Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's In a Name...

For some, choosing a name is simple. ..Perhaps you like to use a family name, to make a special connection to a loved one…Perhaps you choose a name that has a specific meaning…Perhaps you simply like the way it sounds when you yell out the back door about 15 times…
When we named our children, their middle names were chosen because of a connection with someone in the family.  Their first names had to be simple…my name has been misspelled and mispronounced most of my life, and I didn’t want that for our kids…
When it comes to the cows…our calves are each given a numbered ear tag at birth…this tells us at a glance their sequence in age, and takes us directly to their spot in the heifer identification book where their birthday and genealogy is listed.  If one of the cows also has a name, they’ve earned it! 

Recently, we had fun looking back through our heifer books, reminiscing about some of the names we’ve used in the past.  Here is a sampling…
Mary – there’s always a Mary in the barn.  She’s usually a cow with a very nice personality.
Attitude – hmmm…I wonder what her personality was like?
Perdita – was speckled and reminded us of a Dalmatian…remember the movie 101 Dalmatians?
Houdini – could escape from her stall with ease at the most inopportune times.
Tipsy – couldn’t walk in a straight line.
Jackson – at least one person had fun riding her like a horse…like General Stonewall Jackson
Patti – named after the wanna- be girlfriend of a young man who was living with us.
Flicka – looked like a race horse …from the book My Friend Flicka.
Goliath – was a giant calf.
Tongueless – as an ever curious first calf heifer, she managed to stick her tongue through a guard on a fan, and sliced off 2”-3” of her tongue.  We hand fed her grass for several weeks while her tongue healed.  She made a full recovery and lived a long, productive life.  She always had to be in a stall where she could push against the edge of the feed trough to get the feed into her mouth, since her tongue was so short!
Bartlette – had a pear shaped spot on her forehead.
Job – she had some rough times in her life!
Stumpy -  was short and stumpy.
Belle – she was named after her sire, Belltone, a well known bull In his time.  She just turned twelve this month... the oldest cow in the barn, and the leader of the pack.
Ringley – one of the first cows that had a ring in her nose.  She will be twelve in October!
Light bulb Lily – this one was from way back, before my time.  Someone apparently thought that her teats were shaped like light bulbs (what a way to be remembered!)
Willard and Arlene – were twins, and we named them after my aunt and uncle.  Willard was rather short and stocky like my uncle…Arlene was a tremendous cow who milked well over 100 lbs. per day! (and no, my aunt and uncle were not offended…they thought it was amusing!)  We named their heifer calves using my cousins’ nicknames… Sissie and Weasie.
Sampson – was a big, strong cow who liked to throw her weight around.
Lazarus – almost died from pneumonia as a calf, and had some other close calls.  You can read her story here
Dirty Pig – self explanatory J
Nameless – I guess we were out of ideas on this one!
This is just a small sampling...as we remember more, I'll pass them on to you!
How do you come up with names for your animals?


  1. In 4-H I knew the future of my steers, so it was simple: red, yellow, black:) My horse was Johnny Booger, my Grandpa said a booger was a lost calf (he was always the last horse wandering in). Well, come rodeo time Johnny Booger wasn't a very becoming name, so he bacame Johnny Be Goode (also very fitting for his personality). I loved your post. Brought back memories. Oh can't forget Filly my short fat bottle fed calf. I wanted a horse and ended up bottle feeding a calf. Ended up we had her 12 years and she had twins 5 times! Good girl!

  2. This was such a fun post, Alica. We don't have any cattle, but when I found myself with 7 cats, I had to come up with names pretty quick. I just named them by how they looked to me, except the two black twin males, who I can never tell apart. They are just "kitty." :) Others are Gibbs, Jack, Howie, Tuki, Poppy.

  3. Generally, I just get to know them and eventually they will reveal their name to me. We also had a Goliath~our biggest kid ever!

  4. Our only pet...a cat...came to us already named. Rocky has been a great match for our family. He was in a few fights with the neighborhood dogs...only one of which required a visit to the vet. We named the neighbor cat, who would wander over for visits, Adrienne...remember the line in the movie "Yo, Adrienne!"?(Hi Alica!!! Its me....Rhoda!!)

  5. I'm sure glad to hear that "Mary" has a very nice personality!! :-)


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