Sunday, July 22, 2012

Making My Own Standard Operating Procedure

With ARBA's recent Recommendations for the Care of Rabbits and Cavies, came the suggestion to create our own SOP for our rabbit herds.   So what is an SOP?  Well, it can mean many things to many people and I decided to do a little research about this. Being a former soldier, I was very familiar with Army SOPs. The military revolves around these things, which are usually called Standing Operating Procedures. They end up meaning almost the same thing...a written guide to what you're supposed to do and how you're supposed to do it. 

Although I did not have an official herd management SOP, I have always kept a Rabbit Log where I jotted down notes about each rabbit as I went through my daily chores.  This comes from my days as an animal care technician.  We had SOPs at the animal lab, too.  They were huge books that spelled out how to do everything from clean a cage to emergency evacuations...so scientific animal laboratories were where I went to find my SOP models.

After checking out quite a few complex standards, I found a simpler SOP that fit my needs. I was not trying to write War and Peace. I don't have time for that. I was just trying to find a short document that filled my needs and hit on major herd care points.  The nice thing was that I could write my SOP to meet my particular herd needs. I can make revisions later, too...if what I originally documented does not work or my herd's needs change.

I have a copy of my draft SOP here. You are welcome to use it to adapt for your own rabbit herd management. Since we all keep rabbits in our own way, please adopt for your own circumstances and practices.  Also, if I left out something important, please let me know. It's a work in progress.

  Thanks to my source for a simple SOP - the Frederick National Lab for Cancer Research at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
  
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