Keisha, the Bishops’ dog, kept a close eye over the rabbits and other livestock featured at Sunday’s Poultry Swap on New Cal Rabbit Farm. Raven Nyman photo.

South Cariboo poultry swap hopes to become an annual event

The Cariboo Central Interior Poultry Producers Association held its first Poultry Swap on Sept. 15

The Cariboo Central Interior Poultry Producers Association (CCIPPA) held its first Poultry Swap on Sunday, Sept. 15 and hopes to return next year with better weather and hopefully, a second swap date.

Wylie Bystedt, president of the CCIPPA, explained that Sunday’s Poultry Swap took the form of a tail-gate at the New Cal Rabbit Farm, located just a few minutes south of 100 Mile House off Highway 97.

“The idea of the swap is that people can bring their poultry and small livestock,” said Bystedt, noting that those who attended bought, exchanged and had the opportunity to talk, too.

For a first event, Bystedt said things were working well and a few individuals had even stopped by off the highway.

“It’s our first time and you know, the weather hasn’t been great today, so we really weren’t sure what to expect, but everyone seems to have sold a couple so it’s a start.”

Margaret and Stephen Bishop own New Cal Rabbit Farm and Margaret is a director on the CCIPPA board.The farm also sells feed and supplies, which made it the perfect location to host the Poultry Swap, said Bystedt.

“We can control it here and make sure that the animals are in good condition. It’s okay starting small as long as it’s done right. It gives us something to build from.”

Holding swaps at the farm gives the organizers the ability to control the quality of the animals coming in and also presents an opportunity for livestock owners to chat with the people who may be considering buying livestock.

“If they need feed or supplies, then we’re able to provide that here so that we know that everything’s starting off in a good situation,” explained Bystedt. “That’s important as well because we’re trying to encourage good animal management, so by having it here where we know that we’ve got supplies and services, it really makes a difference.”

Since its start at 10 a.m., Bystedt said customers had been coming and going.

“It’s been good. We really had no idea what to expect. It’s late in the season. You don’t necessarily want to be hatching out chicks this close to winter.”

As expected, the Poultry Swap was largely made up of extra stock and adult birds. However, there were also rabbits, potbelly pigs, turkeys, ducks, and pullets at the event. Pullets are young hens that haven’t started laying eggs, Bystedt explained.

“Chickens are good gateway livestock,” she added with a laugh.

Margaret Byron was one of the vendors at the Poultry Swap and sold all her pullets on Sunday. Byron is new to the area and settled in Bridge Lake, but she has been raising chickens for more than 30 years. She has attended other livestock swaps on Vancouver Island and elsewhere, but never in the South Cariboo.

Byron thinks an annual swap would be viable and suggested having at least two meets a year.

Bystedt and the Bishops are considering making the event an annual one after all.

“By the response that we’re getting, I think we will,” said Stephen Bishop. “We’ll probably do maybe two. One in the spring and one in the fall.”

Bishop is willing to host the event at his property again, even though a few of the scheduled vendors didn’t make it to the swap because of inclement weather. It didn’t rain during Sunday’s swap, but 100 Mile House was quite windy and cold.

Nonetheless, five vendors showed up to the event. Bishop wasn’t overly impressed with the turnout but understood that poor weather may have played a role.

Darlene Tindale of Forest Grove did not sell any of her Muscovy ducks at the swap, but was still happy to be at the event, which she also brought three roosters to attend.

Despite not making any sales at the event itself, Tindale was able to organize a small livestock trade of her own with another individual who she connected with after hearing about Sunday’s event.

On Saturday, Sept. 14 an informational workshop was held at the Community Hall in Lone Butte called Poultry 101. About ten people registered for that learning opportunity and most of them attended the Poultry Swap the following day.

Having the swap on Sunday was a great way for those interested in poultry and livestock to continue learning, making connections, and collecting information, said Bystedt.

Some of the swap vendors were looking to increase or decrease their numbers for the winter, said Bystedt, and some visitors were hoping to gain more knowledge on how to pursue a career in agriculture.

Bystedt said that the association is trying to fill gaps in the community for those who are interested in gaining the knowledge required to pursue their poultry-related interests.

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