This process is moderately time consuming (~2 hours per herd). Be sure the herder has adequate time before starting. For trial runs, it is best to select herders who have demonstrated an interest in facilitating the appraisal.
Step 1. Ask the livestock owner to name an adult female animal that was born in the herd, is still present in the herd, and that has calved.
Step 2. Ask for the name of the mother of the animal identified in Step 1.
Step 3. For the mother identified in Step 2, ask:
3.1 Where did the animal come from?Step 4: For each of the pregnancies ask:
3.2 How many pregnancies has she had?
3.3 How many abortions has she had?
3.4 What happened to her? If she is still in the herd, is she pregnant, dry, milking, or barren?
4.1 Was the birth single or twins? (If twins are reported, subsequent questions must be repeated for each twin.Step 5. After you have finished all the births of the mother identified in step 2, repeat steps 3 and 4 for each female offspring identified in 4.6.
4.2 Was the offspring male or female?
4.3 Has the calf left the herd?
4.4 If the calf has left the herd, why? (key word checklist: sold, exchanged, loaned, disease terms)
4.5 What is the animals age or what was the animals age when it left the herd?
4.6 If it is a female, has it given birth? If so, records its name.
The process should be completed for a total of 6 animals from the herd. Two moderate quality animals, two good producers and two poor producers.
At the end of the exercise, a extensive list of animals and their final disposition should be available which allows the calculation of rates for the herd. For step 4.4, a key word checklist should be generated to facilitate calculation of rates. If the process is completed in a number of herds, statistics such as abortion rates and mortality rates for major diseases can be calculated. As with most PRA techniques, variations and adaptation of the technique to answer specific questions are possible. For example, if information on ages at calving and lifespan are incorporated, production statistics on age at first calving, calving rate, etc. can also be calculated.