Why Baby Animals are Born in Spring

And why are bunnies and chicks Easter symbols?

March 17, 2020
Bunny Rabbit at Easter

Why are baby farm animals typically born in the spring? And why do we have an “Easter Bunny”? Enjoy our seasonal weather post—and, of course, adorable pictures of baby animals!

Many animals and birds have their babies after the start of spring. Of course, springtime 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!)

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. The warmer days and regular rainfall during spring means plants such as grass grow well.

Many mammal mothers need fresh green grass and other plants which are rich in nutrients to produce lots of milk for her calf. 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.

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

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



We Do Have an Easter Bunny?

Where did the Easter Bunny come from? After all, rabbits do not restrain reproduction to springtime.

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

Mike Steinberg is Senior Vice President for Special Initiatives at AccuWeather Inc in State College, Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the National Weather Association and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.