Friday, January 9, 2015

Computerized sheep records: Oh, the agony!

I'm trying to update my flock records, and oh, is it a chore. In the past I've used 2 different sheep software programs to keep records. First was Sheepbreeder's Notebook, which was a nice little program. Then I bought Caprine Stockman (really for goats) and that was a little more flexible. Sadly, both companies have vanished, and I can't transfer the old software to my current computer.

I'd hate to go back to keeping all my records as text files with my word processing software, because I'd have to re-enter the same info many, many times. I'd rather get a basic livestock software to do most of the heavy lifting for me.

This is what I want in flock software:
  1. I want to be able to track information that I'm interested in that other sheep flocks might not be--- such as shedding percentages on hair sheep crossbreds, horned ewes, and such. That means there must be at least a spot for 'notes' on each animal's record. (Some software also offers customizable information slots which would also work.)
  2. I want to be able to print my records out. This is essential for keeping a hard copy at the farm, and to provide printed info to buyers and potential buyers.
  3. I want it to provide a good print-out of an individual animal's basic information. Ideally with a picture.
  4. I want to have pedigree print-outs.
  5. I want prodigy (offspring) print-outs.
  6. I want to be able to add sires and dams of my purchased sheep so they will appear in pedigrees without having those animals on every list--- some way to look at just the animals I actually currently own.
  7. I want to be able to print out lists of current sheep: Shetland ewes, crossbred ewes, twin ewes. This way I could print out working and planning lists of sheep.

I also need it to be at a reasonable price for a small flock. After all, I've bought sheep software twice before and know it's not a one-time-for-all purchase.

I have downloaded a bunch of demo versions and so far haven't found one I really like. And some of these are so expensive I wouldn't be able to buy them anyway.

I've decided to work with these software programs for a while and review them here. Right now I have demos of FlockFiler, Sheep Tracker, Ovitec, Zooeasy and Select Sheepware. Some of these programs are too expensive for a small flock like mine.

If you know of other software that might meet my criteria, let me know.

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