January 7, 2015

Recordkeeping on the Homestead, Part One

Life seems to move faster during the spring, summer and fall than it does in the winter. From homesteading tasks (gardening, fencing, refencing, breeding, kidding, worming, searching for missing horses), the things I love to do whenever I can fit them in (walking in the woods with my camera, riding my horse Ella), and my part-time work-mostly-at-home job, my days are very full.

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.)

First is the goat's ID form, with spaces for purchase information, color, pedigree, etc. I added digital photos before I printed the forms. I have one of these forms for each of my goats.

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.


This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops 
including the Homestead Blog Hop.


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
 Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email


  1. I've also started off the year keeping good records! Egg count, rabbit breeding charts, canning, etc- it's all in the works. Feels great to be organized right off the bat. When I get goats in the spring, I'll definitely be putting your charts to work- thank you!!


  2. This is also one of my goals for the new year! I'm trying to keep track of goat happenings, and eggs, and the cost of everything associated and it gets hectic in a hurry! I too have noticed the ease of using my phone to jot things down, now I guess I need to actually get some things written in ink! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:39 PM

    Erin, you're welcome. I'm glad the forms will be helpful. Keep up the good recordkeeping work!

  4. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:41 PM

    Monica, that's a good goal. You're so right, it can get overwhelming really quickly. Nothing works better than paper. :-)

  5. Proper record keeping is my downfall. I need to make some forms like yours for my sheep.

  6. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead2:48 PM

    Wishing you success, Diane!

  7. Great ideas, Kathi! I like the idea of using your phone to take notes so you can write it down when you get inside. :)

  8. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead1:05 PM

    Thank you, Lisa. My memory isn't what it used to be!

  9. My memory is not as good as it once was! Try to remember to write it down when I get to the house doesn't work so well anymore. I also try to note about what time of the day each goat kids...I have found that many times they will kid about the same time each year. Not always, but gives you some idea.

  10. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead9:41 PM

    That's true, Marilyn. It's not something I've really kept track of but I've noticed that it can be a pattern. I've also been told that time of kidding can also depend on when you feed them.

  11. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop. Hope to see you again this week! :)

  12. Some great ideas here! It would be wonderful if we starting writing some of this stuff down because half of our dinner conversations are "who was the father of who????" Its a soap opera really!

    Thanks for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

  13. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead5:46 PM

    Jes, don't let it get away from you for too much longer. :-) Write down those dinner conversations while you remember.

    The cats are the ones I don't know about; being cats, it's hard to know who fathered who. Sometimes I have a suspicion, a kitten might have white markings or long hair, but I've never written it down. All I know is that the current outside cats are descended from one longhaired female we brought home from a farm auction ten years ago, but I wish I cold remember the names of the mothers and fathers along the way.

  14. Thanks for adding this to From The Farm...hands down, this was my favorite this week!

  15. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead7:40 PM

    Thank you, Heather!

  16. Wow lady, you are one organized woman! The phone idea is awesome. I always have mine on me, but never thought to use it this way! Thanks for sharing at the (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog hop!

  17. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead10:01 PM

    Thank you, Mindie. Cell phones are awesome and definitely multifunctional.

  18. Great post, great ideas, thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings


Thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll leave a comment - I would love to hear from you. If you wish to email me instead, please click here. Thank you!

Please note that anonymous comments are usually deleted unread because of the high amount of spam. Instead of commenting anonymously, consider choosing the NAME/URL option - just fill in your name, leaving a URL is optional.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...