COCHRAN -- On Saturday afternoon, Wayne Headley and Justin Crosby herded their future dinner onto the back of a pickup truck.
The Elko neighbors have teamed up to start raising goats, not to sell or show, but for personal consumption. They like the idea of not having to rely on a grocery store for everything they eat.
It makes you feel more self-sufficient, Crosby said, and goats are delicious.
They were among about 80 buyers at the Mid-Georgia Goat & Chicken Auction held in Cochran the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Headley and Crosby bought four baby boer goats, which will double the size of their current herd. They plan to breed them in the spring.
Frankie Howell, who owns the auction and is the auctioneer, said over 100 buyers come when the weather is good. He said buyers are a mix of people who buy large numbers of animals for slaughter, as well as people who like to raise their own food. He has particularly seen an increase in the number of people wanting to have a few chickens for egg production.
Weve got a lot of good people who come to us regularly, he said.
There are actually several small animal auctions in Middle Georgia. Melba Strickland and her husband operate a similar auction in Reynolds. She was at the Cochran auction buying goats for her husband, who sells the meat to an Indian store in Atlanta.
Most grocery stores dont sell goat meat, but there is a large demand for it, Stickland said.
Goat meat to much of the world is like chicken to Americans, and ethnic populations here will readily buy it. The problem is, Strickland said, there arent a lot of people raising goats because it can be more difficult than people think. Meat goats are susceptible to internal parasites, and if growers arent diligent they can easily end up with a pen full of dead goats, she said. Predators can also be a problem.
A lot of people just get frustrated and quit, she said.
She bought 20 goats for her husband Saturday, ranging in price from $30 to $172. Quality boer goats were selling for about $150.
Goats and chickens are far from the only animals sold at the auction. For about $200, a buyer could have come away with a decent petting zoo.
The auction included rabbits, geese, ducks, peacocks, turkeys and roosters.
Howell said the auction has been around for years, although it has closed for some of that time. He bought it and reopened it in April. He said its something of social event, and many people just come to watch.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.