Poultry Buy, Sell and Trade
Do I love chickens?
The small village of Lombardy, Ontario in the Township of Rideau Lakes, has one of the nicest fair grounds in Eastern Ontario. Here, a group of chicken enthusiasts held a first, but certainly not last, Poultry Buy, Sell and Trade extravaganza. I don’t know how much “trading” went on, but there was a lot of buying and selling. Organizers reported a turnout of about 600 prospective buyers and 60 vendors – both groups were very motivated because almost everybody sold out!
Unlike a poultry auction, which is structured and moves at a steady pace over a long day, a Buy-Sell-Trade is more like “Black Friday”. Buyers and sellers are technically not supposed to transact any sales until 8:00 am. However, clever buyers arrive early to search and evaluate poultry as the birds are unloaded from trucks and trailers. Buyers follow potential ‘fluffy targets’ around until they are settled in their sales cages and then stand watch over the sellers hoping to make eye contact to signal interest in making quick, definitive purchase. I noticed that flashing a fist full of 20 dollar bills helps to communicate your sincerity and secure an early place in line. It was like being on the trading floor waiting for the stock exchange to open.
Sellers carrying boxes of live birds maneuver around buyers to transfer them to cages — and if a rogue bird finds a flaw in that process, the rafters of the sales barn provide a nice vantage to watch the festivities and entertain the children for hours! With the patience of Job, sellers rush around setting up while politely answering buyers’ unrelenting questions.
Thanks to social media, smart prospectors already know what products are coming – also, thanks to the internet’s “chicken chat lines” and social media, buyers have a pretty good idea of the integrity of the sellers, as relationships have been established LONG before the day of the sale. There were geese, ducks, turkeys, chickens, pheasants, some finches and the occasional rabbit, sheep and miniature horse – of all breeds and ages, some still in eggshells (not the mammals of course). My quest – the chicken breeds – ranged from Jersey Giants to Leghorns to Silkies. Laying hens, roosters, chicks and eggs – pick your age, gender and colour!
A father bought 2 ducklings, one for each of his young children. I watched the kids each carrying their respective duckling to the family car. No box. That must have been a fun, if not messy, ride home. I bet they cried when Mom wouldn’t let the ducklings live in the house.
As soon as I arrived, I did a very quick walk through of all the vendors. Self-control is the name of THIS game. There is a theory called “chicken math” which I haven’t quite figured out yet, but I believe it has in part to do with telling your spouse you bought 4 birds, when in fact you have 14 in the car plus a dozen fertile eggs. I had my eye on 2 young hens I knew were coming – both Orpingtons (pictured below). I made the required eye contact with a lovely young woman in pink, and handed her a fist full of money and a box. The hens are now firmly ensconced in my flock, bringing me up to 26 birds in total. I just bought the two, no more! honest ! In fact, once the transaction was done I dashed for home. So the “chicken math” syndrome hasn’t quite caught up to me – yet. Maybe next year! Cluck, cluck !!