Animals in Groups

  • How Groups Work

    The AotG >> Groups section allows you to define any number of categories that suit your purpose. A group could be:

    • an on-farm paddock or pasture name (eg ‘windmill paddock’, ‘top pasture’). When you move animals in the real-life windmill paddock on your farm to another paddock, record that movement virtually as well in AotG. Very handy when locating specific animals in large herds!
    • a specific group of animals (eg ‘weanlings’, ‘pregnant females’). Animals in the ‘weanlings’ group may be spread amongst several paddocks in real life (you can group them this way as well), but placing them all in a specific group like this allows you to record a common management procedure (eg a vaccination) in one go to all weanlings wherever they are physically
    • an abstract concept (eg ‘agisted’, ‘deceased’, ‘sold’). Agisted animals could be spread over several paddocks (and recorded in paddock groups), but placing them in an ‘agisted’ category as well makes locating all such animals in your care so much easier. A ‘deceased’ or ‘sold’ category may be useful for people wishing to maintain historical records but without wanting those animals to appear elsewhere

    Or anything really! You could be really creative and have small niche groups like ‘Snowy’s cria’ or ‘2018 show team’, or anything that has meaning for you.

    Animals can be placed into as many groups as you like. For example, newborns could exist in the ‘crias’ group as well as the ‘windmill paddock’ group where they run with their dams. You could of course have another group called ‘dams’. Some of those dams could be in a ‘show team’ group as well. Moving those animals to the ‘back paddock’ group doesn’t move them out of the ‘crias’ and ‘dams’ groups. And when time to wean, you can move the crias in the ‘crias’ group to the ‘weanlings’ group in one go.

    One advantage of multiple groups is that you may wish to peform husbandry procedures to the cria group but not to the entire paddock group. Or you may wish to apply one procedure to the crias, and a second one to the whole paddock group as well. AotG lets you select subgroups of animals with any amount of precision.

    If you feel you need to drill down further within groups to finetune animal selections even more, just create those extra groups, assign the animals to them, and carry on!

    When setting up AotG, we suggest adding groups first, simply because you’re more likely to have less groups than animals. Thinking about what groups to create may also help you think about how you wish to organise and track your herd in this program. You can add any number of groups at any time later and as you need them: you don’t have to get this perfect the first time!

     

     

  • How to Add Groups

    You can add your groups at any time and in any order, as you think of them or need them. To add a group:

     1. Click on Groups menu item at top of page, or

    Groups button on The Dashboard

     2. Click Add New Record button on the next screen

     3. Enter a Group Name then Save button

     4. This box will appear as visual confirmation of the save:
    Record Was Added confirmation box
    and a new empty field loads below ready for you to enter a new group immediately

    5. When finished, click Back to List button to view all groups as a list. (You can also click Groups menu item in the top menu anywhere in the program at any time to come to this page.) You can edit typos or change names by clicking on the Edit Record icon EDIT ICON

     

     

  • Adding Animals: Read First

    The Animals section is the heart of AotG. It is the one into which most information will be entered, and the one which the rest of the program interacts with.

    There is no right way or wrong way to enter animals, but your type and size of herd may make one way better than another, and it’s worth knowing this ahead of time.

    For instance, do you have a commercial herd, a breeding herd, or both? A large or small herd? Is it closed or open? Do you wish to record pedigrees and include non-owned animals in those pedigrees?

    We’ll firstly step through the mechanics of animal entry in the next few chapters, and then cover various approaches that may suit you best.

    Please do take the time to become familiar with this whole Animals section first before jumping in. We really do want this to be as easy for you as possible!

    We may even be able to import basic animal data for you.

     

     

  • Adding Animals: Where to Start?

    “Where do I start?!” can seem very daunting at first glance. We offer several approaches below.

    The Bulk Entry Way

    For those already using other programs or spreadsheets.
    Your data may be able to be imported directly into the program. Please read Importing Animal Data.

