How to Use THB

This page details the features of The Holistic Breeder Directory.  As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions or site suggestions, but please check here to see if your question is answered first.

Contents:

For Buyers

You can search by several methods to help refine your results.  To begin, go to either the Breeder Directory or Animal Listing Directory. Each page is arranged similarly, but the Breeder directory returns animal breeders while the Animal Listing directory will show you individual animals for sale.

Breeder Directory

Let’s start with the breeder directory search page:

You have several choices here to refine results. First, the category allows you to select the type of animal you want to find a breeder for.  It only shows categories where there are breeder listings, so if there are no horse breeders listed, for example, “Horse” will not be an option in the list.

Next is the State/Province field.  This field will return only breeders in the state or province you choose.  Leave blank to see listings anywhere that match your other criteria.

Third is the search term field.  You can enter keywords here or leave blank.  The search engine will return only results where the listing author used the same terms you enter.  Hint: If no results are returned, delete keywords from this field and try again.

Fourth, and what I feel really helps give this directory its value, are the farm attributes.  Select any of the attributes that are important to you, making sure to click the “More” button to see the complete list.  This will help you refine your search by the features that matter most to you in a breeder.  If you select “Unvaccinated,” for example, you will only see breeders who indicate they do not vaccinate.

Once you click the search button, all matching results will be returned.  If there are more than fit on the current page, you’ll find an option to click to see more results.  Simply click on the image of the breeder you’d like to look at to see everything you need to get to know that breeder.

Animal Directory

The animal directory search is very similar to the breeder directory but has more search parameters added.

The first three fields are identical to the breeder search fields and work exactly the same way, only the results they return will be for animals, not breeders.

Animal Attributes work the same way as well but include more terms to select from.  The check box for “Include Sold,” does exactly what it sounds like it will: returns results that have been marked sold.  This can be helpful for research but isn’t necessary when looking for animals that are currently available.

Moving on to the next three options, we’ll start with Animal Gender.  This is also self explanatory.  Because the directory is for many species of animals, the terms are vague: Altered Male, Unaltered Male, Altered Female, Unaltered Female.  This basically means neutered/castrated or not neutered/castrated.

Animal Age allows you to select general ranges from 0-6 months up to 6+ years.  Only animals who match the age range will be returned if you select an option here.

Alterations are where you can select features that are left natural or altered by the breeder.  Options include things such as horn status, microchipping or other manmade alterations.  Checking an option will return animals who match exactly the options checked, so check the ones that are important to you to return breeders who manage their animals that way.

Contacting Breeders

On the sidebar in both breeder and animal listings pages, there will be a prominent button marked “Contact Breeder,” which, when clicked, launches a form from within the website that will be emailed to the breeder when you submit it.  The breeder will then be able to reply directly to the email address you’ve chosen, so be sure what you enter is correct.

Favorites/Lists

This site has a couple of great features for building future shopping lists: favorite and lists.  You can favorite any breeder or listing by clicking the heart, which is located in the listing’s main image on the search results page or in the header image when you click into a listing.  Look for the button in both the search results pages and on the individual listing page to save a listing to specific lists for even more customization options.  Both Favorites and Lists can be viewed by clicking the “My Stuff” button found under “Account” on the menu bar:

Issues with Listings

I try my best to personally vet every breeder who lists here, but I expect there may be times when an issue arises with an animal or breeder listing.  In that event, please contact me and include the link to the listing in question.  I’ll look into it and take appropriate action, up to and including removing a listing if the animal or breeder is misrepresenting information.  I take this very seriously, so if a breeder is discovered to be misrepresenting information, they will be permanently banned from listing here.

For Sellers

In order to create a listing, you must be logged in as a user.  This is necessary for two reasons: for your ability to maintain your listings after creation and to try to vet sellers to ensure those who list here share the same natural rearing values as the buyers coming here to buy.  You can register by clicking the “Create account” link on the login page.

Once registered, I recommend you begin with a breeder listing to help personify your farm, your goals, philosophies and policies.  With a breeder profile, you can choose to automatically link to all of your listings, so this can create a central hub where users can go to find everything you have to offer.

Breeder Listings

To that end, let’s begin with creating a breeder listing.  Most fields are self explanatory or have their explanations built in on the listing form, but I’ll try to cover some basics to help you get started.

From any page, mouse over the “Holistic Breeders” section and you’ll see an option to “Add Breeder.”  Click that to be taken to the listing creation page which has many fields for you to fill out.  While most are not required, I want to point out that these fields are what buyers can use to tell you apart from other breeders and the more you enter, the easier it is to be found by the right buyers.  Time spent here creating a complete listing means less time spent later fielding questions from buyers who aren’t looking for exactly what you offer.  This is a policy I implement on my own website, creating as much info up front as possible in order to help buyers decide before contacting if they want to do business with me.

