This little horse didn't start shedding any hair until the middle of April in 2014.

Livestock haircoats: The natural weather predictor

If you are a livestock owner, you may pay closer attention to the thickness of the hair coats on your livestock than you do the calendar when you try to predict future weather. Animals have of a way of knowing how and when to best prepare for future weather.

The winter of 2013/2014 was no exception to the animals’ ability to predict the weather.  It seemed to me that as fall came to a close, the horses were sporting more winter hair than they had in the past. It also seemed like they were growing it sooner than normal.

I wasn’t too alarmed about my horses’ early, thicker winter hair coats until the weather turned cold in the middle of November and basically stayed that way. Heated water buckets that normally didn’t appear in my barn until the middle of December or even January were permanently in use without interruption from November through the winter and early spring months.

As the calendar moved into March and April, humans started looking for warmer days. We did have a few nice days, but though my horses were shedding some of their winter coats, they didn’t start shedding in earnest until early or mid April. We had a really long cold spell that had few interruptions from November 2013 to early April 2014.

The horses continued to shed their heavy coats of hair throughout April and now that we have entered May they seem like they really believe that summer will soon be on its way.

Let’s hope so because after such a long cold spell, I think humans and animal alike are ready to shed their winter coats and enjoy some sunshine.

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