Castration is the surgical removal of the testicles from boar piglets. It’s performed based on some people’s belief that removal of the testicles reduces the potential for odor and taint associated with male hormones in boars after puberty. Generally, piglets are castrated within the first 7 days of life and at the same time that other procedures such as needle teeth clipping and tail docking are performed.
Castration is one of the important management practices in swine production, especially when the aim of production is the production of pig meat (pork). Deciding the production goal helps to channel the management operation; castrated pigs are not used from breeding and multiplication of the herd. So if your breeding, do not castrate your boar piglets.
For successful castration operation, it must be done at the right time to ensure the pain induced during this process does not cause death or deformation of the pig. For this reason, this article will guide you through the best time to carry out castration, it is should be done to inflict less pain and reduce bleeding, and the behavioral response of the pig after castration. Read up!
How To Castrate Pigs
Castration in males consists of the removal of the testes or the inhibition of testicular function. Although the prevalence of castration in pigs varies from country to country, it is generally a routine practice that is performed surgically without anaesthesia in the first week of a piglet’s life. The main purpose of castration in pigs is to prevent boar taint, which is present in the meat of some entire males once they reach puberty.
Other benefits of castration include: preventing unwanted reproduction in extensive systems, reducing aggressive and mounting behaviour with their resulting injuries, and the possibility of producing a higher-quality end-product.
The castration of the male pigs is usually done with a non-sterile knife or scalpel and in the barn. The procedure is performed rapidly and it may be performed on a large number of animals on a given day by skilled animal technicians. The routine castration of pigs is not performed with pain relief, nor is it performed in a sterile field using sterile instruments. Castration is performed in a commercial production unit. Typical castration cannot be considered a surgical procedure. But it is a physical method of removing the testes.
Steps Involved In Castration:
#1. Use The Proper Equipment
Using the right equipment is the first step to ensuring successful castration. The equipment you need during the castration of a pig are:
- Scalpel and blade: These are used to make the cutting and incision.
- Gloves: For personal protection
- Towel: To wipe and control bleeding.
- Disinfectant: To sterilize the tools and clean up the pig to protect it from the pathogen.
#2. Handling the Piglet
Ensure you are calm to keep the piglet unaware of the upcoming event. Grab the piglet by its back legs gently. Keep the piglet in an upside-down position and toss the testicles into the scrotum with your thumb and keep them there.
#3. Search And Identify The Testicles In The Scrotum
Smear your hand around the scrotum in search of two protruding structures. Feel the structures and decide if they are of the same size and firmness. Make sure that both testicles move freely within the scrotum.
#4. Make Incisions Into The Scrotum Targeting Each Testicle.
With your fingers, apply pressure behind each to make them obvious before using the scalpel to make the incisions. With the pressure applied, each testicle out of the hole made with the blade. Receive the testicles with your hand and pull them with their attachments out of the scrotum. Clean the openings with disinfectant and spray with iodine.
The best time to carry out castration of pigs is during the early hours of the day when the pigs are less stressed; this time greatky reduces the pain caused by the castration process. Each process involved in the castration of a pig causes great pain and distress to the pig; starting from the handling, cutting the scrotum and spermatic cords, and post-surgical pain associated with healing. The pain usually lasts about 2 hours in piglets and maybe longer in older males.
Removal Of Boar Taint By Castration
One of the benefits of castrating pigs is the removal of boar taint, a property that reduces the quality of the meat. Boar taint is a defect that affects the odor and taste of pig meat. The presence of boar taint renders the pig meat unpleasant to the consumer. androstenone and skatole are the main compounds responsible for boar taint in pigs. Androstenone is a steroid pheromone synthesized in the testes while skatole is a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan.
Androstenone smells like urine or sweat to many people, while skatole is responsible for the dominant smell in human excrement; consumers of pig meat experience these smells if the pig is not castrated. These compounds are barely found in female pigs and castrated males. Castration is the most effective way to eliminate the existence of these compounds in the pig. It is therefore advised to castrate pigs if the objective of the production is to produce meat.