Why Baby Animals are Born in Spring

And why are bunnies and chicks Easter symbols?

April 23, 2019
Bunny Rabbit at Easter

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Why are baby farm animals typically born in the spring? Enjoy our seasonal weather post—and, of course, adorable pictures of baby animals!

Of course, spring does provide the best weather conditions for the animals to give birth. The temperatures rise and there is less chance of harsh weather.  Also, the increased day length means that animals have longer to find food for their young.

However, it’s not just warm temperatures and daylight that they need. Air pressure is also important! University of Arkansas scientists report that spring calves tend to be born when barometric (air) pressure is high.

High air pressure discourages rainfall (think “high and dry”). Calves born when the pressure is high are more likely to have some healthy dry weather before they have to deal with cold springtime rains and snow. (Can you tell I’ve been spending a lot of time among cattle raisers this month!)

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Photo credit: Vinai Suwanidcharoen/Shutterstock

Spring calves tend to be born when the air pressure is high.

For most grazing animals, spring is the time when food is becoming plentiful, too. Many mammal mothers need fresh green grass and other plants which are rich in nutrients. These plants can have a higher percentage of protein and ‘total digestible nutrients’. This can lead to better milk production for the babies.

Most calves are born between January and May because of this reason.

Did you know: Mid-latitude animals born in spring have the best chance of survival. Tropical animals, where food is easily available all year round, are born during any season. For most middle latitude animals, it is a delicate balance between being born late enough to avoid the last snow storm and early enough to be well developed to face the rigors of fall and winter.

Baby Animals and Easter

The correlation between animal births and springtime have made baby animals symbols of rebirth and hope.

Ever notice the pictures of lambs, chicks and bunnies festooning Easter cards?

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That said, rabbits do not restrain reproduction to springtime. So why are are bunnies Easter symbols?

There are many reasons, often related to fertility. Did you know that rabbits can conceive one litter while still pregnant with another? European superstition, not knowing this, believed that rabbits were giving virgin birth. So rabbits became a symbol of Virgin Mary.

At the same time, one of the first signs of spring in Europe, was the rabbits leaving their burrows and “frolicking”. So the long-earred critters became the symbol of springtime, fertility, Mother Mary and rebirth.

Whatever your weather, remember—springtime warmth and Easter await!  Dream of chicks, lambs and bunnies—and yummy chocolate bunnies!

Enjoy more Easter folklore and facts!

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to “Weather Whispers” by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these articles. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.