Each truckload of heifer calves that arrives at the Heifer Authority in Carr, Colo., receives a report card. Body condition and basic health events are noted (see examples below). “Looking at these criteria provides a good indication of the heifers’ status when they arrive, and alerts us if they may need special care,” explains Greg Goodell, veterinarian and partner at the heifer-raising facility.

As heifers are unloaded and moved into a quarantine pen, they are scored on the following criteria:

  • Body condition score of 2.5 to 2.75. Anything less and the heifers don’t have enough body reserves to fight off a disease challenge should one occur.
  • Ringworm, an indication of the animals’ health and nutrition status. 
  • Lameness and hernias, which can indicate prior care.
  • Injuries, which can indicate how well the animals were transported.

Each group receives a percentage score for each item. If more heifers than normal fall outside of expectations, the owner is notified.