Factors Affecting Sexual Maturity in Livestock Animals.

Factors Affecting Sexual Maturity in Livestock Animals :-

There are a variety of factors that affect sexual maturity in livestock animals which can either lead to an increase or decrease in the reproduction rate of the livestock.

The onset of puberty and sexual maturity in livestock animals are the gradual processes which can be influenced by different factors such as nutrition and management, cross breeding, chronic diseases, individual differences a host of other things.

Nutrition and management

  • Good nutrition and an improved management system will enhance the onset of puberty at a very early age.
  • Poor somatic growth and emaciation which ultimately delays the onset of puberty due to the deficient feeding of protein, iodine, phosphorus, copper, iron, cobalt.
  • Lack of TDN in the feed or animal can also make them starve which leads to prevent the secretion of gonadotropic hormones by the anterior pituitary- result in failure of early puberty.

Body size and weight

  • Body weight plays more important role than the age for attaining puberty and sexual maturity.
  • If the individual animal gain less weight according to age factor, the puberty and ultimately sexual maturity will be delayed.

Genetic factors

  • The genetic components of young bulls affect the onset of puberty and maturity.
  • The larger breeds of cattle and horses have a late onset of puberty than the smaller breeds.
  • The buffalo male calves appear to attain sexual maturity later than the cattle-bull calves even with good nutrition and management; probably due to genetic difference (testicular surface area of buffalo is lesser than cattle).
  • The cross breeding causes early puberty and maturity.


  • Onset of puberty varies with species.
SpeciesAge at puberty
Bull9 to 12 Months ( range 6-18 months)
Stallion18 Months ( range 12 to 24 months)
Boar5 to 7 Months ( range 4 to 8 months)
Ram and Buck7 to 8 Months ( range 4 to 12 months)
Dog7 to 10 months ( range 5 to 12 months)
Cat8 to 10 months ( range 6 to 15 months)

Geographical location

  • The geographical location for rearing of young animals affects the onset of puberty and maturity.
  • If individual animal of one geographical area raised in another geographical area, the puberty will be affected adversely.
  • Animals located in tropical regions are late in attaining puberty and sexual maturity.


  • There is a close relationship among season of birth, body weight and onset of puberty.
  • Seasonal influences are there in sheep and buffaloes – hot season delays the onset of puberty.


  • If hormone (FSH and ICSH) release occurs at earlier age, the puberty and sexual maturity comes earlier.
  • If delay the release of hormones leads to delay in the puberty and sexual maturity.

Chronic disease and disability

  • Any disease which causes emaciation of individual, delay the onset of puberty and sexual maturity. Eg. FMD, Johne’s diseases, TB, mange.
  • Chronic diseases indirectly due to elevation of body temperature, disturbances of basal metabolism, thermal stress, anorexia, indigestion, stunted growth, emaciation, debility, weakness and endocrinological dysfunction affects the onset of puberty.

Sexual stimulation

  • The stimulation of sensory apparatus through CNS by hearing, seeing, smelling of opposite sex, causes early puberty.
  • If there is a lack of these stimulation leads to delay the onset of puberty.
  • If the male and female are kept together they mature earlier.

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If you made it to the end of this article, don’t forget to check out our other post on “Cleaning of Animal Sheds ” here.