Castration at 3 days of age temporarily slows growth of pigs

Jane Kielly, BSc; Catherine E. Dewey, DVM, MSc, PhD; Mark Cochran, BSc

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Objective: To determine whether castration, at 3 daysor at 10 days of age, was associated with subsequent weight gain.

Methods: Male piglets within a litter were randomlyassigned at birth to one of two treatment groups: either castratedat 3 days ("early") or castrated at 10 days ("late").All pigs in the litter were weighed at 1, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, and13 days of age and at weaning. For statistical analysis, castratedpigs were paired with noncastrated littermates ("early controls"and "late controls") of the nearest weight on the dayof castration. Weight gain 1 and 3 days postcastrationwas compared between castrated and weight-matched pigs.

Results: Pigs castrated early gained less weight thantheir weight-matched littermates at 1 day postcastration (P=.01).These pigs also tended to gain less weight to 3 days postcastration(P=.06) Weight gain did not differ significantly betweenthe late castrates and their littermate controls. By weaning,weight gain no longer differed between the early and late castrationgroups.

Implications: Castration interferes with piglet growthwhen performed early in the preweaning period. Castration at 3days of age temporarily reduces weight gain. Castration at 10days of age does not affect weight gain.

Keywords: castration, weight gain

RIS citationCite as: Kielly J, Dewey CE, Cochran M. Castration at 3 days of age temporarily slows growth of pigs. J Swine Health Prod 1999;7(4):151-153.

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