How to Measure a Cow

A cow's weight can be estimated with a measuring tape.
A cow's weight can be estimated with a measuring tape. (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Measuring a cow can give you an accurate idea of how thick, long, tall or heavy the cow may be. Finding a cow’s measurements can give an approximate amount of beef or milk that will be produced from the cow. Measuring a cow with a measuring tape in certain locations on its body will give an approximate weight by using a predetermined weight table. A measuring tape can also deliver other statistics you might need. If available, a scale may be used for precise weight measurements.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Bovine weight chart
  • Cattle crush
  • Livestock scale

Measuring Tape

Stand the cow up in a normal position with head facing forward and all four legs square under the body.

Use the measuring tape to measure the distance around the cow’s chest (heart girth), just behind the shoulders.

Locate the measurement taken from the cow on a bovine weight chart, such as that provided on the North American Piedmontese Association (NAPA) website, and find the corresponding weight next to it. The weight is an approximate number based upon the cow’s heart girth measurement.

Livestock Scale

Spray the cow with a water hose to clean any excess mud or feces that may disrupt proper weight determination.

Lay the livestock scale flat inside the cattle crush. The cattle crush is a large cagelike pen used to keep the cattle still while being examined, marked or, in this case, weighed.

Walk the cow into the cattle crush and make sure all four legs are squarely on the scale. Close the door behind the cow and record the cow's weight.

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