Long-term fluctuations in population densities of reindeer and caribou are common, where pasture is the limiting resource. Pasture quality affects the nutritional status and production of the animals. Therefore, continuous in- formation about changes in the grazing resources is important when making management decisions. The objective of this study was to investigate different possibilities of using routine and additional slaughter records as body condition indicators, and thereby indicators of pasture resources in the summer ranges of reindeer husbandry. Records from 696 reindeer slaughtered in the winter 2002/2003 were included in the study. We developed a model with carcass weight as body condition indicator and two different models combining fatness, conformation, carcass weight, and body size as body condition indicators. The results showed age and sex dependent differences between the variables, and dif- ferentiation of animal age and sex improved the precision of models. Adjusting weight for body size also improved weight as a body condition indicator in adults. Conformation and fatness had good resemblance to weight and body size adjusted weight and should preferably be included, together with carcass weight and body size measures, when estimating body condition from carcasses. Our analysis showed that using non-invasive slaughter records is a good and non-expensive method of estimating body condition in reindeer.
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