Sure Sign of Spring- 4-H Club Pig, Lamb and Goat Sales
Annual ritual back in full swing.
Published on: April 12, 2010
The Wayne County fairgrounds at Richmond on Friday night, April 2 looked like the county fair itself was in session. But the calendar says April, not June when that fair is held, so something else was attracting people. There were trucks and trailers spread out everywhere around the huge fairgrounds. There was even open parking across the road on grass, and there were gobs of trucks and trailers parked there as well.
As it turns out, according to the large electronic sign board out front of the entrance, there were two sales in progress- one a pig sale and one a lamb sale. Driving through the fairgrounds, we confirmed that fact- I heard one auctioneer in a building on one side of the grounds calling for the next male hog to enter the ring. Then on the other side near a different building I heard a different auctioneer trying to get $1,800 bid on a lamb. I sure hope it was a good lamb.
What's more, the sign board said there were three more 4-H animal auctions scheduled the next day, including a lamb sale, a pig sale, and yes, a goat sale. More and more kids are buying and raising goats because they're small and supposedly easy to keep in small properties, and goat sales for 4-H animals are popping up in different places.
One word of caution- if you try to keep your goats in the backyard, cover the rose bushes. I have literally seen a multiflora rose brush, the bane of many pasture producers in Indiana, eaten to the ground by a small flock of goats.
Other sales have been going on during the past couple weeks. Stories of high-priced pigs, as high as $5,000 for a gilt and low-priced pigs, a Spot barrow legally 'stolen' for $100, are filtering in from the countryside.
Believe it or not, my family and I haven't been to a pig sale, or a lamb sale, at least not yet. We bought one gilt, but it was from a private individual. The rest we helped raise with a neighbor.
So why was my wife and I cruising a crowded fairgrounds in club animal sale season if we weren't going to the sale? First of all, we weren't going to the sale because we didn't want to be tempted to buy another animal we didn't need. Second and most importantly, we were there to pick up a ram and ewe lamb we purchased privately from a breeder who lives a long ways off. He brought several lambs already sold to the fairgrounds that night as a pickup point.\
There was just one problem. We came home with the ram, but not the ewe lamb. I was standing behind the trailer when I heard the herdsman and his assistant inside saying something like, "Oh no, we got the wrong lamb- we must have switched numbers.'
Oh, don't let it be ours, I thought to myself. We'd just come two hours to get two animals, and fought sale traffic when we weren't even going to a sale. And we didn't even have a 4-H'er with us- it was just mom and dad!
Sure enough, it was our lamb. 'Seems like we had a mix-up,' we were told. Somehow, our ewe turned into a wether, at least figuratively, not literally. The wether got a free ride to and from the fairgrounds, while our ewe sat at home.
We'll have her home before the magic date when animals must be purchased. Oh well, at least we didn't have to feed her for the last couple weeks.
And no, I don't recommend touring pig, lamb or goat sales as a cheap date! Trust me, it's not a romantic setting!