How to Body Condition Score: Sheep

body condition scoring sheep

Why is it important?

Body Condition Scoring (BCS) is a quick and easy management tool to increase productivity on your farm. Body Condition Scoring assesses the body fat of each animal, allowing you to compare ewes in your flock without worrying about breed, frame, gut fill and pregnancy. This means improved animal welfare and performance, increased conception rate, increased lamb weights, and more efficient use of feed.

How to Condition Score

To body condition score your flock, they should be packed tightly in a race. Starting from the back, walk forward and condition score each animal by placing your hand behind the last rib, feeling the spine.

Sheep are condition scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with three or four being the ideal score. Individuals with a condition score less than three indicates underfeeding and low production. These animals should be drafted and preferentially fed. Individuals with a condition score greater than four indicates overfeeding.

When should you be Body Condition Scoring?

Ideally, every animal would be condition scored every time they were in the yards. However, BCS is most important at weaning, six weeks prior to mating and scanning. By condition scoring at these times, you have enough time to improve ewe condition score prior to mating and lambing.

If you are interested in learning how to condition score, feel free to give us a call at the clinic.

- Emily Chisholm


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