Naming a new generation of milk goats is a highlight for a lot of the folks at Goatsbeard Farm. All of our milk goats get names that indicate their year of birth and who else they are related to in the herd. Each goat has a collar with a plastic tag that has a three or four letter version of their name. Sometimes the tags fall off and it can be awhile till it gets replaced, but we know who they are.
Our goats aren’t registered, but it is tradition in goat registries (and other farm animal registries) to assign a letter to each year. In the American Dairy Goat Association the letter for 2019 is ‘L.’ Goats born in 2019 get a tattoo and a name that starts with the letter ‘L.’ Last year the letter was ‘K.’ Next year will be ‘M.’ (They go in alphabetical order.)
Whie we don’t follow the goat registry, we do go in alphabetical order. Our 2019 letter is ‘T.’ If you know what the current letter is, and know the name of a goat, you can do some calculations and figure out the age of each of our goats, with a couple exceptions.
The other part of the naming code are the line themes. Our oldest goat is Champion (she is actually from the ‘H’ year, which makes her 13 years old, but when human kids are part of the naming process sometimes there is some creative leeway. Pete is 17 now so he was 4 when we were naming Champ.) Anyway, Champion is a champion. She’s a great milker, and we like to keep her female kids. The last two years she’s had males, but before that she had a girl that we named Royals, for the championship baseball team.
We have a line named for things in the sky (or Celestial Objects, if you are over the age of 8) that includes Supernova (not in alphabetical order) who was Orbit ‘s mom and Soleil (Orbit’s offspring). A line for rivers with Lamine and Saline.
And a line for spices starting with Garum Masala, daughter Mole, granddaughter Ras El Hanout, and the newest member, great-granddaughter Turmeric. You can see how it is a fun process, that often requires a group effort, and frequently some stretching of the ‘rules.’
Each year we aim to keep 8 or 10 female kids to keep our herd going. Jenn chooses the kids from good milkers, that have solid conformation and good health. Naming becomes a community activity with Jenn and farm friend and volunteer, Jill Lucht, acting as the deciders and record keepers.
This year’s weanlings are:
Theodora: mother is Oncler from the Dr. Suess line.
Unnamed: mother is Roxanne (name of a comet from 2017) from the Things in the Sky line.
Turmeric: mother is Ras El Hanout from the Spice line.
Tigris or Thames (undecided): mother is Lamine from the River line.
Tart: mother is Key Lime from the Pie line.
Twain: mother is Ibsen from the Authors line
Tint: mother is Oily from the Art Supplies line.
TimTom Tip Tubby: mother is Kilowatt from the All Things Electric line. This name needs a little explaining…I think we have have human kid, Cyrus, to thank for TimTom, which is a cartoon born and raised on YouTube—one of his favorites, maybe? Since it was born on and is stored in the internets, all it really is is electricity, so… ‘Tip’ is because the tips of her ears got frostbit in the cold weather this spring and ‘Tubby’ is because she’s a little chubby. Rule stretching, when you make the rules and they are your goats, you get to do what you want. The perks of being a farmer!
Tatooine: mother is JarJar Binks from the Star Wars line.
Bonus: If you have a name recommendation for Roxanne’s kid, you can share it on our Facebook page. Remember it needs to start with a T and have a ‘Things in the Sky’ or celestial theme.