Effects of oestradiol implants on musculo-skeletal growth of wether and ewe lambs

O. Mahgoub, G. K. Barrell*, J. J. Bass

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oestrogenic growth promotants stimulate lean carcass growth and reduce carcass fat in livestock but little is known about their actions on musculo-skeletal growth per se. To investigate such effects, selected bones and muscles were measured in castrated male and entire ewe lambs treated from 4 weeks of age with implants containing oestradiol-17β. Half of the animals were slaughtered at 14 weeks and half at 23 weeks of age. Oestradiol treatment significantly stimulated the linear growth of vertebrae, with the effect being most pronounced in ewe lambs slaughtered at 14 weeks. The treatment also increased the diameter of some limb bones and slightly increased the length and girth of attached muscles. Castrated male lambs tended to have longer bones and longer and heavier muscles than entire ewes. This study showed that, in sheep, oestrogens cause a short-term increase in length in growing bones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Bone growth
  • Muscle growth
  • Oestrogens
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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