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Buying at Livestock Auctions

Buying at livestock auctions can be risky, but also a tempting way to try to find the perfect animal for you at a great bargain. Most reputable livestock dealers would strongly discourage you from buying at livestock auctions. If you are determined to try your luck, however, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of success. As with any major purchase, you need to be sure to do your homework and make important decisions prior to attending the auction. It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of bidding, or to console yourself for losing out by bidding on an animal you might not otherwise choose.

Always make sure you have done any research you can on the breeds of animals you are considering buying at livestock auctions. Remember that the auctioneer’s job is to sell animals, not ensure you get a good, solid, healthy animal. This is definitely a case where “buyer beware” is very important advice. The more you know about the typical health, common problems, and growth or training issues of a particular breed of animal, the better chance you have of seeing through the seller’s hype and correctly assessing an animal.

Be aware that many livestock auctions have no requirements regarding vaccinations or other testing of animals that are being sold. You are getting the livestock you buy “as is,” which could be disastrous if the animal you bring back to your herd is sick or infected with parasites. Have a specific quarantine plan in place before bringing home any animal you buy at a livestock auction.

Buying at livestock auctions can be a way to find a “diamond in the rough” when it comes to new stock. It can also, however, be a recipe for disaster. Keep in mind that you know nothing about the animal except what you are seeing in front of you, and should take anything you are being told about the animal with a grain of salt. There are no returns when you are buying at livestock auctions, so bid carefully. Keep in mind that if something seems like it is too good a deal to pass up, there could be a good reason for that. Set a budget before attending the auction and stick to it. Refrain from making impulsive decisions that you may later regret. If you are not extremely familiar with the animals on which you are bidding, consider taking along someone who is. Although buying at livestock auctions is always a risky proposition, keeping these tips in mind can be helpful.

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