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Managing Sheep Body Condition Score Throughout the Year

Updated February 09, 2024
Professional headshot of Jaelyn Quintana

Jaelyn Whaley

SDSU Extension Sheep Field Specialist

Written with contributions by Heidi Carroll, former SDSU Extension Livestock Stewardship Field Specialist & Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator, and Kelly Froehlich, former Assistant Professor & SDSU Extension Sheep and Goat Specialist.

Assigning sheep a body condition score (BCS) aids in estimating external fat stores which can be used to identify nutritional and health status. Reproductive efficiency is largely determined by an animal’s nutrition. During periods of nutritional stress (winter, late gestation, early lactation) ewes need greater levels of condition for additional energy to support metabolic functions. Rams must also be monitored since low BCS can result in decreased reproductive success and longevity. However, both over- and under-condition can cause health and reproductive challenges.