Buying from a poultry sale
Libby Syddall from Ham Street Hens told me she only sources her birds from market and offers the following advice on buying poultry at sale for the first time:
1 Check the start time of the auction, print off and READ the catalogue, pack crates or get the trailer ready (for larger animals), take money or a card.
2 Arrive early, get a bidder number and have your catalogue already marked with the lots you’re interested in. Make sure you understand what all the abbreviations mean.
3 Are the cage contents as described in the catalogue? There are often changes.
4 Make sure you visit each cage and go through a health checklist for every bird in every cage on which you want to bid. Dismiss any that are not looking 100% well. If that breeder has any other lots you may wish to dismiss those too in case something is brewing.
5 Once you know you want to bid, set yourself a limit and stick to it! Allow for the buyer’s premium and any VAT that will be added to your bid.
6 Don’t bid on a lot that wasn’t on your list. Sometimes it seems that something is being sold very cheaply and it can be tempting to jump in. You won’t have chance to have a good look at the stock for sale at this point and there is a reason the price is low, you could be bidding on a ‘problem’ lot.
7 Paying for and collecting your stock always takes longer than you think.
8 Your new stock will have had a stressful day so make sure you’re ready when you bring it home. It will need fresh water, food, housing and a well fenced area to explore. Keep new livestock isolated for a period of time so you don’t introduce disease to your existing animals.
Libby Syddall Ham Street Hens www.hamstreethens.com. 01458 850388
Further snippets of advice from the Facebook community
Dawn Pearse: Don’t get carried away. It’s very easy especially at a poultry auction!
Tamsin Mullins: I have no tips but I’ll look forward to reading your article. I’ve always founds auctions a bit scary!