Body Condition Scoring: Swine

Body Condition Scoring: Swine

The body condition scoring (BCS) system for swine is very simple and is based on a five-point scale:

  1. Emaciated. Ribs, spine, and backbone prominent.
  2. Thin. Hips and backbone noticeable to the eye. Ribs can easily be felt with only slight pressure.
  3. Normal. Animal’s body is tube-shaped. Hips and backbone can only be felt with firm pressure.
  4. Fat. Bulging body. Hips and backbone cannot be felt at all.
  5. Overfat. Bulbous body due to obvious fat deposits. Hips and backbone thickly covered with fat.

With both boars and sows, the idea is to keep the score around 3 at all times.

In reality, however, sows will probably fluctuate slightly throughout their reproductive cycle. A BCS of 3.25 appears to ideal at breeding time. By farrowing time, the sow should score somewhere around 3.75. She should never drop below 2.5 at the end of a lactation.

Helpful Resource

Body Condition Scoring Graphic
This chart uses line drawings to make scoring swine easy to do at a glance.

Complete Series
Body Condition Scoring

Body Condition Scoring

By hsotr

Pulling from nearly 20 years of experience, Michelle Lindsey started Homestead on the Range to help Kansans and others around flyover country achieve an abundant country lifestyle. Michelle is the author of four country living books. She is also a serious student of history, specializing in Kansas, agriculture, and the American West. When not gardening or pursuing hobbies ranging from music to cooking to birdwatching, she can usually be found researching or writing about her many interests.