Record Keeping

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Hey everyone, just wondering how you keep your records. We've only got 6 head right now, but have 4 calves on the way this year and are getting this year's steers this weekend and as we grow, I want to keep track of everyone including: age, # of calves, bred date, who is who's calf, etc. Not really keeping track of birth weight or calving ease right now since we don't really have a way to weigh our newborns and half the time our cows/heifers are giving birth when we aren't around (sneaky lil buggers). I'm mainly just wondering what you use to keep records (spreadsheet, notebook, computer program) and what all you keep records of so I can see what I'm missing to keep track of and if a spreadsheet is going to work okay as we grow. I know we are going to, but just don't know how big. Anyway, thanks for any info and suggestions you can give me!!!
 

ChrisB

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I keep track of everything in a little notebook that I keep in a "saddle bag" on the 4-whlr. Then every couple years I enter everything into an excel spreedsheet and swear that I'm going to keep things up to date from now on. But of course the cycle just continues...
 
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I know how you feel. I kept telling myself that I was going to sit down and start my spreadsheet all winter because I know Dad won't, but it took me til last week to do it and now that I have, I can't help but feel like I'm missing/forgetting something and wondering how easy its gonna be on me using a spreadsheet down the road as we get bigger.
 

backhoeboogie

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The heifer calves are number tagged at birth or shortly thereafter. I keep a manual log of what number goes to which number cow. The numbers are used on manual logs for vaccination record.

Bulls are converted to steers and do not receive a number tag as they are destined to market. They are grouped and vaccinated same as heifers and their mother's tag number serves are record number. e.g. Cow # 54's '08 steer.

Heifers are evaluated and either shipped or retained.

If I happen to see a bull cover a cow, notations of the incident are made on the manual log.

About every quarter or so I update the information in my spreadsheet.

In May they are worked completely (everything) and the cows are palpated as well. All information is updated in the spread sheet accordingly.

The numbers I use are simply sequential. I don't use the year numbers or any other programmatic methodology. The cow's number tells me all I need to know, based on my records.

Some cows have dit names, in addition to their number. Nothing personal. Sweet Thang could buy a ride on the trailer at any point.
 

Bez+

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ChrisB and I are very similar.

Just be sure the wife does not wash the shirt that carries that little note book. It is tough to dry it out.

BTW - pencil seems to withstand washing better than ink from a Bic pen!

Small producers can save a pile of money by just making their own spreadsheet - or having a friend do it for them - hard to justify the dollars for the software when you are running little groups.

Have fun

Bez+
 

randiliana

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I have both written and computer records. I find that by doing both I know what is going on in my herd much better. I make a page for each of my cows, with room for info about her and a chart for her calves. If you're interested, I can send you my chart, and one that I found online that is similar. I have various other charts/spreadsheets to cover the different activites within the herd as well, Calving, weighing, breeding etc.

Also, I have another program which covers the cattle herd completely, from breeding to birth to weaning, and everything in between, http://www.cattlelearningcenter.org it is the Red Book. Very comprehensive.
 

I luv herfrds

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That little book does work well like Bez says except for when it hits the dryer then you are out of luck. :lol2:

I use Ranch Manager, the little book and the calender.
 

Aaron

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blackbaldiecowgirl":1ofxgig8 said:
Hey everyone, just wondering how you keep your records. We've only got 6 head right now, but have 4 calves on the way this year and are getting this year's steers this weekend and as we grow, I want to keep track of everyone including: age, # of calves, bred date, who is who's calf, etc. Not really keeping track of birth weight or calving ease right now since we don't really have a way to weigh our newborns and half the time our cows/heifers are giving birth when we aren't around (sneaky lil buggers). I'm mainly just wondering what you use to keep records (spreadsheet, notebook, computer program) and what all you keep records of so I can see what I'm missing to keep track of and if a spreadsheet is going to work okay as we grow. I know we are going to, but just don't know how big. Anyway, thanks for any info and suggestions you can give me!!!


If you need something to keep records, I offer free pocket herd record-keeping books to any Ranchers.net or Cattletoday members. Send me a PM with your address and I'll send one off to you.

As for advice, general dates such as weaning and breeding are kept on the calendar. Specific info on calves is kept is a large 8.5x11 notebook. At the end of the year, I transfer any additional info from the calendar to the notebook. I would like to eliminate a lot of this and use a herd software program like Cattlemax, but I am not sure which program is the best yet.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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We've been using LonghornMax (version of CattleMax) as long as we have been raising longhorns. We have a clipboard with a worksheet that we record stuff in at the corral when we work them. Then after cattle are worked we enter all data onto LonghornMax program. Also update photos of animals frequently and put in LonghornMax. Then, is a simple matter to print out medical, horn, calving, breeding, weight, etc., records at any time (along with updated photo).

I stopped using the pocket notebook and the "Big 5" tablet as soon as I was out of elementary school...lol...
Been doing serious computer stuff since early 1980's.
 

nagwag

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For the people using your own spreadsheets, do you have the ability to import a picture of the cow into the spreadsheet? I currently have a notebook with each cow's information along with a picture of the cow and I have been wanting to put together some sort of spreadsheet. If I was better with a computer, I would use MS office and put together a database, but I don't have the time or knowledge.
 

backhoeboogie

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nagwag":3t4ylblh said:
For the people using your own spreadsheets, do you have the ability to import a picture of the cow into the spreadsheet?

I could but don't. Digital pics are simply placed on a disc and the number can identify the particular animal. You can go back for years looking at animals you owned that are long gone now.

