Condition score examples


Condition Score 1.0

This cow is too thin. She has no body reserves to draw on to meet her needs.

  • Each vertebra is individually identifiable and distinct.
  • Short ribs individually visible.
  • Thurl is extremely dished.
  • Hook and pin bones and the ligaments connecting the two are clearly defined.
  • Sunken tail head.

Cow 1

Condition Score 2.0

May be possible to get full production out of this cow but she lacks reserves.

  • Prominent vertebrae but cannot distinguish individually.
  • Short ribs are easily counted.
  • Thurl area is very dished.
  • Hook and pin bones and connecting ligaments are prominent.
  • Hollows either side of tail head.

Cow 2

Condition Score 2.5

This cow is fit to cope with most stages of lactation. The ideal target condition.

  • Rounded vertebrae - not visible as individual bones.
  • Back-bone visible.
  • ½ to 1 inch of tissue over short ribs.
  • Edges of ribs are rounded.
  • Visible, but rounded hook and pin bones.
  • Hook and pin connecting ligaments are rigid and clearly visible.
  • Visibly dished thurl.
  • Hollows either side of tail head - suggestion of fat on tail head.

Cow 3

Condition Score 3.5

This cow is at the higher end of ideal. A little extra condition easily tips her into the fat category. Ideal condition goal for heifers at calving and dry-off.

  • Fat can be felt over the back-bone and short ribs.
  • Fat obvious over the ligaments connecting the hook and pin bones.
  • Well rounded hook and pins.
  • Rounded either side of tail head.
  • Hook and pin connecting ligaments are rigid.

Cow 4

Condition Score 4.5

This cow is carrying too much fat

  • Back will appear 'solid'.
  • Individual short ribs not visible and only felt with deep palpation.
  • Very well rounded hook and pins with obvious fat padding.
  • Clearly rounded either side of tail head with no skin folds.

Cow 5


Why condition score?
How do I condition score?
When do I condition score?
Condition score examples
Score guide reference
Score chart for use on farm


Freephone advice line

0800 919808