They auction off the birds first, often chickens, peafowl, ducks, pigeons, and so forth depending on what people have brought. After which they sell goats, pigs, sheep, llamas, alpacas, miniature horses, donkeys, and some cattle. Every auction is different, you really never can be sure on what will be there, and what the prices will be.
The first year we attended laying hens were selling for fifty cents a piece. There were well over 40 birds, Isa Browns I think. After that year I never saw laying hens so cheap again, one year there were only 5 laying hens in the whole auction (there were other hens sold as a pair with a rooster, or specialty breeds such as Silkies). In some cases laying hens sold for over $15.00 a bird.
|King Utility Pigeons|
We have seen llamas sell for $20 a piece but at one auction the auctioneers were paying people a dollar to take a llama.
You see it all at these places, including some signs of neglect, such as donkey's with neglected feet.
Sometimes you get a bit of information on the animals (such as the miniature horses) sometimes you do not even get their name.
In the past we have bought and sold sheep at the Thorsby Auction Market, I find the prices tend to be rather low, as such fewer people bring sheep to sell than in the past and many opt for private sales, or take them to other auction markets where "meat" prices are high.
This year we sold a bunch of farm equipment that we were not using and bought 2 pairs of pigeons. In the past we have purchased laying hens, but this year we want to take a bit of a holiday and to have fewer birds to look after in general. Although hens are great to have, they are more work than pigeons.
One pair we bought were King Utility Pigeons, apparently people eat them; not us, they are pets.
The other pair we bought were Tumblers, these being pigeons that fly and then "tumble", it would be cool to get a video of them in flight, apparently though this also puts them at risk of being taken by hawks. I am not sure I fully understand the behavior, why they fly this way, but it sounds interesting.
I took pictures of the pairs, I should like to get better pictures in the future, as the colors on the Tumblers did not show up well.
At this particular auction I managed to purchase the birds for less than $10.00 each.
The Thorsby Auction market is less than an hour south west of Edmonton and has unusual critter auctions every spring and fall. To find out the dates call the Thorsby Auction market at 780-789-3915.