Nutritional Needs

Highline's Nutritional Objective

To provide weighing and blending of all feedstuffs into a complete ration which provides adequate nourishment to meet the needs of cows.  Our objective to ensure each bite consumed contains the required level of nutrients (energy, protein, minerals and vitamins) needed by the cow.
Table 1. Comparison of the Canadian and American body condition scoring systems
Body condition score system
Canada American (U.S.A.)
General description
Emaciated; starving and weak; the entire body is extremely thin, and all skeletal structures are prominently visible. No muscle tissue is evident and no external fat is present. All the skeletal structures are visible and very sharp to the touch. The hair coat appears to be very dull. Survival during stress is doubtful.
Very thin, somewhat emaciated; The vertebrae along the topline are prominent. The hooks and tail head are visually less prominent. There is no fat around the hip bone and pin bone and tail head.
The animal is thin. The vertebrae along the topline are prominent. Muscle tissue is evident, but not abundant. Individual vertebrae can be felt, but are not as sharp. The short ribs can be identified individually when touched, but they feel sharp rather than very sharp. Individual ribs can be identified visually. There is some tissue cover around the hook and tail head.
Individual ribs noticeable but overall fat cover is lacking; increased musculature through shoulders and hindquarters; hips and short ribs feel slightly round versus sharp.
Increased fat cover over ribs, and ribcage is only slightly visible. Muscle tissue is nearing the maximum. Generally only the 12 and 13 ribs are individually distinguishable. There are obvious fat deposits behind the front shoulder. Areas on each side of the tail head are fairly well filled but not rounded.
Back, ribs, and tail head slightly rounded and feel spongy when palpated.
Moderately fat the bone structure is no longer noticeable. The skeletal structure is difficult to identify. Individual short ribs cannot be felt even with firm pressure. Folds of fat are beginning to develop over the ribs and thurl area of the animal. Fat cover around the tail head is evident on both sides as slight "rounds" that are soft to the touch.
Fat; very fleshy, squared appearance due to excess fat over back, tail head, and hindquarters. Individual short ribs cannot be felt even with firm pressure. Mobility may begin to be restricted.


Very fat or obese - The animal has a "blocky" appearance. The bone structure is not noticeable. The back bone has a flat appearance and cannot be felt even with pressure. Folds of fat are apparent over the ribs, thurl and thighs. The hip bones and tail head to pin area on both sides are completely buried in fat. The animal's mobility is impaired by the large amounts of fat.

Chart taken from "Body Condition Scoring Your Cow Herd" on the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry website.