My First Real Taste of the South: Tony’s Small Animal Auction

3 07 2011

When Tom told me we were going to head to the small animal auction to look for some goats he got a little smirk on his face that should have let me know I had no idea what I was in for. I mean, I had some idea that a ‘small animal auction’ was not at all something I had ever experienced before, but I had no idea…if you catch my drift.

We drove into North Wilkesboro around 6 despite the fact that the goat section of the auction wouldn’t start until 8 with the hopes of checking out some of the goats ahead of time, and also Tom had said that they auctioned off some farm equipment beforehand that he wanted to look into. I kinda of assumed that I might just be bored for those two hours…how wrong I was. After contemplating whether or not I should take the rare shower before the auction I decided a jump in the lake would do just fine, it turned out that was barely needed.

I thought I was dressed pretty normally but as soon as we walked up to the huge barn which served as the site for the auction I immediately caught people literally  poking each other and pointing at me. When I later told my mother about this, who was raised on the eastern shore of Maryland, she just said “that was what my whole childhood was like”. Anyway, besides that everyone was super nice. And there was tons of awesome facial hair! Someone asked me not to take pictures so I didn’t really get too many, plus I got the sense that it was a local thing and me with my big ol’ camera out would make people feel weird.

The first two hours were just people bidding for everything from weed-whackers to fully equipped tool boxes (awesome!) to random pieces of tubing… The concession stand kept everyone hydrated with a massive supply of soft drinks and yoo-hoo and three huge jars which contained pickled cucumbers, pickled eggs, and pickled sausages.

My goal the whole time was to convince Tom to buy me a baby goat, so as soon as we got to the goat pen I start not-so-indiscreetly pointing out  all the adorable little babies and he agreed, without too much convincing, to get one. One of the guys working the auction let me in to the stall and I think the North Carolina folks were probably pretty amused to see some tall city girl with a shaved head ( I really just had to struggle to avoid the temptation to call myself a ‘tall glass of water’) wrangling up baby goats and checking their teeth, asking about breeds and what-not.

We immediately decided to get pygmy goats, the guy who was helping us out and answering our questions told us they were hardy

This hen pokes her head out of her crate to get at the rooster in the next crate.

little things that don’t get worms too often and are good grazers, just what we were looking for. And they were so damn cute. We picked out four, two adults and two babies. We still had about an hour to kill before the bidding so I walked around and checked out the other animals. I kid you not, there were stacks upon stacks of boxes filled with chickens, ducks, and rabbits with labels such as “trio roasters” and  “two lionheads”. I reached my hand into one box and found a fully grown doe rabbit shaking with fear, I pet her and stroked her ears until her heart rate settled down. Poor little girl.

I couldn’t actually be in the auction room for the actual bidding because it made me too nervous, so I just stood right outside of the room. The auctioneer was a young man with a handlebar moustache whose voice was so constant and melodic that it almost sounded like he was singing as he called out prices and numbers, I had never heard anything like it. Tom told me that a good auctioneer makes it so you don’t even know what you have spent. Anyone who was bidding would stand around a pen where they would release the goat and as the terrified little thing ran around and fell into the walls the bidders would raise their hands for it.

We got all of our girls, loaded them into the truck, and took them home. They don’t stand more than two feet off the ground and are just adorable. I was hoping they would be like Caroline’s goats and want to snuggle more, but so far they are pretty stand-offish. Caroline’s goats are unusual, most livestock are distinctly different from pets. Being roughly the size of a dog does not make them a dog is the lesson I have had to learn. They do have worms right now, which we aren’t able to do much about until the long weekend is over so this has become a concern. Most goats have worms and apparently it is a matter of just trying to control them, but we don’t like seeing our little ladies cough! Three of them have names: Miss Betty, Trudy (I call all baby goats Trudy…weird habit), and Lucia. The last one hasn’t really gotten a name yet. We call her Mama and Big Sister and various names. I’ll post some better pictures when I can get them. This week the girls will get out grazin’ and start paying their rent!

Miss Betty and Trudy are attached at the hip


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2 responses

29 07 2011
Scott Kirwin

Heading there tonight and have been warned it’s a “cultural experience” by a guy at Tractor Supply who evidently sized the Wife and I up as Yankees from the suburbs. We came down here from Delaware two years ago, and just acquired some bantam chickens this spring. Hawks and the dogs have taken their toll so we need to shore up the flock. Also, the Wife has been poking me about getting goats. Since she always gets what she wants, I’d better resign myself now to my fate.

Shaved head? I used to have one of those before Mother Nature decided that she liked the look so much she’d make it permanent – but have a bit of fun in the process by making me look like a monk first.

29 07 2011
sustainablesummer

This is a great auction and I definitely recommend checking it out. Some words of advice on picking up goats at an auction:
Sometimes it seems to be a place where people try to get rid of their sick goats…so watch out..

Also most of the goats will have worms so make sure you de-worm them as soon as you get them home!

Have fun!!

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