The Naming of Goats

Goat with ear tag

I’d always loved goats—every one
of them different from every other one,
and all of them goofy and playful.

— Steve Watkins, What Comes After


So you’ve finally resolved to make the leap: whether for their milk, or fiber, or simple companionship, you’ve decided to add some goats to your family menagerie. In preparation, you have…

  • Read everything you can get your hands on about the care and feeding of goats;
  • Set aside a chuck of land big enough to accommodate your new goat friends;
  • Enclosed it with a fence tall and strong enough to hold them (remember, goats are curious and love to climb things, or else eat through them);
  • Built a small barn or other roofed enclosure to house them in inclement weather (goats hate to get wet);
  • Invested in stainless steel buckets and a milking bench (if delving into the goat milk and cheese business is your plan), and created a sanitary environment for serious dairy production; and
  • Picked out the breed and gender of goats you want to keep and brought them to their new home.

Now all that’s left is to choose names for your goats (and get them imprinted on durable Ketchum goat ear tags). Coming up with suitable names may be the hardest part of all—but also the most fun. Continue reading “The Naming of Goats”

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Press Clippings: Amicable Animals

Dog with guinea pig friend

We all can get along.

— Rodney King


For many people, nowadays it feels like “knives out” is the new name of the game. Everybody seems to be on edge over one thing or another. In a world where “road rage” is all the rage, publicly expressing a personal opinion is just as likely to win you a round of applause as a punch in the nose. One side hates the other—and for the other side the feeling is entirely mutual.

This is not good.

In these divided times, we do well to heed the words of America’s prophet–poet, Walt Whitman:

I think I could turn and live with animals,
they are so placid and self-contain’d…

One of the important life lessons we humans can learn from the fellow creatures with which we share our planet is simply this: how to get along with each other, no matter our differences. Continue reading “Press Clippings: Amicable Animals”

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Guide to Cow Tags and Other Cattle Identification Methods [Infographic]

Stable of cows with ear tags

Whether you own one head of cattle or thousands, it is important to manage your herd properly. At its most basic level, “herd management” means keeping track of your cows through some means of reliable identification. In previous centuries, this meant simply guarding against loss or thievery. One of the oldest methods of doing so was to mark the animals permanently with a brand, which left on the skin a unique identifying symbol to establish ownership of the animals.

Nowadays, the purposes for identifying cattle have multiplied. In addition to proving ownership, those who keep cattle should also maintain accurate records regarding performance, breeding, origin of the animal, its health, vaccination history, and intake of antibiotics and other medicinal treatments. Of particular importance is the need for “Animal Disease Traceability” (ADT), intended to help prevent the spread of brucellosis and other types of serious contagious infections among herds. Continue reading “Guide to Cow Tags and Other Cattle Identification Methods [Infographic]”

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Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Animals in European Art (Part 2)

Statue of Pegasus on Milan Stazione Centrale Train Station

Continued from Part 1


Symbolic and Decorative Animals

The more I looked, the more I saw. Countless times I saw it in Christian religious art, where the four Gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are typically depicted, respectively, as a divine man, a winged lion, a winged ox, and an eagle. Clustered on the roof of the Croatian National State Archives building in Zagreb I noticed a parliament of Croatian owls, symbols of wisdom. And in Florence I met Il Porcellino (“the Piglet”), Baroque master Pietro Tacca’s popular boar fountain, sculpted in 1634 and situated now in the city’s Mercato Nuovo. Visitors traditionally put a coin into the boar’s jaws for good luck and then rub its snout to ensure a return to Florence. As a result, the snout always has a polished sheen, while the rest of its body remains a patinated brownish-green. (Of course, I rubbed its snout like there was no tomorrow!) Continue reading “Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Animals in European Art (Part 2)”

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Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Animals in European Art (Part 1)

Pigeon resting in cornice, Milan

Guest Blog by Frank Weaver


‘I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.’

— Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself, 32” (from Leaves of Grass)


As we enter this season of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men,” it is worthwhile to be reminded that in this deeply conflicted world, while there may be many things that divide people—borders, currency, language, religion, politics—there are many more things that unite us in harmony. One of those unifying principles is our common relationship with animals: not merely as food or pets or helpmates, but in the simple awe and affection they have always inspired in the human psyche. It is a sentiment that stretches not only across great geographical distances but across the vast chasm of time itself.

The Little Hunt
A well-preserved mosaic excavated at the 4th-century Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily, Italy, showing hunters with their dogs capturing a variety of game. (Source)
Continue reading “Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Animals in European Art (Part 1)”

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