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Record Keeping In Livestock And Aquaculture Industries

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Have you ever been in any of these situations?

  •     I don’t have a master list of the information to track on my farm.
  •     I’m not sure if I’m making profit. I really can’t track my income and expenses.
  •     I understand that I need to keep records but cannot afford the services of an accountant because I’m small and still growing.
  •     I remember that I managed my farm disease sometimes ago, but I didn’t keep records. I don’t really know the types of records to keep.


Well, this section will be providing some professional advice on types of records you can keep as a farmer in the Livestock and Aquaculture business.

Why Keep Records?

It is important you collect relevant information that can help you to take good decisions and to keep track of activities, production and important events on a farm. Keeping farm records is a key component of managing your farm. Farm records serve a number of purposes on the small farm - even if it's a hobby farm. Records can be about any performance of the animals, economic development, or any activity of the farmer or veterinarian. It is important to keep record keeping simple, and to keep records systematic. If records should be of use for the farmer, then they must be complete (i.e none missing), they should be true (i.e collected carefully). When record can’t be trusted because they are not complete or true, time should not be spent on it at all.

  • Monitoring progress. If you are serious about running your farm, you will want to make sure that you are making progress toward your goals and that you are moving forward on your business plan. Keeping track can make sure you meet your goals, and can help you be more efficient in your work on the farm. Farming is more satisfying when you are making positive progress versus spinning your wheels. Good farm records help you see what works, what doesn't, and help you figure out why, so you can make changes moving forward.
  • Managing the farm: You have to keep track of things like how many animals you have, what their health is, what health issues you may have had with them, what you're feeding them and how much or how often, what varieties you have and how they perform. If you keep a detailed farm records about the specifics of your farm   operation - the animals, not just the finances - you're getting a full picture of how your farm is functioning. Sometimes you may be succeeding at generating positive income on your farm, but you're struggling with an aspect of animal care that requires adjustment. Or, you may find that your profits are suffering, and the root cause is that you are simply charging too little. You won't be able to trace that root cause unless you record how much feed you're buying and how many chickens that translates into, for example. You need both sides of the equation to run your farm effectively.

·       Obtaining loans and grants. Many loans and grants for small farmers require that you have financial records to show what you have earned, what your expenses are, and so forth. Certainly if you'd like to borrow money from a bank or other financial institution, they may require financial statements to prove that the farm is financially viable.

  • Taxes. Income tax returns will need to be filed for your small farm. You will want to keep detailed track of expenses and income for the Inland Revenue Services (IRS), to ensure that you are paying the proper taxes for your farm. Consult the FIPAMAT Training Institute for details specific to your situation, but tracking income and expenses is a must for any farm.
  • Other reasons include:

-      Evaluation of livestock for selection (breeding records; financial records; production records)

-      Control of inbreeding and aid in breeding planning (breeding records)

-      Aid in selecting animals with the right characteristics for breeding (production, health, feed efficiency) to improve flock

-      To rationalize labor

-      To keep track of all animals (Identification records)

-      Aids in feed planning and management

-      Aids in disease management; keeping track about treatment (disease records)

-      Aids in finding the effective treatments

-      To assess profitability/losses (financial records)

-      Improves bargaining power on products, because you can see the investment and the price of the production (financial records)

-      Credit/loan access (financial records)



Good records will help you monitor the progress of your business, prepare your financial statements, identify sources of income, keep track of deductible expenses, keep track of your basis in property, prepare your tax returns, and support items reported on your tax returns

v  Good records provide the financial data that help you operate more efficiently - therefore increasing your profitability.

v  Accurate and complete records enable you to identify all your business assets, liabilities, income and expenses.

v  Good records are essential for the preparation of current financial statements, such as the income statement (profit and loss) and cash-flow projection

v  Good records are needed for tax purposes. Poor records could cause you to underpay or overpay your taxes.

Types of Records

—  There are different types of records to keep in poultry production.

These systems vary by many factors.

  • Species raised - The records kept for different species of poultry are going to differ because of the different uses.  For example chicken records are going to be different from turkey records.
  • Breed raised - Certain breeds are raised for a specific purpose (laying, broilers, breeding), and therefore need different records.
  • Type of bird - The type of bird raised is going to determine the record keeping system.  Some chickens are raised for egg production (for consumption), egg production (for repopulating), meat production etc.

There are different records to keep for chickens.

1)    Chicks – Chicks are young birds before the growth process has started.  The records for chicks may include date hatched, date moved to pullet/broiler house, feed consumption, and water consumption, weekly weight gain. 

2)    Pullets – Pullets are birds growing to become layers.  Certain records to be kept for these birds include feed consumption, water consumption, and light-dark hours.

3)    Layers – Layers are female birds that are in the stage of laying eggs.  Records needed include feed consumption, water consumption, and egg production.

4)    Broilers – Broilers are raised to be harvested for chicken meat to consume.  Specific records may include feed consumption, water consumption, average daily weight gain, days on feed, and processing date.

5)    Breeding stock – Breeding stock are used to produce birds to repopulate the flock.  Breeding date, birds mated, and hatching date are examples of important records.

Turkeys require specific records.

1)    Poults – Poults are young turkey that will be raised to be harvested for consumption.  Specific records may include feed consumption, water consumption, average daily weight gain, days on feed, and processing date.

2)    Breeding Stock – Breeding stock are used to produce birds to repopulate the flock.  Breeding date, birds mated, and hatching date are examples of important records to keep.

Whenever you begin a record keeping system, you must learn about the information requested on each form.

a.    Mortality (death) of birds – every day a record should be taken of any birds that do not survive.

b.    Feed used – daily records need to be taken on the quantity of feed fed to birds.

c.     Cost – Financial records must be kept of any items bought or sold, e.g. feed, veterinary costs, equipment, supplies, birds etc.

d.    Vaccinations – Specific vaccinations may be needed, depending on the bird and location of production facility.  An accurate record must be kept to insure sufficient withdrawal times. 

e.    Hens removed/culled – Periodically, hens must be removed from the flock when their productivity is too low.  Be sure to keep record of which bird, when she was removed, and the reason for removal.

f.     Eggs produced – Eggs must be collected and recorded daily.  Be sure to include any inconsistency noticed.

Mode of Keeping Record

A simple record system starts with a card in each poultry house on which is recorded the following information daily:

  •             Mortality/Culls
  •             Egg Production
  •             Feed Consumption