The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of orally administered spermine at various doses on intestinal maturation in sucking piglets. Thirty-six 11-day-old sucking piglets were assigned randomly to one of six treatments to receive via a stomach tube 0, 0·1, 0·2, 0·3, 0·4, or 0·5 mmol spermine per kg live weight (LW) per day for 3 days. At day 14 of age, duodenum, jejunum and ileum were obtained for biochemical and morphological analysis. Increasing the dose of orally administered spermine increased intestinal weight (linear effect, P<0·01), mucosal weight (linear effect, P<0·05), and mucosal protein, DNA and RNA contents of the duodenum (linear effect, P≤0·01) and jejunum (linear effect, P<0·01). Elevating spermine doses also enhanced (linear effect, P≤0·02) the specific activities of maltase and sucrase but decreased (linear effect, P<0·01) lactase specific activity in the jejunum and duodenum. Furthermore, augmenting oral doses of spermine increased crypt depth and villus width but reduced villus height in the jejunum (linear effect, P<0·05) and duodenum (linear effect, P<0·01). For most measurements, the effects were observed at the oral spermine doses of 0·3 to 0·5 mmol/kg LW per day. Collectively, the results show that oral administration of optimal doses of spermine to 11-day-old sucking piglets induces precocious intestinal maturation and promotes intestinal growth.