There is a monthly poultry sale in our local town. What are the pros and cons of buying chickens from there?
Anne Perdeaux replies:
Poultry auctions are fascinating and well worth a visit, if only to look at some of the different breeds. There may also be trade stands offering special deals on equipment, and a chance to meet fellow enthusiasts.
Bargains are sometimes possible, but you need an experienced eye to avoid buying poor quality or unhealthy stock. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of bidding and pay more than necessary, bearing in mind that there is no redress should your purchases prove unsatisfactory. If you do make a bid, remember there will be a buyer’s premium to pay on top of the bid price.
Chickens are often auctioned in pairs, trios, quartets or quintets, all of which contain a cockerel. There will also be lots consisting of hens or pullets only – but if a bird has been incorrectly sexed, or otherwise wrongly identified, it cannot be returned.
Infectious diseases flourish in sale rooms. You should thoroughly quarantine any birds bought from auction, keeping those from different sellers in separate pens if possible. Make absolutely certain they are all in good health before introducing them to an existing flock.