    The Manual Entry Way

    For those with no importable data.
    Please read the rest of this page to consider the best route for you. And always bear in mind that:

    1. not every piece of data has to be entered at once,
    2. you can come back at any time to fill in gaps, and
    3. it's a lot easier when you take baby steps!

    Small Herd or Large Herd?

    If you have ten to twenty animals and wish to enter every possible detail for every single one, we say “just do it”. Set aside an hour or two, grab a cuppa, put some music on, and the time will fly. Once done, it will take but minutes a day to keep AotG up to date.

    If you wish to record lineage, it's worth doing this as you go, but please read How to Construct a Pedigree first for best use of your time! 

    You may feel overwhelmed with a larger herd, but don’t be! Take baby steps and break the data entry into chunks. Time yourself entering one animal, and from that estimate how many you could enter in, say, 30 or 60 minute blocks. You may surprise yourself at how many you can get through, and also bear in mind that you will likely get faster and faster the more familiar you become with the fields and their order.

    But how to best enter an animal in the first place? Look at the fields available in The General Tab. Do you want to add just enough basic information to begin using AotG right away, or do you prefer your records to be comprehensive and complete from the outset? A few suggestions follow.

    Please read How to Construct a Pedigree for the absolute best way to enter pedigrees, regardless of herd size.
    Please read that first before beginning any data entry that requires pedigrees!

    The Quick and Dirty Manual Way

    Best for commercial herds with no breeding animals.
    The absolute quickest way to enter animals is to enter an Identifier for each animal only. This is all AotG needs to function. Enter this, click Save button and the page reloads ready for you to enter another one right there and then. This is a great way to get started with the bare basics—once entered, assign those animals to groups, and you can manage your herd right away.

    Remember: you can come back at any time to enter more details as you need them.

    The Almost as Quick and Dirty Manual Way

    Best for herds with breeding animals.
    Slower than the first way, which you can still do, but the extra bit of time spent here will pay dividends immediately. This method assumes you wish to concentrate—for now—on entering just enough information to get on with managing your herd.

    If you wish to enter lineage as you go, please read How to Construct a Pedigree first before beginning any lineage entries—it will save a bunch of time!

    As a bare minimum, we recommend the following just to get started quickly:

    • tick the In Herd box (assuming the animal is physically in your herd and/or in your care if agisting others’ animals)
    • assign an Identifier
    • specify the phenotype
    • specify the sex
    • specify the coat pattern and colour(s)
    • specify the date of birth (DOB)

    If you click Save button at this point, the record will save and the page will reload ready for the next animal. Otherwise, click The Pedigree Tab first to enter sire and dam as well, then click Save button. Please read How to Construct a Pedigree first before doing this.

    Remember: you can come back at any time to enter more details as you need them.

    Come Back at Any Time to Fill in the Gaps

    For all users.
    AotG is firstly a herd management program, and secondly a (private) breed register. And this is how you’ll find yourself using the program—primarily for herd management and tracking regular and ongoing activities such as husbandry, matings, births, shearing, and show results.

    Still important, but less relevant in day-to-day management of animals, is the use of AotG as a breed register, ie using the program to record information such as DOB, pedigree/lineage, coat patterns and coat colours. These are details you usually enter once as they never change (unless to correct mistakes).

    It’s fair to say that in terms of priority in getting AotG up and running, recording every single aspect of every single animal isn't as important as simply gettting the whole herd into the program for immediate management benefits. You can come back at any time to fill in gaps as the need arises. Set aside a half hour each day and you’ll be surprised as to just how much detail you can fill in!

    Once Up and Running

    This is for everyone!
    AotG is a tool and can only be useful if it is used. It is so important to always be on top of your record-keeping. Putting things off just means there will be even more to do later. Some times of year will be busier than others—birthing comes to mind! Enter those cria in full detail the day they are born and you’ll never fall behind! Use slower periods in the year to fill in the gaps in older data perhaps.

     

     

  • How to Add Animals

    You can add animals at any time and in any order, however some approaches may prove better than others. Please read the entire Animals section first before starting, so as to be fully informed of the various routes you can take.

