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

Recordkeeping on the Homestead, part one

Recordkeeping on the Homestead: Goats

Life seems to move faster during the spring, summer and fall than it does in the winter. From homesteading tasks (gardeningfencingrefencingbreedingkiddingworming, cleaning the chicken coop and on and on) and my part-time work-mostly-at-home job, my days are very full.

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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 it. Ok, let's be honest and just forget about the "probably" part.

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 "Phoenix 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. You can't figure out how much you spend on feed or how much hay you need to buy to last the winter if you don't keep records.

Planner for recordkeeping

I could color-code those entries in my planner by using another color of pen, but I just highlight the livestock entries with a yellow highlighter.

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.

Goat records notebook

I have a notebook for the goats which holds registration papers and several forms for each goat.

You can download these forms for free further down in this post. These are pdf forms that can be printed out or saved to your computer. Feel free to print as many as you need for your own use. I'm not talented in the graphics department so they are not awesome-looking or cute, but they serve their purpose: keeping track of things that need to be kept track of.

(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. And if you know someone who would benefit from using them, please send them here to this post so they can download them too.)

Goat ID form

First is the goat's ID form, with spaces for purchase information, color, pedigree, etc., and a place to add a photo. I have one of these forms for each of my goats.

Goat medical record printable

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

This medical record form isn't goat-specific so you can use it for dogs, cats, horses or any other animal you might have.

I bought some stickers of various animals and put the appropriate sticker in the top right corner of the page. That's totally optional though. It just helps me know at a glance if that page is for a cat, dog, goat, etc.

Doe kidding record printable

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 (or not). I use one line for each kid, rather than one line per year.

Buck's progeny printable

Next is the Record of Progeny form for each of my bucks. 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 might want to make.

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 weekly 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 arrives, I write 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 this year.

In past years I've done it both ways: I've had them all kid at once, and I've 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.

FREE printable goat forms

Click here to get your FREE goat record printables.

Here are a few additional pages you might want to print out for your notebook. Please note that I did not create these, and that these items are copyrighted by their creators. Check their terms and conditions at their websites.

I print out a weight chart such as this one from Goat Connection for each goat. When I use my dressmaker's tape to measure the goat, I circle the corresponding weight on the chart and jot down the date next to it.

It's important to know approximately how much your goat weighs so you can give the correct dose of medication or wormer when needed. It can be helpful to weight-tape even adult goats several times a year, as their weight will fluctuate with the seasons, kidding, and lactation.

Goat with twin kids

I don't keep detailed records of how much milk my does produce. I milk once a day, in the morning, and the kids nurse all day long, so the amount of milk in the pail isn't always the same. Rather than weigh each doe's milk in pounds, I measure in quart jars, so I know that a doe is producing "about two quarts" or so. However, if you prefer to keep better track of things than I do, you'll probably love this Milk Production Record Sheet from MigMog Acres.

Here is an article describing how, and a diagram showing where to give injections to goats, from Raising Goats for Dummies (affiliate link).

Click here to get your free goat record printables.

Related Posts:
Part Two: 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

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

You'll find Part Two of this Homestead Recordkeeping series here.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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Erin Blegen said...

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!!


Monica said...

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!

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

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

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

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

Diane Barnard said...

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

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

Wishing you success, Diane!

lisa lynn said...

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

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

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

Unknown said...

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.

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

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.

Unknown said...

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

JES said...

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 :)

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

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.

Heather said...

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

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

Thank you, Heather!

Unknown said...

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!

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

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

Unknown said...

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