A goat farmer needs to learn to keep records. No, not those flat, plastic, pancake discs that you play on a turn table. Oh dear, showing my age. Now Iím going to have to explain "turn table" and "records" with music on them. In one story, people wanted to know what a "party line" was. Think of records as absolutely huge CDís with music on them and with that hole still in the center. They came in sizes of large dinner plates (though not as thick) and dessert plates (large saucers). Originally the records were breakable, made out of ...? Anyway, they could break. The plastic ones that came out later were not so breakable but sure could warp if you didnít lay them flat when you stored them.
Iíve had many a record, that Iím sure was my siblings fault since I always put everything correctly in itís place (hopefully, mom wonĎt be reading this, or my siblings), that was so warped that the needle on the turn table went on a wild ride every time I played it. I think this was where the idea for all those amusement rides came from.
The turn table was also made up of a big flat disc with a thin rounded "pole" in the center, some had an indent in the pole. This big flat disc turned around and around in circles, depending on the speed of the record you were playing. Some records were 45ís and higher, some had lower numbers, and all these were for different speeds that the turn table would turn. If you are still scratching your head, think of your microwave with a turn table in it, slowly turning your food around. I bet this idea came from the record turn table. Clear as mud, Iím sure.
The notches in that pole in the center of the turn table was for stacking records on to play one at a time. After one played, another record would drop down to play. A little arm thingy sat down on top of all those records to hold them in place. Another arm thingy (hope Iím not getting too technical) with a "needle" on it would actually work on itís own or you picked it up and placed it on the rotating record and Voila! Sound came out through the speakers of the record player or stereo. You could buy needles for your record player that were diamond tipped to last a long time or just regular olí needles that got dull fast and could start scratching your records.
Once a scratch got on that record, well, forget it. You would be playing your favorite record and suddenly it would hiccup and play that spot over, hiccup again, play that spot over, hiccup again and... well, you get the idea. Your record was ruined. A scratched record was usually caused by you learning how to bounce and boogie to your favorite tune, jumping up and down shaking all the furniture in that room, and also scratching your record in the process. Bummer.
Then the "floating arm" came out on newer record players, where a sudden jar of the record player, the arm would gently bounce up and gently bounce back down on the record, not scratching it, now that was real progress. But, dances back then were a great deal more exercise then they are now. More jumping up and down, body slams to the floor, leaping and kicking, and this was dancing by yourself. Wait until you got into a group. So you could still scratch your favorite record with your violent gyrations. To this day I blame my arthritis on my talented dancing back then. I would have been a professional if they could have kept up with me with a camera.
So, now thatís cleared up, back to goat record keeping with no music involved, unless you hum a lot. My favorite record keeper is a calendar. Not just any olí calendar, but at least a 10 X 12 inch calendar that folds out larger to show you the pretty picture at the top (I like cute animals) with large blocks around each number and the number in bold black print.
These calendars are strategically placed around the house. One calendar I put down heat cycles of the does, what buck they are in with, and when bred. After they are bred, wait a month to see if they come back in heat, and then when they are taken away from the buck. I then count days and mark when itís two to three weeks before they kid to give them a CD & T shot and an extra worming. I mark when they hit 145 days and put them in their kidding stall. Then mark 150 days when itís getting extremely serious that they will kid. They can kid anywhere from 145 days to 155 days. They keep surprising you.
Since we kid mainly in Jan., I donít like surprises and frozen kid popsicles. At 145 days, the girls go into protective kidding stalls with baby monitors nearby and a schedule for us to check them every so many hours.
That calendar is also used to mark when the girls kid and what they have. Then itís marked when the kids are 7 days old and we disbud and tattoo. This calendar is also marked when the kids are due their first CD & T shot and worming one month later. Also the follow-up booster 22-28 days and their second worming. So, this calendar is my breeding, kidding, and kid shot/worming calendar. I can walk by at any time and see what I am to be doing that day or next day or next week.
The next calendar is my health calendar for the older goats. All their shots, wormings, when they are due these and what, and if they got sick and what I gave and for how long.
Another calendar is for my sale calendar. I mark down the day I sell a goat, for how much and who to. I also have a receipt book for sales as a back up and to give the buyer a receipt. My record keeping calendars are placed in the places Iím at the most, the kitchen and the living room. Also a calendar for buying goat related products could be added.
Lee thought that after all these years I should be more professional and he bought me an expensive computer goat records program that did everything. I mean everything. Iím sure if I could figure it out, it would even go out and do my feeding for me. But, unfortunately, I am computer illiterate. Just setting down to that computer program took my breath away. I felt a panic attack coming on. Iím sure the computer felt the same. It didnít know what I was going to do to it next. So, I quietly ignore the goat record computer program. When Lee asks how Iím doing with it, I say you learn it and then teach me. Usually he hurries out of the room. I donít blame him. Thatís what I do when I think I should learn it.
So, Iím constantly in search of that perfect calendar with room for my scribbles. I use to find them free at our bank, but lately all Iíve been getting is this tiny, plastic hand held calendar. Now, how can I write on that? I usually pester friends who are at other banks and they will pass on an acceptable calendar to me. Or, at some stores that give out calendars. And, if forced into it, I actually buy one every now and then.
Give me a good calendar, a favorite gel pen, and my goatsí care runs like clock work around here. But, sit me in front of a computer program for goat records, and youíll find a person with a paper bag over her head, hyperventilating. I know, I know, itís suppose to be over my mouth, but how can I hold it and type?