Record keeping

  This is definitely a “do as I recommend, not as I have done” type of post.  I have a white board at the barn on which I make notes, but notes haven’t always been copied to permanent records before being deleted.   I know that I will remember what I did and will go to the house and write it down.  However, that doesn’t seem to happen or when it does, it doesn’t all get written in the same place.  I believe it to be imperative to keep a notebook both in the barn and in the house, and maybe beside your bed to write in before turning out the light.

In my notebook, I have a calendar of about when things should happen in the next year, what pairs I am breeding, when I put them together, think they bred, removed the ram, and about when due.  There are notes on what treatments were given when as well as when they were sheared.  Notes on the quality of wool, length, and what might be done different are helpful here.

Additionally any vet visits or illnesses treated should be entered.    I have notes on what should happen when a baby is born, such as the Iodine treatment, weight, twins or singles, the initial shots, if they are a bottle baby, what might have gone wrong.   Anything and everything should be in the barn notebook for reference.  That way records are placed when they happen.   Later they can be transferred to the sheep/lamb’s record and the shepherd’s planner. They make marvelous planning records.  I have a calendar that I write down how many bales of hay were used each day, then tallied by the week and month.  I need to know what and how many supplements produced this years lamb crop.

It is amazing how much one forgets that one knows they will NEVER forget.  And the more experienced one gets, the more one forgets some of the little things when trying to help a  new shepherd.   I am fairly new at this number of animals.   My neighbor has been shepherding for many years.   She doesn’t realize that it takes awhile to absorb all of the material one needs to know and sometimes forgets to give me all the details, or maybe I didn’t catch it all the first time and she thinks I did.   As shepherds, we need to be able to look back and remember so we can help others who are starting this adventure.   Breeding sheep is a different game than just having 2 or 3 as pets

For awhile, this blog will be geared to the beginner or can be a refresher.  Your input is welcome in the comments section.