If you are curious as to what a steer looked like out of a cow at 6 months of age three years ago, go look. Her last two may have been heifers. If you have changed bulls, it may not be worth the look etc.
 

rockridgecattle

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i use the little caving book from Pfizer. As well, I like the Pfizer book calendar. We get both free from the vet. The book calendar is used for everything. From when and what we fertilize and cost, when and where we hayed what fields and the yield, to vaccinations, birthdates, wean date, when the bull goes out and when and who we treat for sickness and with what.
We also keep track of the hay we feed where. So we know how much the cows eat, the weaned calves and the bulls.
 

Cowdirt

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I have a simple excel spreadsheet that I made myself(some folks would say designed but mine is too simple to be called a designed product.) In a previous life I was told one of the worst things a person can do, business wise, is to collect data and not use it. KISS principle.
 

OLF

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I use Cattlemax for Small Registered Herds. It is a great program. You can record pedigrees, performance data, EPDs, breedings, calf data, sales, photos medications and treatments. It makes it quick and easy to look back at a complete history of a cow or bull and their offspring. You can look at a list of a cows calves with all of their performance data and what they sold for. It's a nice way to see a cows total production, calves and cash.
It also tracks semen and embryos. Also good for producing invoices for private sales.
It's probably not cost effective for a six cow herd, but it is very handy.
 

SRBeef

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OLF":12qe1b6w said:
I use Cattlemax for Small Registered Herds. It is a great program. You can record pedigrees, performance data, EPDs, breedings, calf data, sales, photos medications and treatments. It makes it quick and easy to look back at a complete history of a cow or bull and their offspring. You can look at a list of a cows calves with all of their performance data and what they sold for. It's a nice way to see a cows total production, calves and cash.
It also tracks semen and embryos. Also good for producing invoices for private sales.
It's probably not cost effective for a six cow herd, but it is very handy.

I use Cattlemax for small commercial herds. It seems to me that the sooner you get started the more valuable the records will be, even with 6 head. It does have places to store pictures of each animal but I am more interested in the data than pictures. You can enter vet visits. It is real easy to lose track of a calf's pedigree after a couple years/generations/bulls. The main reason I started using the program was to keep track of weights. You just enter an animals wt whenever you take it and the program computes average daily gain, corrects weaning weights to 205 days, etc.

It is also easy to lose track of the fact that one calf may be 20, 30 or 40 days older or younger than the one standing next to him. This can lead to misleading choices as to which is the "better" calf and cow.

Another thing the program lets you do is compute the 205 day weaning weight percent of the cows weight. This is very important to me....

The program and scales ( you can buy just the basic readout) are not cheap but the information they provide can be very useful and valuable. It really depends on your goals for your operation. If you just want some summer lawn mowers and fill your freezer with beef probably neither are that important. jmho.
 

K2011

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We have a binder that we keep in the truck....each cow and bull has their own page along with their picture and birth date, description, any health records they might have (prolapse or overgrown hooves etc.) We are still perfecting it after 3 yrs of use but to us it helps a lot with matching a cow to a calf and knowing how old that particular calf is....this method probably won't work for large cattle operations but we have about 45 cows and 2 bulls and it works good.
This page is old school compared to our other one but it gives you a basic idea of what it looks like and I suppose if you have all black cattle this could be hard to describe a calf lol

Cow_Sheet.jpg
 

lavacarancher

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backhoeboogie":s2fcqhdy said:
Bulls are converted to steers and do not receive a number tag as they are destined to market. They are grouped and vaccinated same as heifers and their mother's tag number serves are record number. e.g. Cow # 54's '08 steer.

Don't mean to steal the thread but I have a question on this subject as well.

How does COOL enter into the record keeping equation, BHB? You state you don't tag your steers so does that impact your ability to sell them? Or do you just have to know where they came from to satisfy the requirements of COOL?

I don't know the details of COOL but I am logging and tagging everything born after July, 2008 so maybe I'm overworking with all the detail. Comments appreciated.
 

lavacarancher

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nagwag":3v9ovviw said:
For the people using your own spreadsheets, do you have the ability to import a picture of the cow into the spreadsheet? I currently have a notebook with each cow's information along with a picture of the cow and I have been wanting to put together some sort of spreadsheet. If I was better with a computer, I would use MS office and put together a database, but I don't have the time or knowledge.

Yes sir (Mam), you can put pictures into your spreadsheet. In fact it's a lot easier than posting pictures here. If yawl want to know how to do this let me know and I'll give you a quick run down.
 

grand chaser09

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i use a note book that i jot it down in. i keep track of mom's #, calf's #, color, sex, breed, birth date and sire. if we get a weight then i keep it. then once everythings on the ground i put it in the computer on a spead sheet and print it out for gramps so he won't argue with me.
 
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Hey everyone, thanks for all of your replies so far, they've been really helpful. I thought about talking Dad into investing in one of those programs but a lot of them allow you to keep track of more than what we do. I would imagine it would be a little overwhelming having more blank spots than ones filled with information. We did grow to 10 head over the weekend since we bought two bull calves for our feeder steers this year and two heifer calves. Now, its just a waiting game until summer when three of our calves are due and then we ended up with having to do a re-breed on one of our cows so we'll have a late November baby this year too. We're going to be vaccinating everyone this weekend and I'm hoping to get pics of all of them so we can keep track of each one a little better. Ear tagging is also going to help since we now have last year's heifer calves to tag and the 4 new ones. It's kinda hard right now to tell four black baldies and two angus apart when they are mushing themselves together in the pen.
 

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