What’s in a Name?

When I was in 8th grade, I got my first Holstein calf. Like many other unoriginal girls my age, I named her Oreo because, duh, she was black and white (she’s pictured above). Over the years, we’ve gotten to be a little more creative with the names of our cattle, trying to stay away from some of those that are overused, and are often asked where we come up with them, so thought it worth putting into a post for anyone wondering.

Farm Names

All producers have different methods of naming their animals, if they name them. They might have a family line that all starts with the same letter, they may name them after a particular characteristic or like with our cows, they may go with a theme. Our oldest themed family line is probably Nick’s Holstein “candy” line that started with a cow born in 2008 named Candy. She gave birth to Lollipop who is currently our 2nd oldest cow and will be turning 10 this month. In this line we’ve had Skittles, Gumdrop, Licorice, Sprinkles, Baby Ruth and most recently Joy (for Almond Joy), to name a few.

One of our more unique family name lines is our Guernsey line starting with our first Guernsey, Norma Jean. I’m not sure why I chose the name. I guess because I thought of Guernseys as the blondes of the dairy breeds and who’s a more famous blonde than Marilyn Monroe? Either way it fits her, and the line has included Marilyn, Monroe, Elton, Peggy and Roslyn (the last two being characters MM played).

Our Jersey line has traditionally been our spice line, starting with, well Spice, who will also be 10 this year. Over time we’ve kind of run out of spices having so many Jerseys, so now we’ve thrown a few flowers and drag queen names into the mix, along with a Golden Girls’ reference or two. LOL.

Buttercup, Spice’s grand daughter who strayed from the spice name line.

Last, but probably my favorite line, is our Ayrshire line including Tequila, Margarita, Sangria, Bacardi, Bailey, Fireball, and our most recent purchase, Bourbon. Cheers!

Registered Names

Like racehorses or show dogs, the name that appears on a cow’s registration paper from their breed association may have nothing to do with what you call them on the farm. So for example, one of the heifers we just bought, Andrew named Elsie, but on her registration paper, her name is Rex Run Crowder Rosie. For animals born on our farm, we typically use our breed association prefix, the mother’s name, the sire’s name and then the name we call them. For example, Nick’s cow Jujube, her registered name is NLNH Lollipops Vital Jujube. I can write more about registration papers and breed associations in another post if anyone is interested.

Example of a registration paper from a cow that we sold a year or two ago.

So that was probably a very boring read on how we name our cows. What are some your favorite cow, or other animal, names?

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