It’s not just because the weather’s warmer.
Why are baby farm animals typically born in the spring? And it’s not just because the weather’s better. Enjoy our seasonal weather post—and, of course, cute baby animal pictures!
Many animals and birds have their babies after the start of spring. Why?
- 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! The 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!)
4. For most grazing animals, spring is the time when food is becoming plentiful, too. The warmer days and regular rainfall during spring mean 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 their 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 February 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 snowstorm and early enough to be well-developed to face the rigors of fall and winter.
The correlation between animal births and springtime has made baby animals symbols of rebirth and hope.
Ever notice the pictures of lambs, chicks, fawns, and bunnies festooning Easter cards?
Bunnies and Easter
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 the 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-eared critters became the symbol of springtime, fertility, Mother Mary, and rebirth.
Whatever your weather, it’s a season of rebirth and renewal—and who doesn’t love adorable baby animals?