Growing great girls!

Body Condition Scores (BCS) are a great indication of the overall health of your cows.

As the dry period looms, it is important to be thinking about how to maintain or improve the body condition of your herd to meet spring targets.

Body Condition Scores (BCS) are a great indication of the fat reserves and overall health of your cows. The team at West Coast Vets are accredited body condition scorers and can come out to BCS your herd prior to dry-off.

You should be aiming to have your herd at a BCS of 5 in spring. There are several strategies that can be adapted to achieve this, including:

  • Once-a-day milking;

  • Drying off skinny cows earlier than the rest of the herd;

  • Splitting the herds, based on condition scores, over winter to allow for priority feeding.

Young cows

For first and second calvers, a BCS of 5.5 in spring will set them up for the mating period and their introduction into the milking herd. 

These young cows are still growing and often have lower intakes, so it is important to keep an eye on their growth to make sure they are reaching targets. 

Having well grown heifers allows for better competition and adaptation when joining the herd, so they will lose less condition as a result.


  • Cows can only gain up to 0.5 BCS in a month on high quality feed;

  • They are unlikely to gain any weight in the last month of gestation before calving since all the energy is going into growing the calf;

  • Young stock haven’t finished growing themselves so are using a lot of energy.