A flock must contain at least one of each of the item types (e.g. breed, environment, etc). These have to be pre-defined under inputs. Once this has been done, simply drag the required items into the corresponding experiment folder. For example, if a breed called modern broiler had been created in inputs, and an ’empty’ flock called ‘New flock’ has been created under Flocks, then drag the modern broiler item from inputs onto the flock. It is important to note that only one copy of each input item exists, so if an item is edited after it has been included in a flock, the input data for the experiment also changes. Unless the experiment is re-run after this change, the results displayed will be from the previous version of the input data, and will thus be invalid for the new input data. There may be cases where a variable may differ between Input and Flocks section entries. This applies to those factors for which additional values may be added in the Flocks section.
As items are dragged, the cursor changes to indicate whether it is possible to drop the item at the current position. If the cursor shows the shortcut sign then the item may be dropped.
There is one special case, namely the cropping schedule. Revenues cannot be dragged into a flock directly, but are added to the flock when a cropping schedule containing them is added to the flock. If a cropping schedule is subsequently changed to contain different revenues, then the flock is updated to hold the new list of revenues. Revenues cannot be removed from a flock directly, but if no schedule in the flock makes use of them, they will be removed automatically.
Items (other than revenues) that have been added to a flock may be deleted by choosing Delete from the pop-up menu of that item.
A flock may be designed to consist of more than one treatment. This is done in one of two ways:
- By adding more than one item of a particular type, e.g. two breeds.
- By defining more than one value for a particular variable in an item. This only applies to a subset of the item types, namely, breeds, economics and managements. The other variables with which this may be done are the initial Percentage male and Male and Female day old chick weights which may be found under the Design tab of the experiment’s details.
Each possible combination of these additional items defines a treatment, e.g. if two breeds were added, and the Percentage male field were set to 0, 50 and 100%, then the experiment consists of six (2×3) treatments. The description of each treatment is displayed under the Treatments tab of the flock. If a flock includes more than one treatment, then the left window shows a list containing the flock variables that are being compared. The right-hand table has one cell for each treatment, and shows the combination of the variables used in a particular treatment.