Maybe you haven’t been going to the gym yourself lately, well never mind — at least check the body condition of your cattle this winter and give them a score.
It is probably one of those management things many producers say “ya, I should do that one of these days” and maybe others feel they see their cattle on a regular basis so they have a good handle on the condition of the herd.
The point being made in a new information blog posted on the Beef Cattle Research Council website reminds producers that nothing beats doing a hands-on body condition score. (Go to their website at: http://www.beefresearch.ca and you’ll see their blog postings). So the next time you are processing cattle, or have them near a chute for something take a few minutes or an even an hour out of your day to literally get a feel for what condition cattle are in heading into winter.
I understand a lot of producers at least do a deliberate visual body condition score, but the hands-on, at least once in a while, is even better. Remember you are not just worried about cattle being too fat, they might be getting on the boney side and a good hair coat can hide that. The BCRC blog even has a link to a very simple, short and straight-forward video on how to perform a hands-on body condition score. So let’s face it, you are running out of excuses not to do it.
What’s in it for you? Generally improved performance and hopefully fewer headaches in managing the beef herd.
The Western College of Veterinary Medicine suggests that a body condition score (BCS on a scale of one to five) of 3.0 is the ideal fat cover for beef cows for several reasons, including:
- very high pregnancy rates
- very high percentage will show estrus 30 days after calving
- high calf weaning weights
- low abortion and stillbirth rates
- low risk of severe dystocia
So be like the Grey Cup champions Calgary Stampeders and get out there and do some scoring.
Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]