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Help Replacement Heifers Be More Successful Calving and Breeding Back

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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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.


  1. 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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