You can read Part One of this series here.
The backbone of my livestock recordkeeping system is writing everything down. Since I can't take my notebooks outdoors with me I type notes on my phone when I'm outside, then write them down in my weekly planner when I get back indoors. Later on I transfer those notes to my livestock notebooks.
Last year I used this spiral-bound planner; this year I'm trying a slightly larger ring-bound planner with 5.5"x8.5" paper. Both use "week on two pages" - half of the week is on the left page and the other half is on the right page, so that I can see the entire week when the planner is open. I write my notes on the weekly pages, with reminders and follow-ups written on the monthly calendar pages, which is also where I write my personal appointments, upcoming birthdays and so on.
Back when we had a barn, I had a dry erase board on the wall in my feed stall. On it I wrote when I needed to follow-up on certain things such as a second vaccination or a follow-up worming. I'd write the dose amount for supplements according to a goat's or a horse's weight, and the date of the farrier's next visit. Because it was magnetic it stuck to the metal wall of the pole barn and was very handy.
Now I write those follow-up dates in my weekly planner so I won't forget them: when Rosie needs her next puppy shot, the horses' next worming, and when the farrier is due. I also write down things I might need to refer to later such as where we bought hay, how much it cost and the farmer's phone number, when I sold a goat kid, and when I gave the horses a new protein tub. There is also a reminder to get the dogs' rabies shots in March.
When I have time, I transfer these notes from my planner into my livestock notebooks. You might say that the notebooks are the "final resting place" for information.
I have a notebook for my horses, just like the one I have for my goats. It holds their Coggins tests results for equine infectious anemia and the registration papers for the animals that are registered. These papers are kept in page protectors, with the registration papers in front and the Coggins test on the back side of the page protector. I can grab this packet easily to take with me on a trail ride or to a show, etc.
|Coggins test paper|
I use the same health record form that I use for the goats to keep track of the horses' shots, worming, dental work, and any injuries or problems. I don't put farrier visits on this form; if I wrote down the six-or-so visits per year by the farrier the page would fill up very quickly. I could have a separate page for farrier visits only, but I just keep track of them in my planner.
Also in each horse's section I have photos of the horse from each side, the front and the back. If the horse has an identifying mark such as a brand or a scar, I take a photo of that. I also have a picture of the horse with me (both of us in the photo) to help establish ownership should it be needed. I've included a copy of my breed association membership card and the information on our roadside assistance policy (we use Coach-Net, another choice is USRider).
In the back of the horse notebook are sections for the cats and dogs, where I keep receipts for veterinary visits, identification photos, the papers showing that they've been spayed or neutered and proof of rabies shots. The health record form works well for the dogs and cats too.
The chickens have a record book of their own, although I'm not very good at staying current with that one. Hatchery receipts, feed ingredients, and monthly egg counts are things I've kept track of in the past. When we order chicks this spring I'll start keeping records again.
Do you keep records on your garden and/or livestock? What methods do you use?
Recordkeeping on the Homestead, Part One
DIY Herb Field Guide
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