of roosters, some pullets, several peacocks and even parakeets. Kevin wouldn't buy me any peacocks. The cheapskate...on the other hand, while I appreciate their beauty, I really dislike their voices. So, I'm glad he didn't buy me any. I was confused by the parakeets--there were 8 cages of them with 10 to 12 birds in each cage. I think each cage sold for $10, but why on earth would you want a that many parakeets? You can't eat them, can you?

We've been told that the local Mexican population will drive up the price on chickens--paying as much as $10 per bird. While there were a lot of Mexican folk in the stands, not many were buying and as near as I can tell...these chickens didn't go anywhere near that high...unless the bid price was per bird in the cage and not the total for the cage. I'm not sure...see, we couldn't understand the auctioneer.

I hate the auctioneer "song". Some, you can understand, some you can't. The two last night were in the can't understand category. Most good auctioneers make their starting point clear and then you can follow along as they try to get a higher bid. These guys last night mumbled something terrible and we struggled to understand what the bid exactly was. At times, we figured it out, at other times, we had no idea. And it's not like we haven't been to auctions before!

After we watched the birds sold, they auctioned off a box of...crap. Tape, gloves, two camo hats...crap. Up next were some rabbits. I have no idea what they went for; I simply couldn't figure out what the bid was. Then came some calves. The first few sold for around $200, after that, they sold for $100 or less. Calves were followed by some cow/calf duo's. But most of the cows were either Longhorns or other beef type, not milk cows although they had one who was very tame and they said she could be milked. They also threw in some newborn calves with heifers (not their mothers) which I thought was interesting. Most of those sold around $600 per pair. I tried to get Kev to buy a couple of them too, but he just sat there and pretended not to hear me.

Finally, they brought in the pigs. Two boars sold for--I think--$700 each. Then a couple of market/butcher sized pigs...but we couldn't understand the darn auctioneer to know what they were going for! We could never figure out what they sold for. Then they brought in groups of pigs--6 or 7 at at time. Most weren't big enough to butcher yet, and you had to buy the lot. Since we didn't want to be stuck with 4 pigs we couldn't butcher yet, we passed.

From there, the pigs got smaller and smaller. Feeder pigs down to pigs just a few weeks old. The little pigs sold for $10 each. If we had a pen...we'd have bought them, but we don't, so we passed. They then brought in a Pot-Bellied pig. A sow. Behind her, they brought in a dozen or more Pot-Bellied piglets. At least two of the piglets belonged to the sow who wasn't happy about being separated, and the piglets were so little they went between the bars of the pen, running straight to their mama. The sow sold for $200, but the piglets...all of them went for a grand total of $1.25. Crazy.

At that point, they moved on to goats. We didn't stay for the goat auction. Maybe because we wanted to go home, maybe because Kevin knows I have a real weakness for goats and I might have bid on some...and he didn't want any. So, we went home.

We decided that we should go again--and maybe pick up some feeder pigs and feed them out ourselves. Of course that means we need to build a pen. I'd really like to pasture raise pigs which would be easier on our land, but I'm not sure how successful that would be out here with just 2 acres of pasture, no trees and not a lot of water. The auction was fun, but it would have been better if we could have understood the auctioneer and if we could have found the pigs we wanted. Who knows...maybe next time we'll go home with a goat or two, some pigs and maybe even a cow and calf...you never know what I'll talk Kev into buying!

1 comment:

Dirt Road Quilter said...

Well don't ever take me to the sale barn! Let's just say that the last time I was there I was explaining how our roof blew off of our house to a friend and almost bought a horse. Last night we went to the Safari Club Dinner and I remmbered to sit on my hands or we might have ended up in Africa on a water buffalo hunt! Sounds like y'all had fun although I hope you snag a better auctioneer and a hog or two next time! The acustics at auctions are notoriously lacking.