The annual fundraising auction for the Essex Aggie chapter of Future Farmers of America is being held @ noon on Sunday, October 20, at the Poultry Barn of the Topsfield Fairgrounds. It's rain or shine, with seating being set up outdoors if the weather is nice, and in the Poultry Barn if it rains. All kinds of poultry and gamebirds, as well as small animals (rabbits, cavies, cagebirds, pigeons, etc.) can be submitted for auction. Craft items, baked goods and small farm/garden equipment, produce and plants are welcome too. The FFA kids get 25% of each auction sale, with those proceeds going toward sending them to the annual FFA National Convention. While sellers get 75% of their items' sale price, you can also donate items to the auction so the kids get 100% of the proceeds. ALL gallinaceous birds (i.e. chickens, guinea fowl, peafowl, turkeys, game birds, etc.) MUST be blood tested beforehand, and you need to bring your clean-flock card or certificate to the auction before your birds will be put up for bid. Waterfowl and pigeons are exempt. Auction items should be brought before the start of the auction, since it gets really hectic once bidding starts. 9-11 a.m. is a good time to arrive and submit your items, provide your seller's information, etc. Bidders need to sign in and get a bidding ID number, but you can arrive at any time. The auction goes until everything is sold. Animals should be securely and comfortably boxed or caged (use cages you don't want to keep). I always use bedding (pine shavings) and plenty of air holes or a viewing window with chicken wire duct-taped in place. Also, since the birds (or animals) will be in their boxes for quite a while, adding some apple chunks, lettuce, bread, feed pellets, etc. will keep them hydrated and fed until they go to their new homes. It's a fun event and you never know what's going to go up for bid! There's always something interesting. Come bid or bring your extra birds or animals to auction. You might make a few bucks... or come home with a chicken or two... or both.