Most of the pet sites online have lots of names for dogs and cats but it’s not as easy to find names for other pets. That’s too bad because there are lots of other animals that make wonderful pets. Maybe you have a horse, a bird, or a turtle, for example. People on farms have lots of animals and many of them need names, too. Pigs, cows, chickens and other animals can all have fun and interesting names.
You probably don’t want a cow to sit on your lap, and she won’t play fetch with you. She prefers grass over other treats. But there’s no reason not to give your cow a great name. After all, she provides milk and she keeps the grass mowed. If you have a cow, you will be interacting with her often so she needs a good name.
Cows might seem like simple animals but they really aren’t. In their herds they are social and form friendships – and sometimes they don’t like certain individuals. Cows normally lie down and stand up about 14 times per day so if you are driving by a farmer’s field and see a cow lying down, it’s perfectly normal. A cow spends eight hours per day eating, eight hours chewing cud (regurgitated, partially digested food), and eight hours sleeping. No wonder they have to lie down a lot. The average cow produces about eight gallons of milk per day. There are over 800 breeds of cows in the world but only a few of them specialize in producing milk. Cows have one stomach but it has four digestive compartments.
In the U.S. there are more than 70 recognized cattle breeds. The most popular cattle breeds in the U.S. are: the Black Angus (more than 330,000 registered here); the Charolais; the Hereford (dairy); the Simmental; the Red Angus. Other popular breeds in the U.S. are the Texas Longhorn, the Gelbvieh, the Holstein (dairy and beef), the Limousin (more than a million registered), and the Highlands.
Cows and humans
It’s believed that cattle were domesticated from wild aurochs (a large bovine species now extinct) by humans over 10,000 years ago in the area that is now Turkey and the middle east. They may have been domesticated from as few as 80 original animals. It’s believed that cattle might have been the oldest form of wealth and there is evidence that there were often raids to steal herds from other tribes. There are over a billion cattle in the world today.
Wikipedia has a couple of hundred entries for cows in art, literature, and fiction so cows have played an important role in the human world.
Should you name your cow or not?
If you have a thousand head of cattle it’s probably not practical to name them all, especially if they are out grazing on the range most of the time. You are unlikely to know them well enough to name them. On the other hand, if you have a few beef cattle or a small dairy herd, why not name them? You will be interacting with these cows on a regular basis. Your cows will know you and you will know them. It’s not very practical to call each one of them, “Hey, Cow.”
People often wonder if 4-H kids should name their project animals since these animals will ultimately be sold. Why not? Many, even most animals that are raised on farms are sold at some point. That’s no reason why they shouldn’t have names. While they are being raised they receive the best care imaginable and kids put their hearts and souls into raising them. By all means, name your animals. You will remember them fondly for the rest of your lives.
Traditional names for cows
Since cows have been part of the human world for so long, it’s not surprising that there are some common names given to cows. Here are some names that often turn up on farms.
Cows and Heifers
Cute names for cows
If you have a herd of cattle and you are expecting several calves, you might have to get creative to come up with several names for them. Some people like to use themes so they can have several names that are connected. For example, you could use a cartoon theme from SpongeBob and name your calves Bob, Patrick, Eugene, Sandy, Karen, and Squiddy.
Choose a movie that you like and name your calves after the characters. For example, if you’re a Star Wars fan, you could name your calves Kylo, Rey, BB-8, and Finn.
It’s actually kind of fun to see your animals interacting with each other when they have theme names. “Hey, look! BB-8 is chasing Kylo across the field!”
Other good themes include naming your calves after celebrities, favorite songs, characters in books, fruit, vegetables, car models, spices, flowers – anything that appeals to you. If you have calves year after year, you know that it can get hard to come up with distinctive names. At least using a theme helps you group the calves together in your mind.
If you have one very special animal, use that great name you’ve been saving and hope that s/he lives up to it.
It’s fine to use any name that appeals to you when naming your cow. Remember that cows have distinctive personalities like other animals. When you get to know your cow one name might pop into your head that seems perfect for her. You might intend to call your cow Daisy but after getting to know her, she lets you know that she’s really a Maybelline! Cows are funny that way.