Midwest Alternative Livestock

These Himalayan rabbits were sold last year at the Midwest Alternative Livestock auction in New Salem, ND.

NEW SALEM, N.D. – Yakety Yak. Yakety Yak.

Maybe there’ll be yaks at the Midwest Alternative Livestock auction, and maybe there won’t – probably not.

But there will be all kinds of alternative livestock available for sale, from rabbits and ducks, to llamas and donkeys.

Ranchers and others from a four-state area attend the annual auction at the fairgrounds in New Salem right under the largest milk cow in the world, “Salem Sue.”

The auction starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 6. There will also be another alternative livestock auction in the fall.

There will be all sorts of livestock for farms or rural yards, including birds of all kinds, ducks, Guinea fowl, peacocks, chickens, as well as bigger livestock, such as cattle, goats, llamas, sheep and donkeys.

Animals are both miniature and regular-sized.

“It is a lot of fun for us. I love watching the faces on people when they buy their Himalayan rabbit or fainting goat,” said Ben Gerving. “Last year, we even had a Braunvieh bull.”

Ben and his wife, Janet have hosted the annual action for the last several years.

“We started it because no one else was doing it, and many people were looking for different animals to raise at their ranches or for their 4-H and FFA kids to raise and show,” Ben said.

Many people consign birds and animals they have and want to sell. There is a fee for doing that.

“Some come to buy exotic birds or even Longhorns (cattle),” he said. “Many want a peacock to raise for its beauty.”

In addition to the usual candidates, this year the auction will have some Belted Galloway, a smaller breed of cattle.

What is the most unusual animal the auction has ever sold?

“We sold some hedgehogs once, and some sugar gliders,” Ben said. Sugar gliders, like tiny squirrels, require specialized care, as do hedgehogs.

The Gervings ranch 21 miles north of New Salem where they operate a commercial Hereford business and have some Galloway cattle, as well.

“Everyone is welcome to come. It will be a lot of fun for everyone,” Ben added.

There is a $5 gate fee.