Dairy Cow Body Condition Scoring

This comes to us from Livestock 360, courtesy of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Body condition scoring (BCS) is a method of evaluating fatness or thinness in of an animal. Research and field experiments have shown that body condition influences productivity, reproduction, health, and longevity. Poor body condition can be a clue to underlying nutritional deficiencies, health problems, or improper herd management. If done on a regular basis, body condition scoring can be used to troubleshoot problems and improve the health and productivity of your animals. For dairy cows, a BCS scale is used that ranges from a score of 1, which is for cattle that are very thin, to 5, which is for cattle that are excessively fat. Body condition scores will vary from one evaluator to the next. As long as the same individual evaluates the animals each time and that person is consistent in assigning scores to a cow, the information will be very useful. Changes in body condition score are what are important. When scoring a cow you look at and feel specific parts, including: rump, chine, loin, hips, pins and tail head. Feeling cows who are loose skinned or hairy, to evaluate fat cover, may be necessary because they can appear to have a higher BCS score than they really have. Here are guidelines on how to score your cattle. Score of 1 • Individual short ribs have a thin covering of flesh. • Bones of the chine, loin, and rump regions are prominent • Hook and pin bones p

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