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Do Cows Lie Down Before Rain?

17 May 2017, 5:00 pm

This is a tricky one.

Ask anyone who has spent any time near cows and they will tell you, without a doubt, cows lie down before storms.
Ask a scientist and you might get a similar answer, but a different use of the word, ‘lie’.

The Lore

Long before modern radar and forecasting, people came up with some pretty unique ways of predicting weather. Don’t believe me? Pick up your almanac and take a read if you want a good laugh!

This particular bit of forecasting states that before a round of storms, cows can actually smell the ozone in the atmosphere before the rain hits.
The idea is that these cows then get nice and low to the ground to shelter themselves from the pending storm.

Why Cows Lie

Is it lay or lie?

If you ask a dairy farmer, it’s probably going to be lie.

Cows work hard to produce milk. Seriously. It takes a lot of energy to fill those gallons on the grocery store shelves.
So, most likely the cow is either chewing its cud or producing milk when it’s lying down.

Likewise, you probably don’t pay much attention to the ground beef when the forecast calls for sun!

The Flip Side

It wouldn’t be a good burger if we didn’t give the other side of the argument some love.

If cows get too hot, milk production suffers. Likewise, if they get too cold too quick– production suffers.

One way cows regulate body heat to maximize milk production is by lying down. They can lie down to conserve heat or even lie down to remain cool.
It sounds silly that it works both ways, but really, it’s not that far fetched.

When we break down weather patterns in temperate climates, it gets even more interesting.

Often times a bout of storms comes with a major swing in temperatures.
A blast of heat before a cold front passes, and much cooler conditions after.

Maybe a Little Truth?

If cows are simply trying to regulate body temperatures around the major dips and rises in the mercury before and after storms, this old lore might just check out!

Let us know what you think in the comments section of social media!

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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