Hobby farm animal auction a hit

By Geoff Lee

September 27, 2017 2:45 PM

Rachel Ecker, left, Donna Mae and Nicholas Ecker, checked out these California Doe rabbts up for auction during the fall sale of Rare & Exotic animals at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds on Saturday. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

Here a moo moo, there an oink oink and everywhere a quack quack.
The Rare & Exotic Fall Sale of hobby farm critters could have played to words of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” adding a neigh neigh here and baa baa there too.
The auction, held Saturday at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds, brought together about 200 buyers and sellers of 720 boxes of animals and 65 livestock by the count of Ralph Klinke, who headed the organizing committee.
“The purpose is to put non-utility animals on the market whether it be miniature horses, goats, pigs, things like that,” said Klinke.
“It’s more of a hobby thing is a nice way of putting it.”
The sale included everything from Nubian goats and Indian Blues peacocks, to Chochin bantam chickens and French Lops rabbits.
“The contributors come from everywhere, buyers come from everywhere as well,” said Klinke.
The event included separate auctions for smaller and larger animals, with fall prices expected to be a bit low than the spring sale when a lot of newborn animals go on the market.
Still, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm for folks like senior Allen George, who said he was just looking with the grandkids and liking the free admission.
“They love it, I love it too,” he said while checking out a French Lop rabbit in its cage.
“I was raised on a farm; I like to come in the spring when there is all those little ones, but this is interesting.”
The event is put on by the Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition Association, for hobbyists who enjoy raising a variety of small feathery and furry animals.
Most of the sellers and buyer live on farms or acreages like Debbie Mueller from the Cut Knife area, who was selling chickens, ducks and turkeys, and buying more chickens for her farm.
“I produce them just for eggs to sell,” she said, adding her family also has horses, and donkeys and sheep and cows —everything.
She said she comes to the show every year, twice a year, as she loves to see all the animals.
“It’s exciting,” said Mueller.
The exhibition association says the hobby of raising small animals becomes a family affair that teaches young people the responsibility of caring and nurturing for barnyard critters.
The 2107 fall show was the first for hobbyist Rachel Ecker, who came with her brother and a friend to check it out.
“We have a farm; we’ve got sheep and goats and chickens and rabbits,” she said, while viewing a cage full of California Doe rabbits.
Most animals are sold separately, but boxes of chickens or some quail, for example, can be auctioned in pairs, or in groups or three or four
For the first time ever, feathers could also be bought for craft making by hobbyists from all over Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Jody Chickeness brings her family to the show every year since her kids like to look at the different animals, and sometimes they go home with one too.
“We have a farm,” she said, while her daughter rattled off the list of critters they raise.
“We have chickens, donkeys, horses, cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs and a hamster,” she said, adding she was hoping to take home a rabbit.

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