Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Poultry Auction

Last Saturday we set off early to get to our local poultry auction in Llandeilo. We had been before, last month but had sensibly left empty handed once we had realised the lots we were interested in have already gone.

This time I had my eye on six Buff Plymouth rock chicks, which didn't come up for  a couple of hours so we had plenty of time to look around. At this auction they run three sales simultaneously, one for machinery and general farming items, one for all adult poultry and one chicks and eggs. The only one I was really interested in was the chicks, looking around at all the geese, chickens and ducks was a great way to pass the time though. There are so many breeds to choose from of all different sizes and shapes. The buyers ranged from what looked like seasoned farmers to first time buyers and everyone in between. I'm not sure where I fit in in that description, somewhere towards the lower end I'd have thought.

From previous experience here I had price in mind of three pound per bird, I wouldn't go higher than that. Most chicks were going for between two or three so I was confident I would get them for that. However when the bidding started on my first lot I dropped out at three as others carried on up to four pounds. Perhaps I'd set my sights a little low. As other lots went past I didn't bid on too much, goslings were selling for up to twenty five pounds; I even saw a Mother duck and her ducklings sell for seventy. That was definitely out of my price range.

When three unsexed black chicks came up I was determined to place a strong bid on them; despite competition from two others they were mine for three pounds each. I'm not sure what breed they are but they look strong, healthy and very lively. There were three welsummers around a hundred lots later that I wouldn't have minded waiting around for but looking at the time we had already been there for three and a half hours. The sooner we got the first three chicks out of the box and gave them some food and water the better.

On arriving at home I have a few changes to make to their run before they could be put into it. So I left them in a big high sided cardboard box while I went about my work. Big mistake! Less than five minutes later they were scratching and running about in my hallway. thank goodness for wooden floors. I hurried on with the run and once complete rounded them up and carefully placed them in their coop, leaving them to come out in their own time.

They were a bit wary for the first couple of days hiding under the coop at the first sign of anything else going on in the garden. Now only five days later they would rather run up to me than run away. They're almost over confident  preferring to fly out of the coop than use the ramp that I spent time and effort making.

I very happy with my purchase and now think three is a good number to start with. If any chicken fans out there can identify the breed I'd be very interested to hear.

By August I should be eating my own home reared, free range chickens. chickens that I know have had the best treatment and the happiest life I can possibly provide them with. Even the ducks don't mind them moving in on their territory.

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