Body Condition Scoring

Scoring Chart

  1. 1. Emaciated
    Little muscle left
  2. 2. Very Thin
    No fat,
    bones visible
  3. 3. Thin
    Foreribs visible
  4. 4. Borderline
    Foreribs not visible. 12th
    & 13th ribs visible
  5. 5. Moderate
    Nether fat nor thin
  6. 6. Good
    smooth appearance
  7. 7. Very Good
    Smooth with fat over back and
    tail head
  8. 8. Fat
    Blocky. Bone over back not visible
  9. 9. Very Fat
    Tail buried and
    in fat


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Angus Journal


Body Condition Scoring Your Way to Profit

Welcome to the Angus Journal’s body condition scoring website — a leading resource for cattle producers interested in using body condition scores (BCS) to improve their herd nutrition and efficiency.

Body condition scoring serves as a useful, easy-to-use management tool to determine the nutritional needs of a cow herd. Using a numeric scoring system from 1 to 9, cattlemen can evaluate cows in the field to estimate body energy reserves. This information can be used to adjust feeding strategies to reach optimal BCS. Since body condition greatly affects reproductive performance as well as feeding efficiency, monitoring body condition using BCS can greatly influence a producer’s bottom line.

Body condition scores are also important in establishing selection tools provided by the American Angus Association. Along with yearling data and cow weight, which should be taken 45 days before and 45 days after a calf’s weaning measure date, BCS are essential in calculating improved mature cow expected progeny differences (EPDs) in the National Cattle Evaluation (NCE). These EPDs will then be used in the Weaned Calf Index ($W), which was released in the spring 2005 NCE. Cow weights submitted without BCS will not be used to calculate mature size EPDs.

For more BCS information please explore the site, made possible by assistance from Virginia Tech. You'll want to take special note of the video clips and photo gallery showing examples of Angus cows in BCS 3 through 9.

Editor's Note: The articles used within this site represent a mixture of copyrights. If you would like to reprint or repost an article, you must first request permission of Angus Productions Inc. (API) by contacting the editor at 816-383-5200; 3201 Frederick Ave., Saint Joseph, MO 64506. API claims copyright to this web site as presented. We welcome educational venues and cattlemen to link to this site as a service to their audience.