Package is set to free by default and this option will always exist for members.  For breeder listings, the free package never expires and never has a cost.  You can choose to add a featured listing package for a monthly fee shown in the selection.  This package will put a “featured” badge on your listing and weight it to show at the top of listings.  Absolute top placement isn’t guaranteed; but the featured listings are given priority in search results.

Addresses need some discussion.  When polling members during the site’s creation, the consensus was to keep addresses private.  The downside to that choice is that there is no possibility of a geographic search feature.  The first state/province and city fields are my attempt to help users refine still by at least state/province.  These are what users see in the State/Province drop down menu of the search field.  But, I can foresee a time when the majority will opt to have geographic search enabled, so I have left the full street address requirement in place for listings so that those who opt in will automatically be included as soon as the feature is enabled.

Below the address is a checkbox that is checked by default to keep addresses private.  You have full control over this part, so if you never want to have your address shown, leave it checked and even if we turn on geographic search, your address will never be shown.  If you think that if/when geographic search is turned on and users can search by zip code etc. that you’d like to be included in those results, uncheck this box, either now or later when I announce the feature, to have your listing shown in map searches.  I expect that when this feature is turned on, the original search by state/province will be deprecated to keep the search fields simple.

The Farm Tagline is optional, but if you put something here it will show up all fancy like 😁 in your farm’s header image.

The Category is where you’ll select all of the animal species you raise.  Under that, you’ll need to select your default category, which would be the species you focus on more than the others.  For example, I raise goats and LGDs, but my main focus is goats so my main category is Goats.

Tags can be anything you like, but try to type in a couple letters and see if anyone else has used similar tags.  Sticking to a small number of tags that most people use will help tags be more effective in producing accurate results.

Images will look best in the thumbnails if they have a 3:2 (standard) or 16:9 (HD) aspect ratio.  If you don’t know what those mean, don’t worry, most modern cameras will automatically take photos in these ratios.  The first photo in your list is going to be your cover photo, so if possible, leave this image full size for uploading.  Web standard for “full screen” for desktop is now 1366px+, but “Full HD” is 1920×1080.  Images you take and don’t edit by cropping or resizing should be sufficient.  If you do any editing, try to keep all secondary photos at least 800 pixels wide.

Note: Large numbers of files and bandwidth use cost me extra, so free listings in this directory are limited to 8 images.

Farm Attributes are one of the most important parts to this directory and should be filled in as much as possible.  Please be honest here.  I created this site with trust in humanity but I’m fierce about defending my people from scammers and anyone caught misrepresenting their farm or animals will be permanently banned.  Grouchy Mama Bear style talk behind us, let’s move on to what these fields mean.

The attributes in this list represent the things the goat community I polled find most important.  Check any that apply in your farm in general; you’ll have the opportunity to get specific on each animal listing.  If any of the fields seem like they warrant further explanation to you, feel free to expand as much as you need in the Description field found lower on the page.

Vaccination Protocol was listed as one of the most important factors for buyers when seeking new breeders to buy from and for this reason, the field is required.  Again, feel free to elaborate in your management practices or description fields.

The Herbal-Conventional Scale is a tricky self analysis that helps buyers see how you view your farm and its practices on a whole.  This is a subjective field that has no right or wrong answer, but just to help you get an idea, I practiced herbal husbandry for many years while still using conventional dewormers.  I’d probably self report a 3 or 4 based on that criteria.  Now, I use only herbal medicine but my grains are low spray and not totally organic so I’d self report as a 2.  This is not a make or break field to answer and I’ve left it optional because of the difficulty it may pose to some folks who don’t feel comfortable self assessing, but it’s just another piece of the puzzle to help buyers know you, and that knowing has been paramount to my own success as a breeder.  Making business about the real humans behind it can be very helpful in creating real connections with buyers.

Email must be entered, but I’ve made sure it is not published on the site anywhere.  Instead, when buyers want to contact you, they’ll click the “Contact Breeder” button found on every listing and a webform will pop up that they can fill out and send to you.  You’ll receive that form in an email.  To respond, simply reply to the email but be aware that at that point, the buyer will be able to see your email address.

Links to social media, channels, etc., are all optional but will be published in cute little buttons on the cover photo of your listing.  Only fields you enter will be shown on the listing, so simply omit any you don’t wish to have shown there.  Be aware that for all of these link fields, you must enter the full URL, including the http(s) part or you’ll get an error and the form won’t submit.  This has to do with URL validation and isn’t something I can change.

Once you’ve entered all the information, simply click Submit Listing.  If you selected a free package, you’ll get a notification that your listing is pending review.  If you selected a Featured Listing, you’ll be taken to a checkout page where you will enter your information and then be sent to PayPal to complete the payment.  After that, I will manually review the listing and either publish it or contact you for more info.

