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Beginner’s Guide to Body Condition Scoring

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Presentation on theme: "Beginner’s Guide to Body Condition Scoring"— Presentation transcript:

1 Beginner’s Guide to Body Condition Scoring
A Tool for Dairy Herd Management Web Presentation Updated July, 2004

2 This presentation is designed to
Using body condition scoring to fine tune herd nutrition and health management has become a widely accepted practice. This presentation is designed to Introduce you to body condition scoring Provide examples of cows scored 1 to 5

3 Evaluating Body Condition vs. Type
Type evaluation (classification, judging) compares animals to the “ideal” conformation Body condition scoring considers the relative fatness or thinness of animals

4 Goals of Body Condition Scoring
Early detection of potential health problems Identify areas for improved feeding management Improve herd health, production, reproduction, profitability

5 Body Condition Scoring
Visual and tactile evaluation of body fat reserves Indication of energy balance Scale of 1 to 5, increments of 0.25 Body Condition Score = BCS BCS 1 = emaciated cow (too thin) BCS 3 = average body condition BCS 5 = excessively fat cow

6 Areas to Evaluate Rump / Pelvic Area Loin Tailhead Hooks Pins Thurl
Short ribs Spine

7 Side View Rear View Short Ribs Hooks Pins Sacral Ligament Thurl Hooks
Tailhead Ligament Thurl Pins

8 (Spinous Process) If an animal is grossly fat, the bone structure cannot be seen or felt through the fat. In thin animals, the bone structures are very prominent. (Short Ribs)

9 Step-by-Step Process See “Learn to Score Body Condition” presentation on the dairy nutrition website Not a perfect science Scores should be similar ( 0.25) When measured on one animal or When measured by different people Separates average condition from extremes

10 Extremely Fat Extremely Thin

11 Examples of Scores Presented to help you see the major differences – for a more detailed system of scoring, see “Learn to Score Body Condition”

12 BCS 1: Severely Under-conditioned
Side view Bones of tailhead easy to see Prominent backbone Tips of short ribs are clearly visible Hooks, thurl, and pins very prominent Photo Not Available

13 BCS 1 Rear view All boney prominences easily visible
Hooks, pins, spine, & ribs very sharp Deep cavities around tailhead Thin legs, poor muscle condition Photo Not Available

14 BCS 2: Severe Negative Energy Balance
Tailhead prominent, limited skin cover Prominent backbone Limited skin cover on short ribs. From tip to spine, short ribs are visible ¾ of the distance Angular hooks and pins with prominent thurl

15 BCS 2 Hooks, pins, & thurl prominent
Tailhead area somewhat hollow, but has modest covering of flesh

16 BCS 2.75: Slightly Thin Visible backbone
Tip of short ribs smooth, but visible Hooks angular, but pins padded by fat V-angle formed between hooks, thurl, and pins

17 BCS 2.75 Hooks angular, but pins more rounded or padded with fat
Hollow below tailhead compared to a BCS 3

18 BCS 3: Good Condition More flesh covering backbone
Tip of short ribs smooth Hooks and pins rounded and smooth V-angle formed between hooks, thurl, and pins

19 BCS 3 Hooks and pins rounded
No deep depressions or fat deposits around tailhead Score 3 is used for cows in good condition. This is a result of proper attention given to ration formulation, monitoring cows for changes in bodyweight, and making ration adjustments when necessary.

20 BCS 3.25: Slightly Fleshy More flesh covering backbone
Tip of short ribs very smooth Hooks and pins more rounded and smooth U-angle formed between hooks, thurl, and pins

21 BCS 3.25 Rounded hooks & pins Sacral and tailhead ligaments visible

22 BCS 4: Over-conditioned
Backbone barely visible Short ribs very smooth, tips barely visible Hooks and pins very smooth, but visible Flat between hooks and pins

23 BCS 4 Hooks & pins rounded, but visible Rump and thurl flat
Sacral and tailhead ligaments not visible

24 BCS 5: Severely Over-conditioned
Backbone not visible Short ribs flat, bones not visible Hooks and pins not visible Flat over rump and tailhead

25 BCS 5 All boney prominences rounded and covered in fat
Tailhead buried in fat Fat deposits readily seen on rump and legs

26 Summary The body condition scoring scale Determining a cow's BCS
Under-conditioned cows = BCS 1 Over-conditioned cows = BCS 5 Determining a cow's BCS Look at pelvic area and loin Fat deposits become evident  cow is over conditioned Bone structures become prominent  cow is thin

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