Recordkeeping on the Homestead: Goat Records (including free printables!)

Goats behind a wire fence

Keeping records on your homestead goats is important. These record keeping tips will help you keep track of all the information you need on your goats, and how to organize your goat's important paperwork.

Recordkeeping on the Homestead: Goats

Even if you have just two goats, keeping records is important.

If you have more animals - a small goat herd, rabbits, chickens, etc. - the need for record keeping is multiplied, as well as the amount of information you need to keep.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase I might earn a small commission, but it doesn't affect the price you pay. Read my disclosure here for more info.

But record-keeping depends on, you know, keeping records. If I don't write something down, I will probably forget it.

Ok, let's be honest and just forget about the "probably" part. I will forget. But I've figured out what works for me, and I'm here to help you figure it out too.

Types of livestock records

Livestock records fall roughly into 5 categories: 

  • Identification - information about a particular animal such as date of birth, description, sire and dam, etc.
  • Health - vaccination information such as type given, date and dosage, illness, deworming, hoof trimming, injuries and how they were treated.
  • Production - including how much milk a goat produces.
  • Performance - breeding dates, kidding dates, the number and quality of the kids produced.
  • Feed records - how much an animal is fed, including hay, grain and supplements. This information is directly related to your animal's performance and production, and can help you fine-tune your livestock management as well as your homestead goals.

Paper vs digital record keeping systems

The simplest way to keep goat records is on paper. This basic method is available to all goat owners and is perfect for the homesteader who owns just a few goats as well as those with larger herds.

Animal records can also be kept using specialized software. These digital records are usually kept by large enterprises such as commercial dairies.

How I keep records for my goats

Like most small producers, I keep paper records. My record keeping system uses forms that I've designed, kept in a 3-ring notebook. 

My goat binder holds all of the forms, sheets, registration papers, receipts and more in one safe and convenient place. 

However, I don't have an office in my barn, or carry my goat notebook outside. It stays safely inside the house, and I need to bring information from the barn to my notebook.

I tried carrying a small spiral notebook in my back pocket, but it didn't work well for me. I kept losing my pen, and I hated that the papers got bent up and dirty. I dropped the whole thing in a water trough once.

I tried, really I did, but it just wasn't working. (Perhaps it will for you, but it didn't for me.)

So my current method is this: when noteworthy things happen outside, I write quick notes on my phone, such as "Phoenix bred," "goats dewormed," "gave CDT shots on 5/22."

Typing notes on a phone is just one way to record short-term information. 

The speech-to-text app is wonderful when it's too sunny to see the phone screen. Sometimes taking a photo with your phone is a good-enough reminder of what needs to be recorded. Even better is a quick video in which you record your notes, thoughts or reminders.

As soon as I go back indoors, I transfer those notes to my planner or directly into my goat binder. 

3-ring binder with a black and white goat on the cover.

In the front of the binder, there is a calendar page for each month. I transfer the notes I made on my phone onto the day's square on the calendar - or onto a daily page in a planner. You can read more about using a planner to keep homestead records in this post. 

Which is better, a monthly calendar page or a daily planner? That depends on you - how many things you need to keep track of, how many animals you have, and most of all, how your brain works. Use the method that works for you!

I also write down farrier and vet appointments on the calendar pages, plus trips to the feed store and when we buy hay. You can't figure out how much you spend on feed or how much hay you need to buy to last next winter if you don't know how much you spent this year. 

And you won't know that unless you keep records!

No matter which method you use, a monthly calendar page or a daily or weekly planner, eventually these pages can get a little chaotic and it takes longer to find the information you need. 

The solution to this is to regularly schedule a day - at least once a month, but preferably more often - to sit down with your notebook and transfer the "data" from the calendar or planner pages to the proper forms.

Try to do this regularly, and not let so much time go by that you've forgotten what that scribbled note meant.

Information to keep track of 

  • Each goat's individual information and pedigree
  • Medical/health records, including vaccinations and hoof trimming
  • When a doe was bred, the expected kidding date, the date she actually kidded, number and gender of the babies, and whether she is an excellent mother or if you had any problems with her
  • How many goat babies a buck sired in a year's time
  • Hay and feed records, what brand/kind of grain, supplements, and loose minerals you purchase
  • Income and expenses, and more

Breeding season records

When breeding season arrives, write down the dates when your female goats were bred and use this due date calculator to figure out they are due to give birth. 

