Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Animal Manager Application

My Animal Manager Control Panel
Just wanted to share an animal management system that is a little bit different from the more familiar Evans, Breeder's Assistant and Kintraks...

Homestead Apps released an app to help hobby and urban farmers manage their animals - My Animal Manager.

Monthly Summary..note the solid row of zeros
in the income section.
My Animal Manager is a management system that helps you organize record keeping for all of your animals...including rabbits.  You can separate finances by animal type, keep show records, medical, feed, production, pedigrees, breeding records and month by month comparisons for last 3 years...alot of the standard stuff.  The thing that makes My Animal Manager a bit different from other systems is that it is a SaaS product.  Software as a Service (SaaS) means that your data is online ...kept secure by encryption...and accessible from any device with internet access.  Think Cloud computing.  This allows me to log in and enter information right from the rabbit's cage instead of "remembering" or "jotting down notes" for input at a later time.  There is no download or installation necessary. No worries about my own computer crashing and losing data.  Everything is up in the "Cloud." Updates are automatic and free.  Sounds interesting, huh?  I thought so too...so I tried it.  So far, it's pretty good and useful for bunny applications.  
Individual animal record example

Here's what I found:
PROS: 

  • I could enter multiple animal species.  It's nice to have all the critter's stuff in one area...which allowed me to totally gloat that my bunnies haven't cost near as much as our daschund mix's outrageous (and thus far, partially successful) dog training classes.  Crazy dog!
  • For the most part animal entry is pretty intuitive. It was easy to figure out.  The only exception was pedigree information.  I couldn't find it.  However, I just clicked on online help and someone promptly responded with how to get to the pedigree part and how to enter sires, dams, etc.  Good service was another plus.
  • There are cool charts for all kinds of stuff...like meat, egg, and fiber production, including withdrawal dates for meat and egg producers.  I find this part particularly useful for my Angoras.  I am able to record how many ounces of fiber I harvest from each animal very easily.  And of course, looking at the blank egg production section made me want to add chickens to our menagerie.     
  • There is a section to record buck breeding info as well as doe breeding info.  I can keep track of how "potent" those boy bunnies are.  There is also a pregnancy report...and of course breeding records.  
  • You can track feed usage per animal, or per species.  Medical treatments records are available as well as a section for veterinarian visits, if necessary.  
  • The main panel current year summary report is like a little dashboard controller that gives you an overview to all your info. I haven't entered all my last year totals(receipts) yet, but it will be nice to have a comparison.  
CONS:

  • My Animal Manager is $14.95 for a ONE-YEAR subscription.  It's written pretty plain, but since I'm used to seeing "app" and thinking "just buy once", my bad. Still, though, it's pretty cheap to get started. Yippee!! I haven't really done the math on this one, but something tells me that it might add up if you use it a while.  Keep in mind, though, updates are free, so maybe not so much of a con.   I also didn't see a place to export or import data...so must enter it manually at first. Yuck, if you've got lots of buns.
  • Pedigree info grand champion fields are only about three characters long.  I have grand champion numbers in some pedigrees that are six digits...so they don't fit.  Boo.  I just used an empty field that said ID number and adjusted it to read GCH#.  That showed up on the pedigree just fine.  By the way, pedigrees themselves are plain jane, but have all the ARBA necessary stuff, like weight, registration #(right ID), tattoo# (left ID), and weight.  
  • No genetics info.  Although fun to play with, I'm not too upset about that.  I like to figure out genetics the old fashioned way and there's always online genetics calculators to check my work.  Just make sure they are reliable. However, it would be nice to have some inbreeding coefficent info.  
  • No show entry forms.  That would be super handy.
  • If you want to track feed usage AND feed expenses, you have to enter it twice...once in the feed screen and once in the expenses screen.  What's up with that?  I see that they are constantly updating, so I hope that they will adjust that soon.  Hasn't been too much of a hassle yet, though.  
Everyone I know compares everything to Evans.  Evans, it is not...yet.  Evans is definitely a more robust product...with a more robust price. My Animal Manager is another option if you need to keep electronic records at a more affordable entry price...and you want chickens, too.  http://homesteadapps.com/
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