It’s a new year! Happy day!
Today I went through our rabbitry notes and switched everything over so the year is ready to begin again. It’s both a liberating and confusing feeling – what do I need to keep and what can be send to that circular file system called the trash can?!
I’m a little neurotic (one computer crash too many as un undergrad trying to turn in final projects) and I keep both electronic and paper records. For our electronic record keeping we use Kintraks. Since we are a Mac family this has been the best option for us.
I also have a 3-ring binder of rabbitry records. Each rabbit we have on site has a photo, pedigree, sales receipts, any legs they’ve earned, Registration and/or Grand Champion certificates in a plastic page protector. I use this to record matings and outcomes, tendencies, worming, and anything else that seems relevant. This is also where I have the exhaustive list of weights, treatments, etc. so I can see the longitudinal outcomes of specific pairings of rabbits.
These two systems essentially contain the same information and it does require me to do extra work, but I have a lot of confidence in having a copy. (One friend was on their way to a rabbit show when they had a major car issue and their vehicle caught fire! They were able to rescue the animals and grab the pedigree book but… the idea of losing all of that in a disaster was enough to make me want a back up of EVERYTHING!) Another side effect of writing everything down twice is that it aids my memory. I can recreate most pedigrees from memory just from having messed with them so much.
The negative? We generate a lot of pieces of paper each year. And what to do with all that paper at the end of the calendar year? I figured I may not be the only person who has run into this conundrum, so here you go, what we keep, what we pitch, and how we decide which is which:
Physical Records of Rabbits Gone By. I keep the photo ID page, pedigree, certificates, legs, etc. of any rabbit we’ve named. Whether the rabbit has been sent to freezer camp, sold, passed, it doesn’t matter. We keep the records. So far we haven’t had to use the paper copy for research but it’s a comfort to have the notes on the rabbit if something comes up.
Breeding Calendars. I’ve written in the past about using a breeding calendar for our rabbits. Eventually I will find the hours needed to go back through our breedings and results and meticulously compare that to the moon phases to figure out exactly how accurate the breeding calendar is in our rabbitry. Until that magical time slot appears, however, I just keep the calendars!
Catch-All Calendars. We have a paper copy of calendars we use to record when does are due, nestboxes needed, when we’ve used BunnyVac or wormed, when our rabbit club memberships are due, when shows will be held… all of that stuff! I keep these records, too, as sometimes it’s nice to be able to look at a receipt and go back and know it’s from the show we went to eight months ago.
Everything else, we scrap. That’s actually not too much else, but at least I’m not hoarding all sorts of miscellaneous bits of paper. (I’m ashamed to admit when we switched food I kept track of the lot numbers of each bag of food so that if there was a problem with it I would know which bag was the problem! Geesh!)
What do you keep track of from year to year in your rabbitry?