La Feria News

Animal Nomenclature II

Grace Heritage Ranch

In our last article, we discussed the various names for cattle. Although many other animals have specific names, they are not quite as diversified as the cattle.

Goats: A female goat is called a “doe”, while a male is called a “buck”. The young goats are called “kids” with female kids being “doelings” and male kids being “bucklings”. A male goat that has been castrated is called a “wether”. “But wait!” you say. “What about billy goats and nanny goats?”

While these are technically correct for male and female goats, they are more like slang terms and are not generally used.

Sheep: A male sheep is a “ram” and a female sheep is a “ewe”. Young sheep up to a year old are called “lambs” with no specific names related to the sexes besides to call then “ram lambs” and “ewe lambs”. Like in goats, a castrated ram is also called a “wether”.

Donkeys: A female donkey is called either a “jenny” or a “jennet” and a male donkey is a “jack”. A castrated male is said to have been “gelded” and is therefore called a “gelding”. Baby donkeys are called “foals”, although if you know the baby is a male you can call it a “colt”.

All this nomenclature may seem confusing at first, but learning the proper terms will help clarify matters in the long run. Then again, you may be saying, “Look, I really don’t care about all these technical terms. I don’t plan to purchase livestock or have any kinds of dealings with them.”

Your point is well taken. Perhaps another time we can discuss a few of the more frequently used names for some livestock animals such as hamburger, barbacoa, cabrito, chicken, and turkey. We might even discuss the “care” involved in dealing with them.

To learn even more and get hands-on experience, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen, TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at or . For a recorded message, please call 1-855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.


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