May 25, 2013
Surgical Castration—Surgical castration of piglets is carried out prior to weaning, most commonly within the first three days of life. Piglets may be restrained for castration in a variety of ways including suspension by the hind legs using a castration stand or another stockperson, placement in a V-trough, or being held with a hand or between an individual’s legs.4 After the piglet is secure, either two vertical cuts or one horizontal cut is made to the skin of the scrotum, and the testes are removed by cutting the spermatic cord with a scalpel or pulling until the cord tears.4 Castration is typically performed without anesthesia or analgesia.3,4,5,6
Additionally, immunocastrated males have higher growth11 and lower feed conversion10,11 rates than physically castrated males. Recently, a pilot study with a limited sample size suggested that immunocastrated males were less vocal during handling and loading for processing, and that fewer dead and non-ambulatory pigs were observed with immunocastration as compared to surgical castration.12 While reported, the latter finding was not statistically significant.