A Heifer Named Herschel? {And Pregnant Cow Vulva Pictures}


I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a girl named “Herschel.”

Cow 101: A “heifer” is a female cow who has not had a calf. So tiny baby girl calves are heifers, and grown female cows pregnant with their first calves are also heifers until that first baby is born. All that for free, folks. You’re welcome.

If you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you’re probably aware that Buttermilk, one of our Jersey girls, had her very first calf several weeks ago. And who doesn’t love a good cow birth story?

The only thing that can make a cow birth story even better is when you have vulva pics to go along with the time leading up to calving. Lucky for you, I was out there the very morning of the blessed event photographing Buttermilk’s vulva and bag (because when you’re wondering when a baby calf will be born, you look at mom’s body for clues).

And so I present to you, Herschey’s birth day story.

It was an unseasonably warm late winter day, a Saturday (February 28, 2015 to be exact), so the whole family was outside working in the garden right smack dab in the middle of the cow pasture. We noticed Buttermilk, who was due to calve “sometime in February,” was acting annoyed and uncomfortable- up and down, moving around a lot. My post-baby brain may not always land me the title of sharpest tool in the shed, but I thought I better begin the documentation of Buttermilk’s lady parts, since surely she’d be calving soon.

buttermilk baby day 1

buttermilk baby day 2

Even though her vulva looked pretty gnarly, her bag (udder) was so small compared to Elsie Marley’s pre-calving bag, so I thought we still had a few days left. Maybe even a few weeks… Seriously, below is a picture of both cows on the day they calved, Buttermilk with her first calf on the left, Elsie Marley with her third calf on the right. Holy milk bag, Elsie.

vulva Collage

Not two hours later, we were driving back into our driveway from an evening grocery store run and we saw a black blob laying in the field. We were immediately nervous for a few reasons. The first being that we thought the baby could be premature, since Buttermilk’s bag was so small. The second being that Buttermilk was no where near her baby, but two of our other cows were gathered around the calf licking it.

Naturally, I freaked out and made Farmer Dickie stop the car in the driveway and we crawled under the fence (electric fence wasn’t plugged in at the time) to immediately check on the calf. Once we realized the calf was alive, Farmer Dickie thought it best to park the car and get the kids out, since they’d been sitting in their car seats with the doors wide open up until this point.

We moved the calf and buttermilk into the milking stanchion so we could be sure she was nursing the baby, so the other cows wouldn’t bother them for a few days, and so Buttermilk had easy access to the mineral and kelp supplements.

buttermilks baby

Somehow amidst the chaos we decided the calf was a bull (boy), so we named him Herschel. The next morning we realized Herschel was a heifer, so we decided to call her Herschey.

A couple of days later we got another little winter storm. I was so glad all of this happened to take place during great weather, instead of in the middle of the snow!


Buttermilk still has a tiny bag, but Herschey is nursing and growing fine. She’s a beautiful little Jersey- Angus cross.


Herschey 2
I will start milking Buttermilk soon to get an idea of how much milk she is producing, and to hopefully groom her to be our family milk cow. Seeing as she doesn’t try to kill me when I come near her, I’m feeling good about this plan.

As always, we shall see.


pregnant cow vulvas

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  1. I love your blog. I also love useful posts like this.

  2. Oh she is just precious!

  3. Thanks for the pics! My cow is due in a week and I’m seeing no change under the tail. I’m completely freaked out that she might not be pregnant at all. Zoinks!

  4. Great, Great, Great post!

    We have a Jersey – Angus cross that was just born 5 weeks ago also. She is black just like Herschel. Our calf’s name is, Guinevere.

    I have called her Methusala, Maleficient, Guinea pig, Genevieve and Gyeneth Paltrow. I can’t remember her name to save my life.

  5. Thank you for sharing. It was very helpful. Oh how I love being with the cattle!

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