What to look for/ What to avoid at auctions?

Discussion in 'Chickenstocks, Shows, Meet-Ups' started by Clucking Lovely, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Clucking Lovely

    Clucking Lovely In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2016
    Quebec, Canada
    I'm going to a local small farm animal auction next Monday, not necessarily looking for anything in particular - but who am I kidding, as long as its smaller than a pony, its probably going to cross my mind.

    I was wondering if you guys could give me some auction pointers? Theres probably some kind of rule of thumb on what to buy vs. what to avoid?
    Health wise, if I'm not mistaken birds are designed to feign good health, so visible signs of health troubles are usually tougher to spot, true with chickens/ducks?
    How can I tell if a laying hen is still laying? Is there anyway for me to tell if I'm purchasing roosters/hens?
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I've never been to auctions, but i have heard that buying chickens can certainly be a bit of a hit and miss affair. Would you sell your best laying chicken? - I know I wouldn't, so one has to consider exactly WHY people are selling at auction.

    I'm not suggesting that the majority of sellers are trying of offload poor layers / sick birds, but its a risk. I'd think that auctions are a good way to meet poultry / fowl keepers in your area and if you can establish a rapport with a few, they may serve as potential sources for birds in the future (not via auction).

    You could also try and find members here that breed to sell, or local hatchery sources. If i remember correctly, theres a thread of lots of breeders / hatcheries in Canada. Try typing "hatcheries in Canada" in the search box and see what pops up. It may be a bit outdated, but it could help.

  3. Clucking Lovely

    Clucking Lovely In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2016
    Quebec, Canada
    I think you're absolutely right, it's definitely a gamble.

    I think perhaps the best bet is to search for fledgling hens? I'm looking to spice up my flock a bit, I've got some nice hens, but they're all the same, I want some variety, really hoping to land a plymouth rock, but my hopes aren't too high.
  4. LeviS

    LeviS Songster

    May 22, 2012
    North Dakota
    I agree, with auctions, there's a reason everything is there.....just something to keep in mind. Though I know at least with myself, I've taken birds to auctions simply to unload some birds. Expect to see lots of groups with 1-2 roosters with some hens, which is something I've done myself, just to sell some birds. At the auctions I've been to with poultry, they usually tell you what you're getting as far as a hen or rooster, also the breed.

    So you may happen upon something like that, where they are healthy birds. Someone just got overrun .....as these are chicken people we're taking about...but of course that never happens. [​IMG]

    If there is something that really catches your eye, check for all the usual signs or a healthy animal. Look at it's stools if you can. Watch it's behavior for awhile, though keep in mind everything is going to be stressed out some.

    This is when it helps to get to the auction earlier so that you can walk around and take a good look at everything, instead of the 30 sec it passes by you in the ring and you have to make a split decision.

    I honestly have avoided buying anything at the ones I've gone to, just because of the risk of introducing some new disease...and because nobody in my area seems to have any breeds I'm interested in.

    They are fun to go to though, have fun! [​IMG]
  5. oldrooster

    oldrooster One Crazy Nut

    Instead of reinventing the wheel does anyone else have advice on what too look for when buying birds not just from auctions but also craigslist and such to see what to look out for to avoid??????
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Avoid it [​IMG]
  7. Tony K T

    Tony K T Crowing

    Jul 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Pass on all auction birds unless you know who the seller is.Most birds in auctions are problem birds or old birds.Not saying you can't buy good birds in an auction ,but it is always risky.Also if you do buy any birds,quarentine them and medicate them so you don't bring in a disease.Find someone near you and go see how they are raised and see what you are actually getting.
    In N.H.,Tony.
  8. 007Sean

    007Sean Crossing the Road Premium Member

    Oct 25, 2015
    South Central Texas
    I agree with Tony. Try to find local or semi local breeders. That way you get to see what kind of care the birds are recieving, ie; shelter, pen conditions and general bio security. I've been to auctions but never bid on any birds for this reason. You may be able to meet some breeders in your area at the auction and ask them if you could visit their aviary, farm, operation.
  9. joycespell

    joycespell Chirping

    Sep 26, 2013
    I dont think you should pass on ALL birds if you dont know the seller. If you werent familiar with the crowd you might lose on a good bird or two. There is an auction here in cookeville, that happens about 3-4 times a year and its an exotic animal auction. They have zebras,camels,porcupines, you name it! And people come from all over the country (about 700 people) There are a lot of new faces every time, but thats not to say they dont have good birds. Just pay good attention to the way they act, they will all be a little stressed, eyes and nose, droppings (if there are any in the cage), feathers, and pay close attention to what birds are caged around them. If there is a bird right next to the one you are looking at, coughing and sneezing, chances are the ones around him will end up sickly as well. But, normally you can find good, cheap birds at auctions. There are a lot of naysayers , but my family has had pretty good luck. Hope this helps!!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  10. uncredibless33

    uncredibless33 In the Brooder

    May 19, 2016
    As far as auctions go, I've only ever been to one poultry auction but do I have a few tips.

    I'd personally shy away from buying any hens unless you know the seller and can ask about them. There's a chance that the adult hen you purchase may not be laying any more. The same goes for adult duck hens. I'd aim for younger pullets, old enough to tell what their sex is but young enough to confirm that you can actually have a layer.

    Watch for sick, injured, or lethargic birds and don't bid on them or any in the same cage in case of contagious disease or possible poor health in the other birds.

    Other general auction advice-
    Keep a fairly neutral facial expression during bidding, if you can. If another bidder can tell that you really want something, than they may keep bidding to raise the price on the animal and make you overspend.

    Set a price limit for yourself, and stop bidding at that point.

    Get there early, not only to get seating if this is a popular auction but to have adequate time to check out the animals and items for sale too.

    Also, after you get your birds home, QUARANTINE THEM. It's essential to see if the birds begin displaying signs of illness or injury, and quarantine will keep this from spreading to the rest of the flock. We made the mistake of adding two birds right away and not only did they get the rest of the flock sick (they've all been treated and are healthy now) but one bird was so stressed and overstimulated it took to attacking the other birds. Quarantine time allows you to get to know the bird's personality and allows them to calm down and settle after the stress and noise of the auction house.

    Hope some of this helps! Auctions are lots of fun, and you can really get some good animals if you play your cards right. Happy bidding!
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016

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