Do Cattle Predict Rain?


After much overnight rain, today was humid, overcast, and drizzly.

Kitchen Makers

It seemed a good morning to visit Kitchen Makers in Sway. The Culinary Queen has been managing with a less than ideal cooking area since we moved here three years ago. Of the two local outlets, there are no prizes for guessing why this one should have taken the Head Gardener’s fancy as the first to investigate. An on-site visit has been arranged.

Heather 1Heather 2Heather 3Heather 5Heather and gorse 1Heather and gorse 2Heather, gorse, and blackberries

Afterwards we took a drive through the forest where even the swathes of heather and clumps of gorse could barely enliven

Landscape overcast

the gloom.

Cattle 1

Now, does anyone really know whether cattle can predict rain? As a townie, I grew up believing that they always lay down when it was about to rain.

Cattle and ponies 1

It seems this is now in doubt. Whatever the truth of the matter, it was clear to us that all the ponies we peered at through the drizzle remained on their feet, whereas the cows chewed the cud in a recumbent position. Anyone wishing to examine the issue may find why do cows lie downΒ on Google helpful. On the other hand, they may not.

This evening we dined on chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, boiled potatoes and carrots, piquant cauliflower cheese, and spinach. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.



  1. If they couldn’t tell it was going to rain every day, late afternoon here in FL – they are a sorry bunch of cattle. The horses were probably just glad the rain gave them a rest from the insects.

  2. The heather and gorse are looking stunning.
    Isn’t it funny the way the more some researchers find these “old wives’ tales” are wrong, the more others find that they are right. Lying cows is a case in point. They do tell the truth even when they’re lying! Although it is argued that it is related to cold rather than wet, the effect is the same.

  3. Having been a teenager on a dairy farm I don’t know about cows lying down in the rain, but I do know it was a lot harder to get out of bed in the early morning to milk the cows if it was raining!

    What wonderful weather – I mean heather!

  4. I’ve not heard this about cows before – maybe it just applies to UK cows πŸ™‚ I read the bits offered via your link just out of curiosity and came away none the wiser…… The heather is very pretty, also not something we see here, though gorse is still a fairly common sight. I’m excited to think there is a new kitchen on the way for someone! I live vicariously πŸ™‚

  5. A normal Summers day in the New Forest perhaps?
    I don’t know much about cattle but I’ve heard, and believe, that you can always tell which way the wind is blowing, by the direction they stand, or lay.
    Always pointing/ facing away from the direction the wind is coming from; this apparently blows the dirt and dust away from their mouths and whatever they’re feeding on. Pretty clever if this is so don’t you think?

  6. Beautiful, Derrick. I don’t mind the rain (I live in a rain forest). And I also heard that cows lie down if it’s going to rain, but have no idea if it’s true. πŸ™‚

  7. Derrick, I’ve been reading your blog every morning for a while but the finesse of both words and images in your posts never fail to surprise me.

    I suspect cows may have been gifted with certain facilities by Evolution not available to humans and Science is yet to figure out the process. We have had many cows, buffaloes, dogs and even a horse in our homestead and I can vouch for their quaint capabilities of sensing evil (both living and non-living), rains, gales and omens.

  8. I love the heather but the gorse isn’t a favourite here in Australia where it is a nasty invasive weed.
    I have missed your posts while my paolsoren blog was being interned. But we are renewed in bigger and better form at
    Ants are here considered to be relatively infallible but in the arid interior of Australia it is well known that cattle can smell water and will often stampede for miles if they are thirsty.

  9. It’s a bit like the Cumbrian forecasting technique. If you can see the Isle of Man it means it will rain soon. If you can’t see the Isle of Man it already is raining.

  10. Loved the question, and clicked on the link for some answers, but found them inconclusive. I grew up on a farm, and remember cows lying down, chewing their cuds, but sadly, never questioned ‘why’. I guess I missed an opportunity to observe them better! (maybe do a double-blind study!)

  11. I love the heather shots. We had that belief too about the cattle in Tunisia and India so it seems to be a widely shared belief and perhaps that gives it some substance. Like when they say it will rain when swallows fly low.

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