Please also read Adding Animals: Where to Start? together with this article before proceeding to enter a herd and its ancestors. We cover different approaches, and which may be better than others depending on your objectives and herd size.
How far back do you want your pedigrees to go? To the immediate sires and dams only? Back to the first imports for all your animals? Or even further, to the unknown Chilean/Peruvian/Bolivian sires and dams?
The absolute best way to build a pedigree is to enter the oldest generation of interest first, then the next oldest, and so on to the present generation.
Thus the number of ancestors you wish to appear in an animal’s pedigree tree is how many ancestors must be entered. Though you don’t have to enter each and every one all at once! You can stagger this by coming back whenever you like.
Adding the oldest known ancestors first (please read How to Add Animals if new to this) is often quick and easy as so little information is usually known about them (think the unknown original Chilean/Peruvian/Bolivian animals). You probably have only bare basic information to enter in The General Tab and can ignore The Pedigree Tab completely. Just this act alone helps set the mood for data entry! But more importantly, these animals are now in the system and ready to be set as sires and dams for the next oldest generation (their progeny).
AotG doesn’t require anything other than an Identifier, so you can literally enter ‘Chilean Sire’ or ‘Peruvian Dam’ for the earliest known ancestors (or whatever they were recorded as), then click ready to enter the next ancestor straight away.
With all ancestors from the oldest generation entered, you are now able to add those animals as the sires and dams to the next generation, their progeny. Enter the data for this next generation as you did before, via The General Tab. But don’t save the record just yet! Click The Pedigree Tab to enter the sire and dam, and then save the record. All you need do is type in the first few letters of their names or identifiers in the sire and dam fields. A dropdown list will automatically appear with all previously entered names and identifiers containing the letters you typed for you to select from, like so:
Don’t worry about the other ancestor fields (‘Paternal Grandsire’s Sire’ and the like). Just enter the sire and dam only—AotG will make all other connections behind the scenes as you work up an animal’s pedigree tree. This makes for a far more efficient workflow.
Adding ancestors this way also saves a lot of future time and typing, as common ancestors can then be selected over and over for future animals you add.
These ancestors don’t have to have ever been in your herd—you may never have seen them and they may even be long deceased in other countries. You’re not managing them, you’re simply entering them so AotG can know how to construct a pedigree tree.
Remember: you can come back at any time to enter more details as you need them.
With a larger herd you are bound to have many more ancestors behind your animals than someone with a smaller one. All herd sizes are going to have many ancestors in common though, and the data entry may not be as lengthy as you think.
If you’re serious about entering detailed pedigrees and have a smallish herd, we recommend starting at the very beginning of your lineages and entering all information in one go. Enter whatever you can about the distant ancestors and work through each generation in turn up to your own animals. The earliest ancestors will be the quickest and easiest to enter and the newest slowest to enter with more information to add, but by the end you’ll have very comprehensive records that will take only minutes each day to keep up to date.
For a larger herd it may be more practical to start with the sires and dams of the oldest generation of your herd and work forward to the youngest. Come back at any time to enter the more distant ancestors if you wish to construct thorough pedigree trees. (Again start with the most distant generation and work forward until you reach the previously oldest generation entered.)
It’s worth noting that you can add not-yet entered sires and dams on the fly by clicking the Add new link under the Sire and Dam boxes in The Pedigree Tab. This is fine if you only want to enter a sire and dam as you go, that you forgot to enter earlier. But please don’t use this method to keep adding ancestors to ancestors—it gets very messy very quickly and you’ll lose your flow. Please stick to the recommended method above to enter several generations of ancestors. This is a far more efficient and time-saving appraoch.