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Business Is Booming At Exotic Livestock Auction
After being in the livestock auction business for more than 50 years, the Clay Center Livestock Sale Barn in Kansas decided to mix it up and add “alternative animal” sales 3 years ago.
“We’ve had everything from camels to lemurs to baby African porcupines,” notes co-owner Mitch Langvardt.
The most common “exotics” are unusual domestic breeds such as Highlander cattle, rare poultry, chinchilla rabbits, and buffalo.
“A lot of people who have livestock want a fun animal they can keep on the farm that co-exists with other animals,” Langvardt says. So the sale attracts a different crowd than the sale barn’s regular auctions, and the extra sales diversify the business and add income.
He notes that it has been a learning process, and he contacts state and federal veterinarians to find out regulations for different animals. Most can cross state lines, but the lemur, for example, had to be born in Kansas in order to be sold at the Kansas auction.
Alternative or exotic animal sales are held in several locations across the country, and buyers travel from all over when they are interested in selling or buying animals.
“A female camel brought in $8,000, the highest sale price we’ve had,” Langvardt says, adding that a less exotic bottle-baby mini donkey sold for $4,000.
The Coronavirus pushed back the 2020 April auction to June and bidders were able to bid through online auction access. That benefits sellers because more people see their animals.
On Saturday, equipment and caged animals are sold. Sunday sales include miscellaneous items, hoof stock and exotics.
“There is an admission fee because otherwise we would get inundated with people. That’s another reason we do an online version because of space,” Langvardt says.
The sales barn got a lot of attention with its first auction that included camels, water buffalos and zebras. Each auction is different; the first baby monkey was on the latest auction in October, for example.
The variety keeps it interesting, but also challenging.
Clay Center holds two alternative animal auctions a year, and the next auction will be held sometime in April 2021. Check Facebook for more information.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Clay Center Alternative Animal Sales, 1774 Meadowlark Rd., Clay Center, Kan. 67432 (ph 785 761-5814; Facebook: Clay Center Livestock Alternative Animal Sale).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #6