A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 30, 2007

Just for the Record

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, camelids, General — alpacalady @ 7:25 am

In an effort to continue to catch up on various tasks I spent the weekend entering data into our herd record computer software.  It is a task that I prefer to do weekly, but it just takes a spate of back to back shows, seminars, shearing, vacations and other such distractions and before I know it there is a ton of data entry to do.

The good thing is that we have good and current records on all of the alpacas at the farm by virtue of our barn book.  The barn book is actually a Day-Timer kept in a sturdy three ring binder (I like the Day-Timer page format and I also like the reminder that they send me every year to put in my order for next year, it’s one less thing to think about!).  Everything that happens with regards to the alpacas is logged into the barn book.  Weights, breeding records, medications, routine tasks such as toe nail trimming, observations on particular alpacas, birthing records, show records, arriving and departing alpacas – if it pertains to the alpacas it is written into the barn book.  We have even used it to log feed consumption noting when we opened a bag of feed or started a new bale of hay. 

The barn book is a very useful tool and a great place to start with herd records, but from there they need to be put into a format that makes the information easily accessible and well organized.

We use software called HerdLogic and have been using it for several years now.  When we first started raising alpacas we had a special book with record sheets for each alpaca, which was fine, but everything was lumped together and so to find a certain piece of information we had to wade through the pages for each alpaca.  So as the herd grew we realized that in order to be able to keep up with all of the alpaca records we needed something more sophisticated than hand written sheets. 

After doing our research and talking to other alpaca breeders we decided that HerdLogic was our best option and we have been pleased with the product over the years.  The company regularly releases updates with improvements on the product, and we find the product easy to use.  I keep my HerdLogic records on my laptop computer, which makes it easy for me to have access to that information at shows and other events I attend.

To me good record keeping is very important.  As we are very open in the information we give to prospective buyers of our alpacas it is important that we can readily show them all of the records for any alpaca they might be interested in.  I personally am a bit put off when I ask to see records on an alpaca that I might be interested in purchasing and the alpaca’s owner either does not have records or provides records that are either too vague or incomplete.

No doubt about it, it is a chore to keep up with the data entry on the herd records, but at the end of the day it makes life so much easier.  Whether we be providing records to a prospective customer or sending records to a vet regarding a sick alpaca, it is great to be able to just pull up the records on the computer and print off a copy.

So this evening it is back to the grindstone, not too much longer and I will be fully up to date and get back into healthy habits of entering data on a weekly basis.

 Rosemary 

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