Farm Pet “Match the Name” Game

Have you ever wondered how farm kids come up with names for pets? The logic of children still astounds me, even after spending many years as a child and now raising three of them myself.

Here are some of my favorite farm pet names from over the years. See if you can match up the name with the right pet. The answers are at the bottom of this post.

Donkey”                                                                     A gray hen of unknown pedigree
“Angelina”                                                                   My first pony, a brown Shetland
“Bummer”                                                                   Multiple farm kittens
“Putt Putt”                                                                  2000+ pound Brown Swiss bull
“Tuna”                                                                         Runt pig (female)

Donkey” grew into a 2400 pound Brown Swiss bull. When my father bought him as a calf, the owner said that his son saw the bull calf on the trailer and asked “Whatcha gonna do with that donkey?”. The name stuck. Donkey lived a long and full life on our farm. Once or twice a year it came time for him to leave the cow lot and visit the heifer pen. Dad would fashion a halter out of twine, fill a bucket with ground feed and together they would slowly walk the quarter mile, stopping every now and then so that Donkey could get a bite out of the bucket and Dad could scratch his ears.

“Angelina” the hen is one of our oldest laying hens. My sons used similar logic to name the rest of the chickens: Julie, Charlene, Brian, James….Because of her soft feathers and green eggs, Angelina is usually the chicken selected to visit classrooms and other activities to introduce city kids to farm animals.

“Bummer” was my first pony. He was a bi-polar Shetland who alternated between sweet and maddeningly stubborn, sometimes within the span of a few minutes. I have no idea how he got his name, but I am certain that some farm kid who cried over the pony’s failure to walk when cued was involved. He also lived a long life, but I’m convinced that is because he was too stubborn to die.

“Putt Putt” was the standard name my husband and his brothers gave to multiple farm kittens. When kittens purr, the noise resembles a motor and boys are definitely not going to choose names like cuddles, fluffy, etc.

“Tuna” the pig was actually named “Petunia”. She was a runt who lived her early days in my parent’s basement. My three-year-old self could not pronounce Petunia and so she became “Tuna”. She went on to a long life raising many litters of piglets at our farm.

How many did you get right? Put your answer in the comments section. I would also love to hear about some of the other funny pet names out there!

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About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at http://aldersonangus.wordpress.com.
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5 Responses to Farm Pet “Match the Name” Game

  1. RitaB says:

    Skinny, Daisy, Ali Cat, Mama Kitty, Pinky, Fritzy and there always seemed to be a Curly in the barn!

    • jheem says:

      Love those! I even have a draft blog post about our Mama Kitty! Your comment even reminds me of a bull we had named Curly….thanks for helping me remember that!

  2. Well, our farm animals weren’t pets, but we named a Hereford steer “Arlene” (yeah, I know, wrong gender), after an Amish neighbor. And it was meant with the best of intentions, I assure you.

  3. Pingback: His Name is Donkey | Fence Post Diaries

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