Measurement of Animals

Measurement of Animals


the measurement of the various parts (points) of the bodies of animals. An animal’s exterior and constitution are evaluated to estimate its liveweight and to monitor the growth and development of the young.

Four basic categories of measurement are taken: height, length, width, and girth (the chest and extremities). The number of measurements depends on the purpose of the examination and the specific features of the animals. In scientific research requiring a detailed inspection of animals, 28 to 52 measurements are taken; for listing animals in a breed registry, 12 are taken for cattle, four for horses, and two to four for swine. The size of an animal and the proportions of its conformation are determined by height at the withers, oblique body length, chest girth behind the shoulder blades, and girth of metacarpus; additional basic measurements—length of the carina and shank—are taken in domestic fowl.

Animals are measured, usually before the morning feeding, with special measuring sticks, compasses, and tapes. Certain rules are observed: the animal must be standing on even ground, not bending its body or neck, and the legs when viewed from the side must be on the same level.

The data obtained by these systematic measurements, worked out using the statistical variations method, permit comparisons to be made among the members of a group of animals of the same or different breeds raised in different regions under different feeding and maintenance conditions. In addition, the exterior and other features of the ancestors and offspring can be monitored to trace the breed’s evolution, and breed standards can be established. The fact that the measurements have numerical value makes it possible to establish indexes (the ratio of the measurements of anatomically linked body parts in percentages) that define more precisely the conformation type of animals or their groups. The method significantly improves precision.


Kudriashov, S.A. Prakticheskie zaniatiia po kursu razvedeniia sel’sko-khoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1950.
Borisenko, E. Ia., K.V. Baranov, and A.P. Lisitsyn. Praktikum po razvedeniiu sel’skokhoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh. Moscow, 1965.


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Another advantage of this particular method is that it allows for contactless measurement, which significantly facilitates the measurement of animals, especially agricultural ones.

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