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Body Condition Scoring

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November 4, 2022
Damon Pollard

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke Center. Today’s topic is Body Condition Scoring.

With the recent drought we’ve had, livestock producers are going into winter with a great deal of anxiety. With feed costs high, and many alternative feeds being fed, nutritional balance is critical. By learning to score livestock by body condition, producers can make logical decisions on their feeding programs.

Body condition scores are simply a visual appraisal of the amount of fat covering on the animal. By looking at the fat deposition over the brisket, shoulder, ribs, spine, tailhead, hipbones and pin bones, and assigning each animal a score, producers can evaluate their nutritional program. Use a scale of 1-9, with 1 being emaciated and 9 being obese. Opinions can differ on whether an animal is a 4 or 5, however, the important thing to remember is that body condition scores divide the herd or flock into 3 groups, animals that are too thin or too fat, and those just right. If the majority of your animals fall into the just right category, 5-6, then their nutrition is sufficient, and the thin and obese animals don’t fit the environment they are in. Adjust the feed based on what your animals are showing you. Keep in mind that some groups of livestock are the exception. Bred females within 75 days of partuition should always be in the just right category, and weanling animals will almost always be on the thin side, while animals during breeding season should be gaining in body condition, so grouping animals helps to maximize production.

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke Center. If you would like more information, call us at 764-9480.

Written By

Damon Pollard, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDamon PollardExtension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock, Field Crops and Forestry Call Damon Email Damon N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center
Page Last Updated: 1 year ago
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