Things I Learned from the Sale Barn

Nebraska Prairie Girl Goes to the Sale Barn.  

Surprisingly,  I have never been to a sale barn.  I have never purchased livestock from a sale barn nor have I sold any animals at the sale barn.   That is until now............................

Since the increase in the size of my goat herd has resulted in more kids born,  I had a lot of excess goats this year.  There was not much interest in goats locally, so we decided to take the goats to Centennial Live Stock Company in Ft. Collins, Colorado. (A very nice clean facility)  My friend Sarah Pinet went along with us to sell some of her milkers she was culling.   We both had high hopes for the sale of our goats not just monetarily, but also in finding great new homes.  Well, here is the good, the bad and the ugly of my Sale barn lesson.

First off,  get your livestock to the auction very early.   We got there by nine-thirty as we'd been instructed.  Well, that is a great time if you want your livestock to go last in line. They sell the animals in the order in which they are received.   ( Kind of like when you are put on hold when you call a business.  )  So get your critters to the Sale barn early. 

Second,  if your critters go through the sale later than the rest of the livestock,  you will notice that  the sale prices go down more and more.  Folks run out of money and bid less.

Third,  separating out your doeling from whethers (castrated males) really is a waste of time,  because they will just throw them all in together and sell them in one big lot.  My hope was the the doelings would go to a buyer looking for good quality dairy goats.   They would have been great to start a new milking line for next year.  But they were sold with the whethers I brought, and sold as feeders. We all know what feeders are!   I knew that the whethers  would go as feeders but I wanted better for my doelings.  

Fourth,  just because you take two really nice looking two year old bred nannies, does not mean they will go to someone for milking purposes.    I bred these two nannies in hopes that when they went to the sale barn they would go for milkers.  Well guess what?  You got it, they went most likely for meat.    

Fifth,  taking a friend to the sale barn who is equally as hopeful for a positive outlook for her critters is helpful. You can discuss your sale barn woes with each other the whole hour and a half ride home.
Sixth,  never, ever go to the sale barn with any preconceived notions about your critter going off to live a great life as a productive member of  society. 

Seventh, do not name all your critters. Only name the critters you intend to keep.   That way when they look up at you with a long sorrowful face,  you do not have a name to go with that face.  

Eighth,  and the most important lesson for me.   Send your husband to the sale barn for you with strict instructions to tell you the following:  That your  critters were purchased by a nice person who intends to put them out to pasture for the rest of their lives. And tell your husband that no matter how much you bother him for the truth about the sale, he has to stick to the original planned and scripted answer!  

Unfortunately,  with the growth of my herd there will probably be more runs to the sale barn.   I have tried to sell them locally.   Unfortunately, the Nebraska Prairie is not a bustling goat industry.  Now, if I could disguise them as Angus cattle... hmmmm.   However,  I do not plan to go  to the sale barn myself. I really am planning on sending my husband.    He has no attachment to my goats like I do.   I guess when you are there during their birth and the first part of their  life you  form something of an  attachment.   At least I know that while my goats were in my care they got the best possible treatment. 

Nebraska Prairie Girl


  1. What where you thinking??? Sorry you had such a sucky experience... I could never watch any of my animals in the sale ring, unless... it was at stock show.


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