Condition Scoring Cows - Overview

Condition scoringLearn these Seven points to feel on the cow.

  • Hip bones. Use the palm of your hand.
  • Backbone in the middle of the back. Use your fingers.
  • The side of the pin bones.  Feel for dimples with finger and thumb.
  • Rear end below & behind the pins. Look to see shape.
  • Feel the shoulder ridge.
  • Squeeze the shoulder ridge for bones at the sides.
  • Feel the ridge between the hip bone and backbone.

Once you’ve memorised this order, concentrate on the scores below to decide which score you stop at, and whether you go up or down from that score. If not sure if you are at the right score – go to the next one (up or down) to check if you decided correctly.

  • Feel the hip bones with your cupped hand. If these are rounded – then she’s 5 or above.
  • Feel the hip bones with your flat palm. If they are clearly flat– she‘s below 5.
  • Jiggle your fingers along her backbone to feel for hollows between the vertebrae. If she’s bumpy – then she’s 4.5 or below.
  • With finger and thumb, pinch the dimples at the side of her pins. If these are hollow then she’s 4 or below.
  • On a leg standing straight, check the shape behind and below the pins. If pin bones protrude and she's hollow (concave) below - she's a 3.5 or below.
  • Grasp the shoulder with your open palm. If there is a prominent ridge – she’s 3 or below. Note: From here on down cows are officially “emaciated”.
  • With her head up, squeeze the sides of the shoulder ridge to feel the bones. If they are prominent she’s 2.5 or below.
  • Run your hand along the back over the bone that runs between the hip bone and the spine. If this is a prominent ridge – she’s 2 and in very serious trouble.
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