In spite of not having enough hours in my day, keeping records on my livestock is important to me. But record-keeping depends on, you know, keeping records. If I don't write something down, I will probably forget. I tried carrying a small spiral notebook in my pocket, but it didn't work well for me - I kept losing my pen, and I hated that the papers got worn and bent up and dirty; I'm obsessive that way. I tried, really I did, but it just wasn't working.
So my current method is this: when noteworthy things happen outside, I write quick notes on my phone, such as "Ziva bred," "goats wormed," "gave CDT shots." The speech-to-text app is wonderful when it's too sunny to see the phone screen, and sometimes taking a photo with my phone is a good-enough reminder. When I get back indoors, I write these notes in my weekly planner. I also write down farrier and vet appointments, trips to the feed store and when we buy hay.
I could color-code those entries by using another color of pen, but I just highlight the livestock entries in yellow.
Then in the winter, when life slows down a bit and I spend more time indoors than out, I sit down and transfer all of these notes to their appropriate places in my livestock notebooks. Since they are highlighted, they are easy to spot in my planner.
I have a notebook for the goats which holds registration papers and several forms for each goat.
I shared my printable goat forms in a post earlier this year. These are pdf forms and can be printed out or saved to your computer. Feel free to print as many as you need. (The forms are copyrighted; they are free for your personal use, but please do not sell them or include them in a body of work that you sell. If you want to share them, please direct folks to this post instead of directly to the download link. Thank you.)
The second page is the medical record form. This is where I write down when the goats were wormed, shots were given, and any other health-related information that comes up during the year. (This form isn't goat-specific, I use it for all of my livestock and pets.)
I also have a kidding record for each of my does. This page keeps track of the date the doe was bred, when she kidded, how many kids she had and when, whether or not she had any problems with the delivery. This form helps me see that a doe might have a pattern of kidding a few days early or a few days late. I also write down whether I needed to milk out her thick colostrum so her kids could nurse more easily, or that she's an outstanding mother.
I have a Record of Progeny form to use for my buck where I list all of his kids each year.
It happens to nearly all of us who own goats: occasionally a buck gets in the doe pen when he isn't supposed to be there. If and when that happens, that date goes in my planner too. It might end up being an "oops" breeding and I want to know when any resulting kids might be due.
When breeding season arrived, I wrote down the dates when my does were bred and used this due date calculator to find out their due dates, which range from March 12 to March 19. In past years I've done it both ways: had them kid all at once, and had kidding season strung out over several weeks and even months - I much prefer to have them all due at once, even though it can get pretty crazy for a week or so. That's when I'm most thankful for my planner and my quick and easy method of record-keeping.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a