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Help Replacement Heifers Be More Successful Calving and Breeding Back

By   /  January 28, 2019  /  1 Comment

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Heifer in BCS 6

In this video from Oklahoma State University Extension and SunUp TV, Glenn Selk, OSU Extension Cattle Specialist, talks about the key to your replacement heifers have a successful first calving: it’s good body condition. This means that on a one to nine scale, they should be at least at the mid-point of 5, and even a six is more ideal.

3 or 4 BCS

A study done at Oklahoma State University illustrates the difference between good and not-so-good body condition. This graphic shows how those heifers that were in thin body condition at calving time only rebred at a 67% rate, even when they were fed to greatly increase body condition after calving. In contrast, those heifers in good body condition at calving time, and either maintained that through the breeding season, or even had a chance to gain a little bit more after calving, had a much better breed back rates of 91 and 94%.

Note that the line midway up the chart marks a body condition score of 5 and the lines show where the heifers were on the BCS scale through the course of the study.


For more, Glenn Selk discusses this in the video below. If you’d like to learn more about body condition scoring, follow this link for more On Pasture articles.

Thanks to Oklahoma State University and SunUp TV for their excellent resources.

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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

1 Comment

  1. Emily Macdonald says:

    Thanks for this useful article. Great illustrations and graphics.

    Is there an article like this on body condition scoring of ewes?

    Why are cows scored on a scale of 1-9 and ewes on a scale of 1-5? Or are there a variety of scales and scoring systems?

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