This female hedgehog was quite the attention-getter at the Critter Swap Saturday. (Johnson Publications photo)

Aaron Sinclair pets the 11-week-old Great Pyrenees puppy his family brought from Oleo Acres to sell at the Critter Swap Saturday. These dogs can grow to 120 pounds and are used to guard livestock. (Johnson Publications photo)

Successful Critter Swap held Saturday despite gray skies, drizzle

    Pete Snyder of Imperial wanted to start a critter swap event locally so people wouldn’t have to travel so far to show, sell, buy or trade their live critters.
    He had planned to have the first swap on April 14 but had to cancel because of a spring blizzard that shut down most of the activities in the area.
    Snyder’s first Critter Swap got its start successfully last Saturday even though the weather turned cool, overcast and drizzly.  
    Some of the owners who provided critters for the event were Mary Pate from McCook, who brought several rabbits for purchase.
    Ray Sinclair, of Oleo Acres in Champion, raises poultry, waterfowl and exotics.
    Sinclair and his family brought chickens, ducks, rabbits, pigeons, hedgehogs, an 11-week-old Great Pyrenees pup and some hatching eggs to the Critter Swap.
    Sinclair mentioned he has been raising hedgehogs for 14 years.
    George Jenkins is a rabbit breeder from North Platte who also attended the event.
    Jenkins raises several varieties of rabbits he has purchased from all over the U.S. during his travels to animal shows.
    He said he currently has around 150 rabbits and “buys their feed by the ton.”    
    “I actually got into raising rabbits for my granddaughter,” Jenkins said.
“I now try to carry a number of different breeds for purchase, especially for 4-H kids,” he continued.
    “Another reason I wanted to start a critter swap locally was to make animals available for kids in 4-H for their projects,” Snyder said.
    This was the common  consensus among the other breeders, they said.
    Snyder said he knows of one family who bought some rabbits for their daughter for her 4-H projects.
    The McCook and North Platte breeders said they were glad to have a place to bring their animals that was a little closer than many of the animal shows and auctions.

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