The Role of Body Condition Score in Getting a Cow Rebred

Mar 22, 2019

The Role of Body Condition Score in Getting a Cow Rebred

The Role of Body Condition Score in Getting a Cow Rebred

When newborn calves arrive, cows put their reproductive cycles on hold. Cows are recovering from pregnancy and building up energy reserves in preparation for their next breeding cycle. 
On top of that, once a cow calves her energy requirements increase by 20-30 percent due to lactation.
The challenge then becomes, how do you get a cow rebred?
Body condition score plays a big role.

Body condition score at calving matters

Too often, we don’t pay attention to body condition score until it’s too late. Calving and rebreeding is no exception.
Rather than trying to recover body condition score post-calving, focus your resources on optimizing cow body condition score at calving. Research shows that for cows that calved with a body condition score of 6:
  • 98 percent showed estrus by day 40 of the breeding window
  • 90 percent were confirmed pregnant by day 40
The same research shows a drop-in body condition score to 5 resulted in just 80 percent of cows in estrus and 65 percent confirmed pregnant by day 40.

Be proactive with body condition score

Once cows get behind, it’s hard to catch up. Cows at a body condition score 3 at calving need to gain upwards of three pounds per head per day to be at a body condition score 5 before breeding, which is difficult to do in most real-world conditions.

To help cows breed back quickly and support calf health, target mature cows to calve at body condition score 6. A quality, year-round supplementation program, including mineral and protein supplements, ensures cows have the nutrition they need to thrive and gives them a nutritional foundation to achieve ideal body condition score.
Body condition scoring your cows at key times allows you to evaluate whether your cows are on track or need nutritional adjustments for successful calving, weaning and rebreeding – during this season and future seasons.
The 90-day period after weaning is the best time to pay close attention to body condition score. By about 45 days after weaning, cows will pick up condition if feed management, including the quality and quantity of feed resources, matches cows’ needs. Forage supplementation might be needed to help cows recover.

Start before it’s too late (and costly) to improve body condition score

At three months before calving, it becomes harder to add body condition economically. A cattle nutrition program designed to keep cows in good condition at calving will be increasingly important.
Typically, it’s too late to add condition on a thin cow post-calving. But, it’s never too late to evaluate your pre-calving nutrition. A quality, year-round supplementation program ensures cows have the nutrition they need to thrive, no matter the forages available.
--Purina Animal Nutrition

Read More News

Feb 22, 2024
The Country Visions Spring Cattle Meeting is a chance to hear from industry experts about how to make an impact on your cattle's nutrition. 
Jan 11, 2023
The right nutrition early in your kid goat’s life can set the stage for their lifetime performance. Choosing the right milk replacer for your kid goats can be a daunting task. Consider these tips to feel confident in choosing what’s best for your goat herd.
Jan 09, 2023
Lambing is the most important activity that occurs in the sheep flock each year. Success or failure during lambing season is the largest single factor affecting the profitability of the sheep flock. Producers need to help stack the deck to ensure a successful lambing season.