What's in a Name?

Chosen carefully before the arrival of a baby, name books being pored over, 
trying the "ring" of different ones. 

Even naming a pet can be a difficult process. I helped a friend look over dog names not long ago when she and her husband purchased a puppy.

Livestock naming... well, there are a few schools of thought on it. Here are a few:

1. They shouldn't be named. Period. Don't name your food.
2. They should be named after the cuts we will get... Sirloin, Bacon, Drumstick, etc.

3. They can have names (but you will be warned by everyone AND their brother that you'll become hopelessly attached and will NEVER be able to sell them...)

Here is my take on it... it's hard to differentiate between animals you're talking about if you're constantly saying "you should've seen what that black steer... the one that's taller... no, the one that likes to be petted... no, no, the other one!" 

I really don't like the thought of naming them cuts... it just doesn't seem very friendly...

So I name our animals. Yep - even though I know they're going to be butchered.

Last spring, we bought a package deal of feeder cattle - 6 of them, and I named them all. I caught a lot of grief for it, but I wanted my cows to have names. 

So they did: Ernie, Shorty, Curly, Piggy, Dean, and Molly! 

I knew from before we bought them that they would be turned into delicious cuts of meat to sell to hungry customers, but I wanted to enjoy them while I had them and avoid the whole description game when talking about them. 

When Kevin was working long hours, I'd often call him to tell him what shenanigans I encountered during feeding. It was a lot easier to say that "Dean kept moo-ing and really wanted more grain and then Piggy was licking me" instead of "The black/white face steer kept moo-ing ... and then the all-black, polled steer..." 

So, as you can imagine, I was pretty attached to our beef. That would have happened regardless of whether they had names or not. It's hard to work day in and day out with a small herd of livestock and not become attached. 

However, when the day came to take them to the butcher, I was not so attached that I couldn't do it. I helped load and deliver them and didn't shed a tear! (Honestly, I kind of surprised myself!) Knowing that they would be sold and the money used to expand our dream of farming helped a lot. 

What's my take on naming now? Well, I haven't had to name our Beltie steers because they have eartags, so I call them by number. We've got 1001, 1104, 1102 (yellow), and 1102 (white). It's kind of a mouthful, but it works! If they didn't have tags, I'd name them, but because they do, I'll use the more generic way of referring to them. 

I'm very excitedly awaiting the arrival of our bred heifers because guess what! They can be more pet-like for me because they will (Lord-willing) be sticking around for a long time!! YAY! - You can bet they will have "real" names though!

We have some incredible memories with those first six cattle - Ernie, Shorty, Curly, Dean, Piggy, and Molly! (Be watching later this week for a post that talks more about them.) But now we've moved forward and are looking forward to growing our herd of Belted Galloways to produce a superior beef product for our customers! (And let's be honest - they look SO cool and are very even tempered! Two HUGE pluses in our book!)