Editing Your Listing

In each listing you will see an edit option at the top of the sidebar when you are logged in:

If you are making changes, click Edit and you’ll be taken to the same form you filled out originally.  Make appropriate changes and click Submit and your listing will be updated.  

If you have a free listing, you’ll also find an option here to Upgrade, which when clicked will take you to the edit process again, where you can select the paid Featured option and then click Submit to launch the checkout process.

If you no longer need the listing, click Delete to go through the removal steps.  This is a separate process from canceling recurring ads, so continue reading for how to do that but be aware that deleting a listing will not stop its associated ads from renewing.

You can also view all of your listings by clicking on the “My Stuff” section:

You will be taken to a page where the first result is your listings:

Be sure to select the appropriate directory, Breeders or Animals, to see the listings and select one for editing.  If you don’t have this section, it is because you are not logged in or logged in to an account other than the one you created the listings in.

Animal Listings

The animal listings are similar to breeder listings but include a lot more information to fill out, most of which is optional but helpful to buyers to include.  In case you’ve jumped here from the top and haven’t read the Breeder Listings info, I am copy/pasting identical fields.

Package is set to free by default and this option will always exist for members.  To prevent stale listings clogging up the site, free animal listings expire after 30 days unless renewed. You can choose to add a featured listing package for a monthly fee shown in the selection.  This package will put a “featured” badge on your listing and weight it to show at the top of listings.  Absolute top placement isn’t guaranteed; but the featured listings are given priority in search results.

Addresses need some discussion.  When polling members during the site’s creation, the consensus was to keep addresses private.  The downside to that choice is that there is no possibility of a geographic search feature.  The first state/province and city fields are my attempt to help users refine still by at least state/province.  These are what users see in the State/Province drop down menu of the search field.  But, I can foresee a time when the majority will opt to have geographic search enabled, so I have left the full street address requirement in place for listings so that those who opt in will automatically be included as soon as the feature is enabled.

Below the address is a checkbox that is checked by default to keep addresses private.  You have full control over this part, so if you never want to have your address shown, leave it checked and even if we turn on geographic search, your address will never be shown.  If you think that if/when geographic search is turned on and users can search by zip code etc. that you’d like to be included in those results, uncheck this box, either now or later when I announce the feature, to have your listing shown in map searches.  I expect that when this feature is turned on, the original search by state/province will be deprecated to keep the search fields simple.

Price is not necessary but is recommended to be included.

Your Listing Title is where you’ll enter relevant information and is checked for keywords when a user searches, so you might include things such as breed, gender, registry, species etc.

Select the Category your animal fits.  For animal listings, there should only be one category selected and the default category will auto-populate with that same category.

Because we talk about many species of animals and include mixed breeds, the Breed field is a text area, meaning you can enter anything you like here.  Try to keep it within species standards and feel free to include percentages if animal is mixed.

Animal Age is a search criteria users can select from when looking for animals so it is a required field on your end.  If you are unsure, take your closest guess and explain more in the Description field.

Animal Gender is fairly straightforward but the term “altered” means the animal has been spayed or neutered while “unaltered” means the animal’s reproductive organs are intact.  This is a search parameter users can select for in the animal search page so it is required.

The Pedigree field has an advanced editor so you can custom format the information you put here.  You can also embed videos or images to help make the job of conveying lineage easier.

Pedigree Link requires the full URL where the pedigree resides, so be sure to include the http(s) part or you’ll get an error.

Tagline is optional but will appear under the title of the listing on the cover photo, so it’s a special place you can use to highlight any important features, such as, “Son of the 2020 ADGA National Champion” for example.

Description field, like the Pedigree field, allows for embedding media and has a full text editor so you can create custom formatting when telling all the important info about your animal.

Images will look best in the thumbnails if they have a 3:2 (standard) or 16:9 (HD) aspect ratio.  If you don’t know what those mean, don’t worry, most modern cameras will automatically take photos in these ratios.  The first photo in your list is going to be your cover photo, so if possible, leave this image full size for uploading.  Web standard for “full screen” for desktop is now 1366px+, but “Full HD” is 1920×1080.  Images you take and don’t edit by cropping or resizing should be sufficient.  If you do any editing, try to keep all secondary photos at least 800 pixels wide.

Note: Large numbers of files and bandwidth use cost me extra, so free listings in this directory are limited to 6 images.

Vaccination Status has consistently been placed at the top of the priority lists for our users, so it is a required field.  I’ll include here the same warning as in the breeder listings: Please be honest here.  I created this site with trust in humanity but I’m fierce about defending my people from scammers and anyone caught misrepresenting their farm or animals will be permanently banned.

Animal Attributes are another set of search criteria users can select from when they are searching, so it is important to fully utilize these options if your animal has any that apply.  If a user prioritizes animals fed “NonGMO” feeds and selects that in search criteria, your animal will only show if you have selected that option.  This helps tremendously in matching buyers to the right sellers so both sides can find a successful transaction.

