U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Animal Science (1980) 51:3, 685-691


Ram lambs, wethers and wethers implanted with Silastic capsules containing crystalline testerone were placed on test at 14.9 ± 1.1 kg and evaluated for differences in growth, performance, carcass characteristics and composition. Silastic implants that were able to maintain physiological concentrations of serum testosterone provided appropriate replacement therapy in wethers. Growth rate, efficiency of feed utilization and carcass yield of intact ram lambs and testosterone-implanted wethers were superior to the corresponding traits of wethers. Wethers had greater backfat thickness and percentage kidney and pelvic fat, and their carcasses graded higher than those of ram lambs or wethers implanted with a high dosage of testosterone. Empty body composition was significantly affected by treatment. Thus, intact rams contained more water and protein but less fat and gross energy than wethers. Testosterone-implanted wethers were intermediate in composition. Carcass water and protein were not significantly affected by treatment; however, carcass fat and gross energy were highest for wethers and lowest for intact rams. The relationship between testosterone and carcass fat and energy was dose dependent; i.e., decreased fat and energy were associated with proincreased serum testosterone. In conclusion, testosterone appears to be the principal testicular hormone responsible for the superior performance and preferred carcass traits characteristic of young market rams.