Livestock production: Effect of castration on growth

Question: What is the effect of castration on the future development of an animal?

Castration at a younger age has a bigger effect on growth, than when castration is done at a later age. Castration at the age of three months lengthens the growth process. This means the long bones in the animal is longer and thinner than when the bull is castrated at the age of two years.

The front ribs, brisket and the head lengthened and the animal develops a heaver forequarter than when the animal is castrated early.

The effect is as follows:


  • The forequarter is higher than the hindquarter.
  • Good fat distribution under the skin.
  • Less muscling, especially in the neck and forequarter.
  • Finer hair coat.
  • Thinner skin.


  • Heavier and coarser along the sides and back.
  • More defined muscle definition.
  • Coarser hair on the head, neck, top of the front legs, thighs, tail switch and sheath opening.
  • Thicker skin.
  • Less fat.
  • A more male head and better developed eye brow.

Dr Eben du Preez is a feedlot consultant.

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