Skip to content

Naming Goats: How do I Keep up with Them All?

  • by
  • 5 min read

When I’m first telling somebody that I have goats or when I am setting up a goat landscaping project, one of the first questions I always get is “Do they all have names?”

Of course, all of them do, and I tell them that.

A lot of times, the conversation continues and the customer or friends inquires on how many goats I have. At the time of this writing, that number is at 23. That then leads people to their next question: “How do you keep up with them and all of their names?”

Well, in this post I’m going to get right into it and answer that very question.

For one, I name all of my goats that I have. When I only had three goats, admittedly, this was not the case. I had Scampers, Bales Goats’ first goat, alongside two unnamed goats that only went by ‘medium goat’ and ‘big goat.’ Those two goats would go on to be named Nanny and Nanko. I lost Nanko a little over a year ago, but Nanny and Scampers are still part of my herd, as well as some of their kids including Snoopy, Merry, Pippin, and Scampers’ grandkid, Goaty.

To you, I’m likely just rambling off names now. However, my point in doing so is demonstrating a few examples of the names I have in my heard. 

One of the easiest ways to remember all of the names is to give the goats related names, or themed names. 

I name a lot of my goats after 80s movies and pop culture references. I also give siblings, parents, and goats that I bought together related names.

With my first goat, Scampers, my brother had named her when he was still the one who wanted to have her as a pet. But, her first daughter, Scuttles, was named after a synonym of the word ‘scampers.’ Nanny and Nanko, who were bought together to form the original trio were given the paired names of Abe Lincoln’s own pet goats. 

My first buck, a Boer-Kiko-Saanen mix, was named Gizmo because the thickness and coloring of his fur resembled Gizmo from Gremlins, a personal favorite movie.

His and Scampers’ kids would then be named Merry and Pippin, Lord of the Rings’ references. 

As Gizmo was retired and went to a new home so I could switch out bucks, my next buck, a full Boer goat, was named Ferris. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is probably my all-time favorite movie. The next two Boer goats I got were named Cameron and Sloane, respectively.

I also have a Nubian doe named Ripley after the main character in Aliens.

New to the herd this year, I had Snoopy, Sally, and Charlie named after the Peanuts gang.

But not all of my goats are pop culture references. A lot of them just paired names, including Smirky and another Boer doe I had bought with her, Smiley. 

Sometimes, I come up with names based on when they are born, such as Luna, who I named because she was born on the new moon despite us expecting her to be born on the full moon.

I also sometimes let people close to me name them, as was the case with Goaty, Angel, and Smirky. Angel was named by my dad, and the other two were named by a close friend of mine.

I also have quite a few who were named before I bought them, which is how I ended up a goat named Lucas. 

I still remember getting Lucas. I bough him with another wether, Gus. Their former owner was leading Lucas (who’s name I didn’t know at the time) to my car to load him up, while I followed suit with Gus. I then heard the guy’s wife say “Gus will probably just follow Lucas.” I had heard Gus’ name, so I knew I had Gus and at first, I thought they were saying that Gus would just follow me, which I was surprised by. They kept talking and I quickly realized they were either really rude of Lucas was the name of the other goat. Thankfully, it was the latter.

But, with all those, the question still begs: “How do I keep up with all of them?”

The answer is simple: I only ever add 1-2 goats at a time, so each addition is gradual. This prevents me from getting too overwhelmed, as well as simply making my life easier.

I also quarantine new goats for a short time in order to handle them one-on-one and make sure that they are truly healthy and safe to introduce to my herd.

If I still can’t keep track of the goats like this, to be honest, I’ve probably added too many goats too quickly.

If that happens to be the case, I have to resort to looking at specific markings and such to keep track, as well as watching the way the goats interact with each other and who they specifically interact with.

Just like people, goats all of their own individual personality and their own cliques within the herd. You just have to know your goats and know what to look for. This is also useful for assessing if something is wrong with one of your goats. If a goat is acting different from their normal personality, or ‘off,’ then that’s a great indicator that something is wrong.