In just six weeks I have developed a reputation around town. I am officially, the crazy chook lady.
It all started in week one at netball training when I started talking about my frustration with trying to get hold of just three laying hens. Everyone was very understanding of my frustration and started handing over their ‘chook seller’ contacts but everyone that I called seemed to have recently done a chook delivery (yes that’s a thing) to our area and weren’t planning on coming back anytime soon. So that is what lead me to a chook auction at 9.30am on a Saturday morning.
One of the girls from netball (we will call her Christine) had told me about the chook auction back in week one and I had kept it at the back of my mind. After a month of no luck getting hold of my three laying hens I decided I would give the auction a go. Christine had told me going to the auction is worth it as you come away with much nicer looking (lots of feathers) and more friendly chooks than usual. Have you ever heard someone call a chook pretty? Or friendly? But Christine wasn’t wrong, the auction did have the goods! There were lots of different breads and not an Isa Brown in sight. There were black ones, white ones, some with feathers on their feet and even a few guinea fowls. I wasn’t in the market for guinea fowls but after waiting so long for chooks, I did have a good look at them and could have easily been convinced to place a bid.
Being an auction you cant just buy these pretty, feathery chooks, you have to auction for them. I had in my mind that this would be a traditional auction with an auctioneer standing on a podium with a hammer taking bids but when we got there, much to my surprise it was nothing like that. It was a pencil auction with the basic idea being you walk around the shed, inspect the poultry displayed in individual cages, work out which one(s) you want to bid on and then write your bid, in pencil, on the white card attached to the favourable chook(s) cage. At 11am on the dot when the buzzer goes off if your bid is the last bid on the white card, you win! Easy as that… so I thought.
Christine picked me up from the farm at 8.30 and we got the the auction at 9.30, inspected the poultry and placed our first bids. We then had an hour to kill so we walked around ‘monitoring’ our bids. This involved walking around the shed, past the chooks we had placed bids on and if anyone else had placed a bid to outbid ours, we’d have to write our new bid to beat theirs. It was very exhausting as being a chook auction (not exactly high value) the bids were going up a dollar at a time which meant lots of trips around the shed. At 11am on the dot Christine manned one side of the shed and I the other, making sure we got our last bids in right before the buzzer went off at 11am. We were easily outbid on nearly half. One reason being we couldnt watch all of our bids as the chooks were spread across the shed. The other reason being there was no way in hell we were going to pay upwards of $30 for one chook. And believe me, there were many chooks that went for more than $30. There was only one hicup where I nearly lost two chooks to an older lady who tried to outbid me after the buzzer had gone. Needless to say she didn’t know how much I wanted chooks so wasnt going to stand for cheeky.
We came away with six chooks each, averaging $14.60 per chook ($4.60 above the standard price of an Isa Brown) but our chooks were what a chook lover would call pretty. They have feathers, and are friendly.
My advice to anyone that has chooks and likes chooks, if you get the chance go to a chook auction, go. For one, it will be something you wouldn’t have experienced before, and two, you will get pretty chooks, of different breeds and may even open up the possibility of coming home with a guinea fowl (if that’s your thing).