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Beginners Guide to Body Condition Scoring A Tool for Dairy Herd Management Web Presentation Updated July, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Beginners Guide to Body Condition Scoring A Tool for Dairy Herd Management Web Presentation Updated July, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 (Short Ribs) (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.

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

10 Extremely FatExtremely 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 Learn to Score Body ConditionLearn to Score Body Condition

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

13 All boney prominences easily visible All boney prominences easily visible Hooks, pins, spine, & ribs very sharp Hooks, pins, spine, & ribs very sharp Deep cavities around tailhead Deep cavities around tailhead Thin legs, poor muscle condition Thin legs, poor muscle condition BCS 1 Rear view

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

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

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

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

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

19 Hooks and pins rounded Hooks and pins rounded No deep depressions or fat deposits around tailhead No deep depressions or fat deposits around tailhead BCS 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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