Thursday, November 12, 2015

Best Places to Sell Sheep

I have only had sheep for just over 10 years and learned a lot about buying and selling them in that time.

When we bought our first sheep we found them for sale in an advertisement in the local newspaper, and as such that was our first thought when it came to selling them.

Selling sheep via advertisements in the newspaper is not something I would recommend, and we stopped doing it after a couple of tries.  This might work in some areas, but even though the newspaper went to all rural homes in the area, it did not really pan out for us with great results, and there is always a fee involved and no sale guaranteed.

We soon found auctions for buying and selling livestock.  I am in Alberta, and there are several auctions where a person can buy or sell sheep.  The odd and unusual auctions are twice a year in my area and are closer to me than the bigger livestock action in which sheep are sold by weight.  At the odd and unusual livestock auctions all sorts of livestock are sold, everything from chickens to bison.  The animals are sold individually, by the animal itself, not by weight.  As such you never know what the prices will be like and I have (regrettably) had good, young, sheep sell for under $100.

Sheep at the Innisfail auction

What has proven to be good is selling online.  At first I used a Canadian site, and had sold several sheep this way.  The main problems I encountered with kijiji was that it took ages to get a sale.  You would post the ad then it might be a week before a seller would contact you.  They often would try to talk me down in price even though I set my prices low (typically below market value as I wanted fast sales on the ram lambs as I had no where to separate them from their mothers).  Most of the buyers I found on kijiji were people looking for meat sheep.

Selling at auction means you know your sheep will be sold that day, but you do not know the price, and you have to pay commission.  Selling online means you can set your price but have no idea when your sheep will sell.

Then my daughter encouraged me to try selling the sheep via Facebook groups.  Wow, we had some bottle baby lambs one winter and within minutes of her posting them for sale on Facebook we had interested buyers.  As with selling on kijiji, buyers sometimes asked for a lower price, but not always.  I found more of the buyers on Facebook were hobby farmers, like myself, who just wanted a few sheep for pets, 4H, or lawn control.

Overall if you have some sheep to sell I would suggest listing them online first, with plans on taking them to an auction later if you are unable to sell them online and need them gone by a certain date.  I would rather sell online for a lower price than have to drive to an auction (consider your time, gas, commission, and so forth) and not know what price I might get.

Other Reading
The Innisfail Odd and Unusual Auctions