    To add an animal:

     1. Click on Animals menu item at top of page, or

    Animals button on The Dashboard

     2. Click Add New Record button on the next screen

    3. Here you'll be presented with several fields spread over two tabs: GENERAL and PEDIGREE. An active tab is white. The GENERAL TAB is the default active tab when first on this screen, as it is the only mandatory one needed to enter animals. The The General Tab article goes into more detail. We’ll cover The Pedigree Tab and How to Construct a Pedigree in other articles

    Clicking Save button on either tab will automatically write the animal record to the database and present you with a fresh GENERAL section to enter another animal

    4. This box appears as a visual confirmation of every save:
    Record Was Added confirmation box

    5. Click Back to List button at any time to return to your (growing!) list of animals. (You can also click Animals menu item in the top menu anywhere in the program to come to this page at any time.) You can edit any records in that list by clicking the Edit Record icon EDIT ICON

     

     

  • The General Tab

    The GENERAL TAB The General Tab is the only essential one for entering animals, and appears as the default for this reason.

    It is accessible via AotG >> Animals, by clicking either Add New Record button to add a new animal, or the Edit Record icon EDIT ICON at the left of an existing animal row. This tab is white to indicate it is active.

    Every animal you enter in AotG is either going to be an animal you care for or care to know of, and they are all entered in this section.

    • animals you care for would include your own herd and/or animals you agist, while
    • animals you care to know of would typically be ancestors of your herd whether recent or several generations back. Entering ancestors becomes important if you wish to construct complete pedigree trees with AotG. (Covered in The Pedigree Tab and How to Construct a Pedigree.)

    But more on this later! Just know for now that every animal that needs to be in AotG for whatever reason is entered via this tab.

    In Herd: tick if the animal is in your herd (animals you care for), especially if you will also be adding ancestors that aren’t in your herd (animals you care to know of). Ticking this box enables a filter in other parts of the program to display only herd animals, and is very useful.

    Identifier: this is the only mandatory field when entering animals. You literally could enter no other details when entering animals, and still be able to use the program for managing your herd. An identifier can be anything you want, but it must be unique. It could be a registration number, a name, an on-farm number, a name and a number, anything so long as no other animal in the program has that same identifier.
    Please note: if you use this field to record names, there is an optional field further down the page to record registration numbers. Similarly, if you use this field to record registration numbers, there is an optional field further down the page to record names.
    In short, please don’t feel restricted here. We’ve made sure this section is as flexible as possible and can work with anyone. Choose whatever you like working with as the primary identifier for your animals, and make use of the optional, additional fields further down to record the other details.

    Tag Number: a tag number here refers to an on-farm number that uniquely identifies an animal within your herd. It is often on a large tag carried by an animal, and is easily visible in the paddocks for your benefit. It may not have any meaning outside your herd. You can leave this field blank if you already use a tag number in the identifier field above. Alternatively use this space to record the tag number in addition to whatever you have used as the identifier above.

    Photo: Click the green box to select a photo from your computer.

    The rest of the fields are self-explanatory and can be filled in, or not, depending on how much detail you wish to record. You can always enter some information and come back to fill the rest in later too.

     

     

  • How to Add Animals to Groups

    With your groups created and your herd entered , it’s time to assign animals to groups and really get going! This allows bulk actions to be applied to bulk animals effortlessly.

    You can move animals in and out of groups at any time, as well as assign animals to multiple groups. You could for example have a cria in a cria group and a paddock group, then when weaned move it to a weanlings group and a different paddock group.

    You can add animals one at a time to a group or in bulk to a group.

    Adding Animals One at a Time to a Group

    This method is best when there is one animal to put into one group, or a handful of animals to place in different groups. For example, you have two new animals: a sire and a maiden female. Although both are now in your herd, you’ll probably want each in a separate group. This method is the quickest way to do this.

    Make sure the animal(s) have been entered to AotG first, and that the group exists.

