Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Because Santa doesn't deliver goats

As I mentioned in the previous post, we hit up the Sheep and Goat auction yesterday

ME + Auction = B-A-D

I could have come home with a hundred critters, without batting an eye.

I already said how tempting the lots of 7-12 wethers were. Especially one, that had 7 or 8 cuties. All with shiny well brushed coats. They were full of life and energy, and only averaging at 35 pounds. They were just babies. The only reason they escaped coming home with me was, I could just imagine the look on Chris' face when I told him to cram 8 of them in the back of the minivan.

Then there was the Sheep. I was smart enough to sit on my hands every time the auctioneer called out something was a cull. But one little sheep stole my heart completely. It was a good thing all the boys were fussing or it would have been in the van too!
It was the sweetest little brown and white lamb. In a lot with two little white ones. Every time they were prodded in one direction, this little brown and white cutie would take a flying leap trying to hurdle the other two and be in front. If sheep had true elbows it would have been a sheep mosh pit. I loved his antics and truly thought about ignoring the sheep ban for this little one.

About 3/4 of the way through the sheep (which was 2 and half hours of just waiting for us), a hutterite came in with a crate full of puppies. I was up pacing the floor trying to give a cranky Greg a new view. One glance at those puppies I knew they were at least a good part Pyrenees and I made a bee line back to my seat. There was 4 of them. 2 girls and 2 boys apparently. They were still releasing and catching the pups as the bidding started. The bidding went up and up fast for first selection. Bidders choice was at $110 before all the pups were sexed. Which determined there was in fact only one female, who was of course snatched up by the bidder with first rights. Left with 3 males Chris was giving me the evil eye not to bid. I wasn't going to, until the auctioneer dropped the price back to 25...then 15. I was busy giving the puppy dog eyes to Chris (all puns intended) when the numbers rocketed again 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 42...47. I think it ended up at 57 a pup, all I know is the bidder took them all. So not 3rd or 4th tries. I'm sure Chris was saying a prayer of thanks under his breath.

We sat in the very front row at the auction. And although it tugged at my heart strings to meet half of these darlings eye to eye. Especially when they came to the bars to cry out their protests and frustrations of their situation. It was also quite the education. A massive amount of sheep were there from a herd dispersal. The auctioneer said the owner was headed in for surgery and selling everything. These turned out to be great bench mark sheep. Watching those sheep come in, some with obviously pregnant bellies hanging low. I started to watch the way they all moved and was able to access the differences from a healthier flock to the culls. Of course many of the culls were blindly obvious. A pair came in missing a massive amount of wool from their back ends and sided. I just had this flash of "How would you keep these guys from getting frostbite?"
There were others too. One came in with only half a back leg. A full grown Ewe, but from the knee down there was nothing.
Another mixed lot of about 15 came in, and some of them looked like they had clubs instead of a hind leg. The leg was swollen and thick, with no bending where a knee should be. The herder that worked for the auction house announced they all had foot rot. So I got a "ring side view" of what that looks like.
I've seen illustrations of how you DON'T want a sheep's hind legs to look

Once when a flock came in together, half of them were tripping over each other, and most of them fell. That's when illustrations like these started to make sense. As soon as the animals were standing still you could see almost everyone of them had deformities like this, or even more pronounced in their hind legs.

Overall, we came home with just one male goat; which is what we went for. Although he's a billy instead of a wether like I'd hoped. He is however a decent size at 60 pounds he should be fine around Romeo. (Who seems to be in constant Rut) I hope it all works out as planned.
It was a fast lesson in sheep too. If your paying attention you can learn a lot sitting that close to the action. Although I still can't always be sure how much something is going for. Is there an Auctioneer to English dictionary you can get somewhere?

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