Thursday, January 6, 2011

Body Condition Scoring Useful Tool for Livestock Owners

Body condition scoring is an important and useful tool for most livestock species. Body condition scoring is a way for a livestock owner to determine if the animal is getting an adequate amount of nutrition during various times of the year and stages of production.
Observation of livestock daily is key to being a good manager; if observation is made routine, then changes in body weight and condition will alert a manager that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Many times, this is due to diet. The body weight and condition are so important is that if livestock are not in the appropriate condition score at certain stages of production, then it is often difficult for them to make it to the next stage successfully. For example, if they are not at the appropriate score going into breeding season, then it may be difficult for an animal to breed successfully.

There are excellent body condition scoring resources (with pictures) on eXtension. They can be accessed at the links below:

Beef Cattle

There are other resources as well, so take a look and try to incorporate them into your management. Be sure to take time each day to observe your livestock, and determine the appropriate times of year to take body condition scores to help you gauge if they are being managed appropriately.
(By Sara Ellicott, UNL Extension Educator)

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