Why do cows lie down when it’s going to rain?


For centuries, farmers and ranchers have noticed a peculiar habit of cows before a rainstorm. They tend to lie down or rest more often than usual. This behavior has led to the belief that cows have a sixth sense that helps them predict the weather. However, there are scientific explanations for this behavior that can help us understand why cows behave this way.

The Cow’s Behavior

Cows are generally active animals, grazing and moving around most of the day. However, when the weather changes, they tend to behave differently. Before a rainstorm, cows may lie down more often, rest, or seek shelter. This behavior is not limited to cows alone, as other animals such as horses and sheep tend to behave similarly.

The Scent of Rain

One of the reasons cows may lie down when it’s going to rain is the scent of rain. Before a rainstorm, the air becomes moist and charged with electricity. This change in the atmosphere can create a scent that animals may pick up on, indicating that rain is on the way. Cows have a highly developed sense of smell and may be able to detect this scent before humans.

Atmospheric Pressure

Another reason cows lie down before a rainstorm is related to atmospheric pressure. Before a storm, there is usually a drop in atmospheric pressure. This change in pressure can cause discomfort for cows, and lying down may help alleviate some of this discomfort.

Sense of Comfort

Aside from atmospheric pressure, cows may also lie down before a storm because it provides a sense of comfort. When it’s raining, cows may become wet and uncomfortable, so lying down before the storm hits can help them conserve energy and stay dry. Additionally, lying down can help protect them from strong winds or lightning strikes.

Temperature and Humidity

Before a rainstorm, there is usually a drop in temperature and an increase in humidity. Cows may lie down to regulate their body temperature and avoid overheating. Additionally, the increased humidity can cause discomfort, and lying down can help alleviate this discomfort.

Preparing for Rain

Lying down before a rainstorm may also be a way for cows to prepare for the rain. When it rains, the grass and soil become wet and slippery, making it harder for cows to walk around. Lying down before the rain hits can help them conserve energy and prepare for the slippery conditions.

The Role of Pasture

The type of pasture cows are grazing on can also impact their behavior before a rainstorm. If the pasture is located in a low-lying area that tends to flood during heavy rain, cows may lie down as a way to conserve energy and protect themselves from the rising water.

The Impact of Genetics

Finally, some scientists believe that certain genetic traits may make cows more sensitive to changes in the weather. For example, cows with a thinner coat of hair may be more sensitive to temperature changes and may lie down before a rainstorm as a way to stay warm and dry.


While it may seem like cows have a sixth sense when it comes to predicting the weather, their behavior can be explained by scientific factors such as atmospheric pressure, scent, and comfort. Understanding why cows lie down before a rainstorm can help farmers and ranchers better care for their animals and prepare for inclement weather.

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