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Body condition score

Even experienced farmers find it difficult to assess the body condition of deer accurately by eye. The only way to accurately assess body condition is by hands-on palpation, then scoring them against a Body Condition Score (BCS) chart.  

The Passion2Profit programme recognises the important impact seasonal changes in liveweight and deer body condition have on productivity, and the value of scoring hinds as a management tool.

Key points

BCS is measured on a five-point scale, with 5 representing ‘very good condition’ (fat) and 1 representing ‘very poor condition’ (cachexia or emaciated). However, most farmers assess using half-scores (effectively making it a 10-point scale).

BCS is used to monitor the nutritional well-being and health of hinds, particularly around the weaning, pre-mating period and the pre-calving period when it is very important to ensure hinds have sufficient fat reserves to reproduce successfully.

How is BCS measured?
How do I use BCS results?
Welfare implications
How do changes in BCS relate to changes in hind liveweight?
What are the limitations to using BCS?
Body condition score chart

More resources

If you would like a BCS poster for your deer shed, or more information, contact DINZ >> Copies are free of charge to industry participants.

Audige, L., Wilson, P.R., Morris, R.S. (1998) A body condition score and its use for farmed red deer hinds. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 41: 545-553.

How to Body Condition Score your deer video >>

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