Mary, Mary, Bo-berry, banana-fanna-fo-ferie...
Naming baby goats is one of the most difficult and time consuming processes in the industry. You think I exaggerate? It wouldn't be such a chore if only one person were involved. Me? I'd name 'em Fred, Maxine, George, whatever. But it's better, I've been told by my roommate, that names should match the temperament or physical attributes of the goat. "OK", I say. "What's the matter with Fatty or Snot"? Like I said... It'd be easier if only one of us were naming the goats.
Back in the good old days all we did was look at the goat and the first thing that popped into our mind was the goat's name. Ginnie & R.O. Hall had a pair of twins - one with a spot of red on it's back and one without a spot of red on it's back. They named them Spot & Not. This made so much sense to me that when we had twins, one with wattles and one without, I wanted to name them Wattle & Nottle. Lucinda wasn't having any of that so they got named Sugar & Spice. One of them gave birth to a doe that went on to be awarded Grand Champion several times and, to this day, I don't know if it's Sugar's kid or Spices' - I do know that her momma was the one with the wattles.
We did it the easy way in 1994. The first kid born here was immediately named Stormy. He came into the world in the middle of a thunderstorm. Targe' was a gimme', too; the color pattern on her side was in the shape of an archer's target. Bad Attitude and Mean Momma (Lucinda's interpretation of the less-than-general-audience names I used for them) were obvious names for the two bullies of the mob. Shoe-Fits, a switched-letter name for a gal with a Foo Manchu beard; Florence, our Florence Nightingale, was purchased as a blood donor for Sadie who we let get totally down with parasites. Drexel - I have no idea where that name came from. Tuesday - guess which day of the week she was born on.
When we bought Doc Dooley in 1996 we needed a more dignified way of naming his offspring. It was decided that all his full blood kids would be named Doc's something. Well... We had Doc's Zhivago, Doc's Lara, Doc's Rockford, Doc's Harley, etc., etc. The next year we bought an extremely fine doe named Fire-n-Ice. Her kids, of course, had to be named Doc's Firewalker, Doc's Firedancer, and Doc's Fire & Ice.
One sure method of complicating the process is by using theme-based names; like requiring that the names begin with the tattoo year letter or using map names. In late 1997 we switched to geography based names... Doc's Dakota, Doc's Montana, Doc's Laredo, ad nauseam.
"K" was a pretty good year for our naming of goats; Kai, Kayla, Keeley, Kharma... We had to throw in an occasional out-rider, though, because there are a limited number of non-Hawaiian names that start with K.
"L" was a banner year for us, name wise; Logan, Lenasia, Layla... We further complicated matters by trying to use only Afrikaans words and names. At kid number 32 we were almost half way through the kids but had run out of meaningful Afrikaans words that started with "L". We decided that maybe we'd best go back to the old way. Besides, MaryJane was an honorable name; easy to spell and easier to remember - specially since Lucinda said that the goat's flipped up ears reminded her of the hair style worn by the girl in the "MaryJane" shoe ads of the 1950s. We got back on the "L" band wagon as soon as I discovered an on-line Swahili dictionary: We had names like Lingana, which means "be the same" (the goat looked just like a miniature version of his daddy); Laabu, meaning "amuse self" (guess why we named him that); Lainika, short for "gentle, soft"; Lisasi, "tin soldier";... This was a gold mine!
By the time the "M" year, 2000, rolled around we decided that this cutesie naming was getting out of hand - we only named about half of the kids using "M" - and most of those names were good ol' USofA names. We named one Pom-pom because she jumped around like a cheerleader on cafine. We ended up with Megan & Marcie, twins, of course, but mostly a whole bunch of names that had very little to do with any "theme". It wasn't until two weeks ago that I noticed that we had a buck in 1999 named Li'l Buddy and one in 2000 named Little Buddy, both named that way because they resembled their sire Buddy.
And... you never name one destined for the freezer. Well, almost never. Take, for example, Bridgette, a 7/8 Boer doe kid. She was big for her 30 days old but all of a sudden her hooves started acting like they were on steroids. Those darn hooves would grow about 1/8 inch a day - every day! This goat was freezer bait if there ever was such a thing. So we changed her name to Brisket - you know, as in the chunk of meat that you put on your table now and then? Well, anyway... we kept trimming her feet but otherwise treating her just like the other kids in her age group... including immunizations. Then we realized that there must be some kind of withdrawal time on the immunizations before she could be slaughtered - She'd have to wait to go to the butcher. Now, what with all the other things that go on around a farm that keep a body busy, she was all of a sudden 6 months old and her hooves were just like any other goat's. When we were sure she wasn't going to go into remission, she was 18 months old by then, we went ahead and bred her. What'd we get? Only two of the nicest little 15/16 kids you ever saw. Her name's Bridgette again.
We have a rule here... if a goat has a flaw, like not enough color, too much color, an extra teat, whatever, it can never have a name. That goat will forever be known only by her ear tag number.
We turn every goat over when it's born and check the teats. If we see more than 2 on each side, 2 on each side but not fully separated, clusters, fishtails, anything like that, we write the fact down in our notebook and don't name the kid. If they are really good otherwise and the flaw isn't a a real bad one, though, we'll go ahead and register them, using their ID number as their name, with plans to sell them as commercial stock.
L048 is a real good example of this: I've got a piece of paper right here in front of me that says, in my own handwriting, that L048 has two teats on each side but that they are joined at the base. Well... once you write down something there's no need in going back to check later, is there? Shoot! It's a fact by then. When L048's giant buck kid was born we dipped his navel, looked under him, looked in his mouth, and wrote down that every thing was good. Then I noticed L048's udder. She had 2 normal teats on each side. About 2 inches between the ones on each side. !#@$!@#$. She shoulda' had a name! And what's worse is that now, since I can't trust my notes, I have to go look under every goat on the place to double check myself.
Krista Darnell just e-mailed the following:
"I considered namin' 'em Plywood, Siding, Toilet, New Truck, Washer and Dryer for a pair of twins, etc. At this rate, that might be the only way I ever get those things."
This year has been easy...
Inta - She's "inta" everything,
Evie - She's in to "evie" thing,
Ting - He's in to every "ting",
Esstoo - Stands for "Situation-II",
S2'sbrother - Poor guy has no identification of his own,
Stripe - His blaze looks like a stripe on his face,
Sludleft - Her blaze looks like it's sliding off of the left of her face,
Sludright - Her blaze looks like it's sliding off of the right of her face,
(If "slud" isn't the past tense of "slid" then it should be.)
Scooter - It took her a while to figure out her back legs,
Pete - Just because we've never had a Pete before,
Helios - His buyer sure comes up with better names than we do,
FlashGordon - The flashiest, most active buck kid on the place,
and it goes on and on and on and on and on.
And next kidding season... We get to do it all over again.