Oops! It happens to nearly all of us who own goats - occasionally a buck gets in the pen with the females when he isn't supposed to be there. If and when that happens, that date goes in my goat binder too, just in case.

It might end up being an "oops" breeding and I want to know when any babies might be due.

Here's how I plan breeding season.

Goat binder supplies

This goat record keeping system uses simple office supplies that you can purchase just about anywhere. 

I use a 3-ring view binder, with a clear pocket on the front to hold a cover page, but a less expensive binder can also be used.

I also use the following:

  • Sheet protectors to hold registration papers and other registry papers (so they don't have to be hole-punched)
  • Index dividers - this set of 12 tabbed index dividers might be enough for your herd. If you have more goats, you might purchase several sets of 12 dividers, or perhaps this set of 31 divider tabs would be better.
  • 3-hole punch to punch the forms 
  • Printable goat record-keeping forms - keep reading to learn how you can download four of the forms for FREE.
  • a monthly calendar, such as the 12-month calendar in my Goat Record Sheets pack.

Goat printable forms

You can download four of these goat record keeping forms for free further down in this post. These are pdf forms that can be printed out or saved to your computer.

If you'd like the additional forms I've designed as well, you can check out my Goat Record Sheet pack down below, or here in my shop.

Graphic of goat recordkeeping forms on a green background

Four FREE printable forms for you

Get off to a great start with these four free forms, which you can download further down in this post. They aren't cute or fancy, but they serve their purpose: keeping track of things that need to be kept track of.

First is the goat ID form, with spaces for purchase information, color, pedigree and so on.

The second page is the medical record form. Use this one to note the date kids were born, when they were disbudded and by whom, when vaccines were given, when the goat was dewormed, and any injuries or illnesses and how they were treated.

Fill out a kidding record page for each of your does. This page keeps track of the date the doe was bred, when she kidded, and how many kids she had.

This form will help you see if a doe has a pattern of kidding a few days early or a few days late, or if she's had any problems with kidding in the past. 

You can also write down if you need to milk out her very thick colostrum so her kids can nurse more easily, or that she's an outstanding mother (or not).

Use one line on this form for each kid, rather than one line per year.

Next is the Record of Progeny form. Use one sheet per buck to record which does he was bred to each year, how many buck and doe kids were born, and any other notes you want to keep.

For many years I only had one buck at a time, replacing him after several years so I could breed the doe kids I'd kept to an unrelated buck. It was easy to remember who sired which doe at first.

Now that so many years have passed, and I've owned quite a few bucks, it's harder to remember. If I notice something wonderful in a goat after a few years - like a wonderfully-soft, easy-to-milk udder - it's easy to check this form and compare the doe to her half-sisters. 

Likewise, if a genetic flaw shows up, I can keep an eye on the goats that are related.

These four forms are free for you to download and use. You may print as many copies as you need for your own personal use. Keep reading for the download link.

Brown and white Nubian goat with her twin kids

Even more forms in my Goat Records Pack

If you'd like even more forms, you'll find the perfect companion for your free printables in my Goat Record Sheets pack, which includes over 25 forms and reference sheets to print out PLUS a 12-month undated monthly calendar to keep track of all-the-goat-things and directions for using each form.

The Goat Record Sheets pack is an instant download, and you may print as many copies as you need for your own personal use. 

Download your 4 free printable goat record keeping forms

These forms are copyrighted. They are free for your personal use, but do not sell them or include them in a body of work that you sell. And if you know someone who would benefit from using them, please send them here to this post so they can download them too.

Graphic of goat record-keeping forms

Please note that sometimes it takes an hour or so to receive the email with the link to the free printables. Please check your junk and spam folders... and if it isn't there, please be patient for a bit. But if you still don't receive it, please contact me here and let me know! Thank you!

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Goat record-keeping with free printable forms - from Oak Hill Homestead

As a goat lover and a homestead gardener, I'm excited to also share my gardening tips with you - from planting seeds to enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor! You can find my gardening advice and insights right here, so let's dig in and cultivate some fresh, delicious produce together.

Related Posts:
Recordkeeping on the Homestead
10 Must-Have Items for Goatkeepers
How Changing My Milking Routine Changed My Life
What's in My Goat First-Aid Kit


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