Administration of growth promotants with estrogenic activity via hastening closure of the growth plate could have an economic impact on lambs because closure results in ovine carcasses being classified as yearlings. Twelve wether lambs approximately 12 mo old were given silastic implants filled with estradiol-17P and allotted randomly to be slaughtered 30, 60,W or 220 d after implantation to determine time of growth plate closure in relation to date of implanting. Seven comparable wethers not implanted served as controls. Four wethers implanted at 2 mo of age and slaughtered 220 d later also were included. Implanted wethers had serum concentrations of estradiol averaging 13.9 pg/ml over the 2204 implant period; controls averaged 2.7 pg/d Estradiol implants increased carcass maturity scores but fat deposition was not altered. Growth plate widths decreased (P < .05) as wethers grew older and implants were in place for longer periods of time. Metacarpal growth plates in 12-mo-old lambs were completely ossified 220 d after implanting, but control wethers and wethers implanted at 2 mo maintained growth plate widths. Neither metacarpal nor metatarsal bone lengths differed (P > .05) between control and implanted wethers. Growth plate ossification was not complete until 570 d of age in implanted lambs, even though bone length had stopped increasing by 408 d. Therefore, even though estradiol and other growth stimulants with estrogenic activity increase rate of ossification of the metacarpal growth plate, bone length or mature size is not limited. Even with estrogen implantation, growth plate closure in wethers does not occur until after 450 d of age, an age older than that at which lambs normally are marketed.