Need to add to your herd or want to put another horse in your barn? Instead of finding a breeder and paying top dollar, why not acquire your new animal at an auction -- saving a creature's life and saving a ton of money! Buying livestock at auction can be a tricky business, since the animals that people are ready to auction off often have defects or are sickly, but if you know what you're doing, you can walk away with an amazing deal.
You need to do some preparation work ahead of time. First, you need to be absolutely certain that you have the room to house the animal. Also, when you head over to the auction house, you need to bring a trailer to haul the animal in, unless you plan on leading it home on foot. Make sure the trailer is clean and ready to carry an animal (or multiple, depending on your plans to buy). Know what you're looking for before you even head off to the auction house, so you're not overwhelmed by the selection.
Don't go right when the auctions are about to start -- give yourself some time to check out the animals ahead of time. If this is your first livestock purchase, you'll want to speak with a vet or get an authoritative book on what you should watch out for, in each type of animal you're planning to buy. If you're an experienced livestock buyer, pay close attention to the signs of an unhealthy or unruly animal as you're perusing the paddocks.
Speak to the owner or an auctioneer about the animals' health. Keep in mind that you're talking to the seller about their product, which will not always yield the most trustworthy results, but if your questions are direct and polite, you may get the info you need. Ask about past illness history, breeding lines, and any current problems the animal seems to be having.
When you win an auction, you're ready to make your payment and drive your new livestock home! But you don't just want to release it into a pen with the rest of your animals, as you have no idea where it has been or what diseases it has come in contact with. Put your new acquisitions in a quarantine area, and watch them for a set period to make sure they don't fall sick and then infect the rest of your herd or group.
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