Why Use FlockFiler Instead of a Spreadsheet?
A spreadsheet is a very popular option for many do-it-yourselfers. It is relatively simple to create a spreadsheet. For example you might create your spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel (powerful, expensive), Microsoft Works (consumer-level, inexpensive), AppleWorks (consumer-level, inexpensive), OpenOffice (powerful, free), or many others.
If you have tried to use a spreadsheet for your sheep records, you already know the frustrations. If you haven't, make an appointment to talk to someone who has and hear the tale of woe. Make sure to have someplace comfortable to sit and some refreshments because you are likely to be in for a long story.
If you are going to put your information onto a computer, you want to have it satisfy three basic needs: store all of your information, find what you want, and viewing/printing what you want. For some users, a fourth need is to do some analysis of the information such creating genealogy charts. In concept, a spreadsheet can do many of these things with sheep records, but not easily and not well.
Store all of your information
Spreadsheets are great for simple lists and doing some math on those lists. Good sheep records are not simple lists. A spreadsheet may work pretty well through the first year of lambing, but it quickly becomes a frustrating tool to use as you need to add more and more information. Once the information goes beyond a simple list of tag numbers, sex, birthdate, dam, and sire, you discover that a spreadsheet is inadquate. Once you start adding notes about vaccinations, deworming, shearing, foot care, medical treatments, feed programs, when bred, and assorted other things, the spreadsheet shows how awkward it can be to record the information that is very useful in your management decisions. Don't even try to create lineage diagrams automatically with a spreadsheet.
FlockFiler has distinct fields for all of your information. You don't have to worry about continually adding more spreadsheet colums for each new datum. The FlockFiler's Log Entry section lets you add unlimited notes into each sheep's record to note breeding, shearing, vaccinations, health records, etc.
Unlike a spreadsheet, FlockFiler helps you minimize errors in data entry. It warns you of duplicates tag numbers and can spot many potential inconsistencies between records.
Finding your information
Think about how you would create printable lists by asking your spreadsheet the following questions.
- Find all the daughters of the ram with the tag #0355.
- Find all the sheep born here in the year 2003.
- Find all non-white sheep.
- Find all sheep born as a single.
- Find all non-white singles born in 2003 to the ram #0355.
Using a spreadsheet for this is not easy, is it?
FlockFiler makes doing any of these searches very easy. It can do much more complex searches too.
Viewing/Printing your information
Printing out customized lists in your spreadsheet is certainly possible but it is very tedious. FlockFiler lets you focus in on only what you want to printout and your lists always fit onto the paper. Using FlockFiler, you can print your information in many different ways very simply. Unlike a spreadsheet, there is no need to constantly reformat your information just to see it presented in a different way.
Moving from a Spreadsheet to FlockFiler
If you are already using a spreadsheet to store your sheep records, I have good news for you. FlockFiler can read in your sheep records from your spreadsheet format file so that you don't have to retype them. What are you waiting for? Try out the demo of FlockFiler now.