Check the condition of your herd

Over-fat cows can have problems with conception and at calving.

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Condition scoring is done to see if cattle are healthy enough for breeding and production – or if stockmen suspect that animals are sick.

Figure 1

Scoring cattle condition
1 = too thin
2 = thin, but healthy
3 = ideal condition
4 = fat
5 = too fat

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Checking and scoring the condition of cattle is not difficult but requires some experience. First feel the amount of fat under the skin in the areas marked A and B in Figure 1: A is the loin area between the hip bone and the last rib.

B is the area around the tail head.

Figure 2 shows the five possible conditions.

Remember, animals that are too fat can have problems with breeding and calving. A condition score of 3 is ideal, but the score shouldn’t drop below 2.

Source: Condition Scoring of Cattle, by Jenny Turton (Directorate Communication, national department of agriculture in co-operation with ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute).