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21 birds raised by 4-H’ers are sold at first turkey auction

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Lynn Hill served as auctioneer Saturday during the first ever turkey auction, featuring birds raised by 4-H’ers. The 21 turkeys sold for a combined $1,585. Skip Lear, left, helped Hill with the auction.

Claudia Dreschel of Holley created a display at the auction, showing pictures of herself with her turkeys.

KNOWLESVILLE – The debut turkey auction by the Orleans County 4-H program resulted in $1,585 in sales for 21 turkeys, and many happy buyers who will have locally raised meat for Thanksgiving.

Twelve 4-H’ers raised the turkeys over four months. The birds at the auction ranged from 17 to 34 pounds. They all sold for at least $60 with three at $100 or more.

The 4-H Market Auction Committee pushed to start the auction this year. The committee hoped the turkeys would sell for an average of $75. The average price on Saturday: $75.48.

The 4-H program would like to make the turkey auction an annual tradition, and would like to see more bidders buy turkeys from local 4-H’ers.

Alan and Guin Panek of Albion bought three turkeys at the auction. They will have 60 people over for Thanksgiving.

“We wanted to support the 4-H program,” said Mrs. Panek, a former 4-H educator. “We know these turkeys are locally raised, they’re healthy and fresh.”

The Paneks bid the highest amount at the auction, $150 for a 34-pound turkey raised by Nicole Mrzywka of Holley.

Dona Scharping, in front of Lynn Hill, holds up a yellow card to show she is bidding on a turkey. She bought one for $65 that was raised by Zachary Moore of Albion.

The Orleans County Fair Committee bought one of the turkeys to be donated to a local food pantry. Barb Kurzowski also bought a turkey and donated it a food pantry.

Many of the 4-H’ers have been raising animals for years, but typically they are larger livestock.

“They’re really nice when they are babies,” Janie Schutz, 17, of Waterport said about the turkeys.

But birds became more aggressive as they get older. She and her sister Rylie Lear, 13, prefer working with beef cattle.

“You bond more with your cows than your turkeys,” Schutz said.

The 4-H’ers fed the turkeys at least 2 pounds of a grain-based feed a day. They needed lots of water and clean conditions.

Claudia Dreschel, 14, of Holley and her brother Andrew raised eight turkeys, with four sold at the auction. They estimated it cost $50 in feed for each turkey over four months.

“It’s definitely been a learning experience,” Claudia said. “They eat a lot and they can make a mess very fast.”

Guin and Alan Panek of Albion bid on a turkey during the auction on Saturday. They bought three birds, including the highest bid of the night, $150 for a turkey raised by Nicole Mrzywka of Holley.