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Where do our names come from?

Every animal who lives here at Rancho Roben has a name. We feel strongly that the names of our animals be respectful; we never use names that sound like puns, jokes, or like any kind of poking fun at the animal. For example, if we had a three-legged dog, we would refuse to call him "Limpy" and if we had a deaf horse we wouldn't call her "Screamer." Although we've heard it suggested many times, we will NEVER name a chicken anything like "Barbeque," "Sriracha," or "Teriyaki." We understand that other's use "funny" names for their animals. It's just not something we do here.

So where do the names come from??

Some animals come to us with a name, and we keep it! As long as the name is something we find acceptable, we don't change it just for the sake of changing it. Top to bottom, left to right: Michelle, Red, Fiona, Sahmi & Jiffy, Pepper.

Some animals come with a name that is close to a good fit, but doesn't feel completely right, so we adjust it just a bit.

This rooster was originally named Pollo. When I first saw it in print, I thought "Oh cool! Like the Olympic Speed Skater Apollo Ono!" But then I realized that it wasn't a hard L but rather a Y-sounding L, and the name was the Spanish word for "chicken." You might think that's ok - but it didn't feel right. If I understand it correctly, pollo is Spanish for chicken that you EAT, and gallo is Spanish for the living bird. So if he had been named Gallo (hard or soft L) I might have been ok with it. But Pollo wasn't right. So we named him Paul!

This rooster came to us with the name Hope. Aside from the fact that Hope is a traditionally female name, we already have a bird named Hope! So I wanted to change it to something that would be a better fit for a handsome, energetic little rooster. I looked up the word "Hope" in other languages and found that VON is the Icelandic equivalent, so we went with that. Feels like a GREAT fit.

Many animals come to us with no name at all, so we get to choose. Sometimes it is just a random name that feels like a good fit, such as for Spike and Scarlett:

Sometimes I'm on a real biblical kick, such as for Caleb and Solomon:

I truly love naming animals after people we know and love who support our rescue efforts. These are just a few examples, top to bottom, left to right: Lavender, Peter, Marcelo, Babette, and Jeremy.

When we don't have anyone in particular to name an animal after, I look for traditional names from the region or country where the animal breed is from. It feels too overwhelming to just think of a name out of ALL the possible names on earth, so I at least narrow it down by a bit.

For example, our livestock guardian dogs are half Pyrenees half Akbash, which is a Turkish livestock breed.... so I looked for Turkish boy names and found Altan & Emre:

When Wanda the duck hatched three babies, it was clear that they were going to survive but it wasn't yet clear if they were males or females. I looked up androgynous Russian names, because Wanda is a Muscovy duck, and Muscovies originally came from Russia. Thus I came up with Sascha, Nikola, and Georgi:

One final example - our Nigerian dwarf goat babies. I looked up words and names in Yoruba, the language of Nigeria. Keke, short for Kekere, means "small, and Ife means "love." Couldn't imagine more perfect names for these darling girls:


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