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Body Condition Scoring

Regular Body condition Scoring is a recommendation of the Red Tractor Farm Quality Assurance Scheme.  It should be a management tool that all farmers employ for their herd.  Loss of body condition score can be the first indication that the animal is not receiving sufficient nutrition to match her production needs.  Further investigations may then indicate an underlying health condition as the cause.  The use of ‘Cow Signals’ might also indicate reasons why the cow may be losing body condition – it could be environmental or as a result of the natural herd hierarchy.

There are three key times during the production cycle when cows should be body condition scored.  These are:

  • Drying off (7-8 weeks pre calving) - target score 2.5 - 3.0.
  • Pre-calving (3 weeks prior to calving) - target score 2.5 - 3.0
  • Before first service - target score 2.0 - 3.0

Lame cows are often found to have low body condition scores and managing herd foot health is critical to ensuring that all cows can access the food and water they require.  To compound this, thin cows can often be slower to cycle and show signs of reduced fertility.


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