Animal Rearing matters to some of our users as well.  Me too – I prefer not to buy bottle raised goats, for example, while others will only buy them.  Select which option best fits this animal.

Animal is Fed was another top priority for our users.  It is understood that if the animal you are listing is too young to be consuming much, you can select what his parents are/were fed to help buyers understand his background.  Please clarify in the description if this is the case.

Health Testing is where you can add any biosecurity screening, structural tests (hip certification, etc.) or DNA testing done on the animal or its parents.  For example, you might say, “Both parents CAE negative <date>” or “Embark DNA testing, results available on request.”

Link to your breeder profile is a great way to help cross sell all of your listings.  Your breeder profile must already exist to show in the search options.  Simply begin typing your farm name to show your listing and select it.  Then, this listing will automatically show up in the Listings section of your Breeder profile.

As in pedigree link, the Website must include the full address including http(s).

Once you’ve entered all the information, simply click Submit Listing.  If you selected a free package, you’ll get a notification that your listing is pending review.  If you selected a Featured Listing, you’ll be taken to a checkout page where you will enter your information and then be sent to PayPal to complete the payment.  After that, I will manually review the listing and either publish it or contact you for more info.

Editing Your Listing

In each listing you will see an edit option at the top of the sidebar when you are logged in:

If you are making changes, click Edit and you’ll be taken to the same form you filled out originally.  Make appropriate changes and click Submit and your listing will be updated.  

For animal listings, you’ll find two extra buttons here: Mark as Sale Agreed and Mark as Sold.  You can quickly update the status of your listing by selecting either of these options, at which point a dialog box will pop up asking if you are sure.  If you confirm, the listing will be updated and you’ll see an option to Undo your choice, which is useful if the animal becomes available again for any reason.  Note: marking an animal Sold will remove it from the search results, but the listing will remain on the site and is searchable by checking the “Is Sold” check box in the search page.

If you have a free listing, you’ll also find an option here to Upgrade, which when clicked will take you to the edit process again, where you can select the paid Featured option and then click Submit to launch the checkout process.

If you no longer need the listing, click Delete to go through the removal steps.  This is a separate process from canceling recurring ads, so continue reading for how to do that but be aware that deleting a listing will not stop its associated ads from renewing.

You can also view all of your listings by clicking on the “My Stuff” section:

You will be taken to a page where the first result is your listings:

Be sure to select the appropriate directory, Breeders or Animals, to see the listings and select one for editing.  If you don’t have this section, it is because you are not logged in or logged in to an account other than the one you created the listings in.

Managing Ads

While all basic listings on the website are free, there are a couple of paid options available that will help you advertise your listing or your business while helping me pay the costs of keeping the site.  My heart is in providing a needed service to the herbal livestock community, but I’m also practical and know that the bills need to be paid to make it a long term viable option.  Featured listings and sidebar ads are how I am able to do both.

Featured Listings

Featured listings are options within each listing type that you can select and, for a monthly fee, have your listing weighted to show up at the top of search results.  These are only available to purchase from within the listing itself, which is discussed in detail in the sections above, but to summarize here when you create a listing you will select either a free listing or a featured one and, on submission, be sent to a checkout page where you can pay with PayPal for your recurring monthly cost.  More on canceling down the page.

Featured listings will prioritize your listing in search results; they show at the top of results above basic free listings.

Sidebar Ads

The sidebar ad allows for more relaxed advertising options.  You don’t need to have created a listing to advertise here; in fact, listing ads are not allowed here in order to make room for non-listing ad types.  All ads here are manually reviewed and must be relevant in some way to the natural livestock community.  I’m not extremely strict, but there must be some obvious connection and relevance to the natural livestock world.  Feel free to contact me before submitting an ad here if you have any questions about the relevancy of your product.

Sidebar Ad Types

Sidebar ads are 250×250 pixels and display in image format.  Only three ad spots at a time will be active in this area, which means for the monthly fee, you share the prime ad spot on the site with only two other advertisers and it will automatically rotate through them all.

Recurring Subscriptions

All ads are set to renew automatically and subscriptions are handled entirely through PayPal.  Because PayPal manages the recurring portion, you cannot cancel subscriptions on this website, but must do so from your PayPal account.  See their help document on canceling here.

Managing Your Ad Content

You can view your invoices and all ads through the “My Stuff” section under “Account.”

This is also where you’ll be able to find information about recurring payments you might have for ads you’ve signed up for.  If you have active or past ads, you’ll see both an Invoices section and a Subscriptions section that will look something like this:

Hover over the appropriate row to see a Manage Subscription option appear.  This allows you to view invoices and the details of your ad subscription, but again, you will not be able to cancel the subscription here because the payment portion is managed entirely by PayPal and must be canceled at PayPal’s website.