Monday, October 1, 2007

Sheep Secretary

I spent today being a sheep secretary.

I never would have guessed that being a farmer would involve so much paperwork.

For one thing, now that I've sold just about all the sheep I'm planning to sell for the year, it's time to send in their registrations and ownership transfers.

Plus, it's just about time for our annual Scrapie program inspection, so I have to get all my records and paperwork in order for that too. We've completed two years in the program so far. In another three years we'll be able to be certified as an official "scrapie free" flock.

I don't mind the paperwork so much, it just takes a while to get my records organized. I have to have all the details at my fingertips for all the sheep that have come or gone from my flock since last year.

Details like: name, description, tattoo numbers, ear tag numbers, registration numbers, sire, dam, birth date, name and contact info for each person we bought a sheep from or sold a sheep to, date we acquired the sheep, date we sold the sheep, or if it died, the date and cause of death.

For my own records, I also track things like birth weight, birth number (single, twin, triplet), assisted or unassisted birth, purchase price, sale price, shipping details, etc.

In truth, all this information is good to have anyhow, and having this inspection come up once a year forces me to set aside the time to make sure the records are organized---which is convenient at other times of year when I need to know a piece of information. All I need to do is pull out the printout of my inspection data, and most everything I need to know is already right there.

I'm almost done now, and my info chart is about 14 pages long. I just have a few stray details to look up, and then I'll be done.

An unrelated bit of good news: My Ebay sales have done well enough that not only was I able to save up enough money to pay for the two new rams I'm getting this week, we were also finally able to pay most of what we owe our neighbor Bob for the alfalfa he gave us on credit last month.

We still have some outstanding bills to pay off, though---and of course an unending need for hay---so I'll be putting some more things up on Ebay before long. I really hope some of our horse sales come through soon. I hate having to make people wait for the money we owe them!

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