     1. Click on Animals in Groups menu item at top of page, or

    Animals in Groups button on The Dashboard

     2. Click Add New Record button on the next screen

     3. Select the group, select the animal and click  Save button

     4. This box will appear as visual confirmation of the save:
    Record Was Added confirmation box
    and a new empty page loads below ready for you to enter a new record immediately

    5. When done, click Back to List button or Animals in Groups menu item at top of page to view all groups and animals in list form. Here you can move individual animals to different paddocks by clicking on the Edit Record icon EDIT ICON

    Adding Animals in Bulk to a Group

    This method is best when you have many animals to add to a group or multiple groups.

    Make sure the animal(s) have been entered to AotG first, and that the group exists.

     1. Click on Animals menu item at top of page, or

    Animals button on The Dashboard

      2. All entered animals will appear on a screen similar to this:

    Animals list

     3. Click the select all box at [1] below and note how the buttons at [2] change. The Select group dropdown box also activates:

    Animals list with activated buttons

    Clicking the box at [1] will select all animals in the list (every box in that column will have a tick in it).

    Often though, you’ll only want to select some animals or many animals, just not all animals.

    To select a small number, ignore the select all box at [1] and tick just the individual boxes to select those animals. The buttons at [2] change as soon as just one box is ticked.

    To select many or most animals, tick the box at [1] to select all, then untick the unwanted animals to deselect just those.

    Once you have your selected animals, select the relevant group you wish to place them in from the Select group dropdown box. The Add To Group button button will change to black—click it and those animals will now be in the group you chose. (You can confirm that if you like, by going to AotG >> Animals in Groups.)

     

    Please note: Animals in large herds will span several pages in lists of 20 by default, and the select all box at [1] will only select all on the current page. You can either navigate to different pages via the Pagination buttons PAGINATION at the bottom of the page, or simply display all animals on the screen at once via the Show All button or Display dropdown list at [3] above.

     

    Please also note: Don’t confuse the ticks and boxes in the ‘In Herd’ column at [4] with the select all boxes at [1]. The ticks in the ‘In Herd’ column are visual confirmation of the animals in your herd and can’t be unticked here. You can still move animals in and out of your herd though—‘herd’ is a group as well!

    To add to/remove from your herd, select animals as if to place in a group, but this time, click either the Not In Herd button or In Herd button button as appropriate. The ticks in the ‘In Herd’ column will change to suit.

     

     

  • How to Move Animals In and Out of Your Herd

    You’ve entered a whole bunch of animals—some are yours, some are agisted with you, and some are ancestors. Your list of animals is looking long and unmanageable. How to separate them out?

    Simply create a master group of the animals you care for (yours and agisted), and by default this becomes your herd. All others (usually ancestors or deceased animals) are then automatically delegated to a non-herd status.

    (Don’t forget you can always place any animals into as many groups as you like, so feel free to create additional groups such as ‘agisted’ or ‘deceased’ if that helps keep track of non-herd animals!)

    To build your herd within AotG, go to your list of animals by

    1. Clicking on Animals menu item at top of page, or

    Animals button on The Dashboard

     2. All entered animals will appear on a screen similar to this:

    Animals list

     3. Click the select all box at [1] below, or any individual box under that box, and note how the buttons at [2] change. The Select group dropdown box also activates:

    Animals list with activated buttons

    Ticked (selected) animals will go into your herd. To select a small number of animals, just click individuals one by one. For a bulk selection, click the select all box at [1] to select all animals on the page in one go, then untick one by one the animals you don’t want in your herd

    Please note: Large animal lists will span several pages in groups of 20 by default, and the select all box at [1] will only select all on the current page. You can either navigate to different pages via the Pagination buttons PAGINATION at the bottom of the page, or (better still) simply display all animals on the screen at once via the Show All button or Display dropdown list at [3] above.

    Move selected animals into your herd by clicking the In Herd button button. Ticks will now appear alongside those animals in the ‘In Herd’ column.

    Move selected animals out of your herd by clicking the Not In Herd button button. Ticks in the ‘In Herd’ column will now disappear.

     

     

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