Did you know that every cow on our farm has a name?
This is my calf, True-North Shan Poppy-RED PO, or “Poppy” for short.
Each of our cows is “registered” with a breed association. Their identification, genealogy, owners, and genetic information is recorded and a certificate of registration is given to us. Just like all of our cows, Poppy was given a unique name when she was registered. Here is a picture of Poppy’s registration paper:
So how do we decide on our cows’ names, and why are they so long?
Every cows’ name starts with something called a “prefix”. Most farms have their own registered prefix that they use when registering all of their cattle. My family farm’s prefix is Richmond-FD (it stands for Richmond Farms Dairy) and almost all of our cows have names beginning with that. A few years ago I applied for my own personal prefix to use for my cows. My prefix is True-North, and only cows where I am listed as the original owner (called the breeder) can have a name that starts with it. Prefixes are quite neat because it helps you instantly recognize who the breeder of the cow was. Some prefixes, like Regancrest, Budjon, Hanover Hill, and Round Oak have become legendary.
So now we know why Poppy’s name starts with True-North, what about the next part? Well, we usually try to incorporate parts of both the sire’s (father’s) and dam’s (mother’s) name into the offspring’s name. Since Poppy’s sire’s name is Alampco Shanosber I put Shan in Poppy’s name as a nod to her sire.
The “Poppy” part of Poppy’s name took some consideration. We often choose a theme to name each cow family tree after. Poppy’s family theme is flowers. Her dam (mother) is named Jonquil, her grand-dam (grandmother) was named Sunflower, and her great-grand-dam (great-grandmother) was named Daisy. I decided on “Poppy” because, not only is it one of my favorite flowers, but since Poppy has red spots, I thought a red flower name would be perfect for that.
The last part of Poppy’s name, the RED and PO, are suffixes added by the breed association. RED indicates that Poppy is a special kind of Holstein known as “Red & White” and has red spots instead of black. The PO is an abbreviation for “polled”. Polled means that an animal is naturally without horns, and will never grow them.
True-North Shan Poppy-RED PO.
Now you know how we name the cows on our farm. Their care is important to us, even down to the little detail of naming!
-The Farming Daughter
P.S. I apologize to all of you who received the email notification several days ago before the post was finished. I accidentally hit “publish” prematurely. 😛