Body Condition Scoring
The adequacy of a nutritional program can be assessed by observing changes in body weight and condition of the animal. If animals lose weight, body condition will be reduced, alerting an observant manager to a problem. Body condition is particularly responsive to energy and protein adequacy. Body condition scoring is a system of assigning a numerical score based on physical characteristics indicative of fatness. These include the amount of muscle and fat covering the spine in the loin area and ribs and fat pad at the sternum. Body condition scores range from 1 (very thin) to 5 (obese) in one-half score increments. Langston University has information on the American Institute for Goat Research Web site describing Body Condition Scoring of Goats (see following section on BCS or http://www2.luresext.edu/goats/research/bcshowto.html) and Examples of Body Condition Scores in Goats (see following section on BCS or http://www2.luresext.edu/goats/research/bcs.html).
Animals should achieve a certain body condition during specific periods of the production cycle. For example, animals should have a body condition of at least 2.5 but no more than 4.0 at the beginning of the breeding season. Prior to entering the winter a minimum score of 3.0 is desirable. Also, if body condition score is 4.5 or greater, pregnancy toxemia prior to kidding is likely, as also is the case with a score of 2.0 or less.
Reference: Detweiler, G., T. Gipson, R. C. Merkel, A. Goetsch, and T. Sahlu. 2008. Body Condition Scores in Goats. Pages 127-133 in Proc. 23rd Ann. Goat Field Day, Langston University, Langston, OK.