Ashburton Fancier’s Auction, April 15th 2007. We’d wanted to get an Australorp right from the beginning – the breed still holds the record for the most number of eggs laid by a single hen in a single year without artificial lighting. Unfortunately all the Australorps who were meant to be for sale at Rare Breeds had been pulled out at the last minute. So when we got to Ashburton and saw a number of pens of Australorps for sale, we were very interested indeed!
The bugger of a thing (for us) was that there were virtually no birds for sale as single birds: nearly all pairs or breeding trios. So we gritted our teeth, and decided that one extra bird wouldn’t make too much difference … and prepared to start bidding.
We’d been round and identified a couple of birds that we really liked the look of. Naturally the lot we thought were nicest of all came up before the other two pens. Before the auction we’d discussed what price we would be prepared to go to, having had something of a rude awakening at the Rare Breeds auction the month before. We thought that $50 should be well and truly enough to get the bird we wanted, so we decided that we could go as far as $90 for two.
You can see where this is going, can’t you?
Lot 147, two very nice looking Australorp pullets, vendor B Glassey. The bidding came down to us and another bloke who had been spending up large on virtually every other bird we’d though looked good to that point. $70, $75, $80, $85, …
He got them for $90. Bah.
We chose to take this as a sign that we had an eye for good poultry. (Either that, or we were bellwether mugs.) We were starting to feel nervous though when the next few lots went for $155 (three Gold Wyandotte pullets and one cockerel, vendor W Hobbs), $95 (two very nice Silver Wyandotte pullets, vendor R Bennett) and $80 (two Buff Orpington pullets, vendor R Bennett). Then it was our next possibles: a pair of nice Australorp pullets, vendor G & S Greenwood.
Once again, our choice seemed to meet with general approval – the same group of bidders we’d seen going after the other birds we’d liked the look of, including the guy who’d beaten us to the first two Australorps. And once again it came down to the two of us.
$40, $45, $50, (erk) $55, $60, (please please please stop bidding soon) $65, (please please), $70 … $75 … (breathe, breathe, breathe) … and we had them! Two beautiful (and very large) Australorp pullets.
Ella and Venus were ours!
For more information on the Ashburton Fanciers’ Society’s annual poultry auction, contact:
No 4 R.D.