THE annual Kerang Poultry Auction has again smashed records, with an extraordinary 650 lots sold at Alexandra Park on Monday.
The Kerang and District Agricultural Society's annual auction featured 127 small birds, 509 larger birds and 14 sundries, breaking the previous record of 546 lots set in 2015.
The highest price was $180 paid for a peacock belonging to Kylie Heffer of Murrabit, while Boort's Cindy Brown boasted the second highest price, receiving $150 for a pair of Chinese geese.
Society president and auctioneer Geoff Davey said the auction also attracted a record number of vendors, as well as a crowd of more than 500.
"We had 87 vendors compared with the 50 to 60 we normally get, and we had four meat buyers, which is more than we've ever had," he said.
"Sellers came from all over, including from South Australia, the Western District and a heck of a lot from the Goulburn Valley.
"We were right on the limit of what we could handle outside without getting more cages, although we could have handled more smaller birds."
The auction began at 10.30am and concluded at 3pm, with Mr Davey working hard to get through the huge listing.
"We normally sell about 100 lots an hour, but this year we had to go a lot faster and averaged 144 an hour," he said.
"The prices were pretty solid, with quality selling well as always and the rubbish probably selling a bit better than it usually does; there were quite a few sales of $100 to $120 for a pair of chooks, which is very good money."
Local resident Paul Battle and his wife Sharon purchased several budgies and a parrot at the auction, and were also in the market for hens.
"We have an assortment of birds at home, and we want to restock our hens because the ones we've got are burnt out," Mr Battle said.
The couple has attended the auction annually since relocating from Melbourne to Kerang in 2011.
"I think the prices here are reasonable; you wouldn't want to go to a pet shop and pay for them," Mr Battle said.
Mr Davey said the auction was an important fundraiser for the society, particularly when the Kerang Show was running at a loss.
"We charge $4 a pen, so the auction and the deb ball are really carrying the show at the moment," he said.
"We don't charge a commission, which is another reason people travel so far, because a lot of other places charge a 20 to 25 per cent commission, which can be a fair slice out of the proceeds."
Mr Davey said one unsavoury incident put a dampener on what was otherwise a very successful day.
"The day was marred a bit by one incident where we had three peacocks stolen, which had already sold for $80 each, so that cost the society $240," he said.
"It's very disappointing because something like that hasn't happened for a few years now."