A seasoned breeder once told me that keeping records is the most overlooked, yet important, aspect of raising rabbits.
I nodded and smiled in agreement, then realized I hadn’t seen my pedigree binder in awhile. Surely it was resting in the “safe place” I designated after the last time I lost my pedigree book and re-printed everything that was in it.
So that’s a comprehensive history of my success in documentation.
In my defense, I have always had a small rabbitry, and most of what happened inside of it was committed to memory. It wasn’t long ago that I could rattle off birthdates of every animal in my barn, their parents names, possibly grandparents too, colors behind them, and their placements at every show they had attended.
That was then…this is now. I had a lot more time as a high school and college student, though I was SURE at the time life would get easier after graduation(s).
As an adult, I have more important things to remember. Like paying bills on time and getting my car serviced at XXX,XXX miles, putting my clothes in the dryer, and brushing my hair. That doesn’t mean I do remember to do these things. But hypothetically speaking, these are things I should remember over rabbit birthdates. We have tools for that.
This summer, I started using a new record-keeping system called “I bought colorful notecards.” Here’s how it works.
In the package of bright, neon cards came four colors: Hot pink, electric green, highlighter yellow, and outrageous orange.
I designated pink for does and green for bucks. These function as basic coop cards – name, birthdate, tattoo. Anything else you want to have handy.
The orange cards, I cut in thirds. I use these to record breedings. Once a doe is bred, I write the name of the buck she was bred to and her due date. When the kits are born, I write down the date she kindled, then calculate and record a wean date. I do this using the GIGANTIC calendar hanging on the barn wall – that part is a highly recommended piece of this puzzle.
Yellow is used for any other notes. Maybe “BREED ME NEXT!” or medical treatment records, special feeding instructions. Whatever.
The idea is that I (or anyone, really) can walk into the barn and know exactly what’s what without having to dig through my computer program or pedigree binder (where IS that thing, anyway?)
From the barn door, it is easy to see who is bred, due to kindle, or on a litter. It’s obvious who’s a doe or buck. It’s an easy-to-read, idiot-proof system. Tried and true. Trust me.
Keeping records up-to-date can be tedious OR it can be easy, depending on how you set it up. For me, it doesn’t get easier than keeping notecards and a pen on my feed shelves.