Reports from EuroTier 2022

Promoting intestinal development in young piglets

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Arthur Dries
© GettyImages/Arthur Dries

Related tags Gut health

Specialist feed manufacturer, BEWITAL agri, was promoting its new dietary supplement for suckling piglets at EuroTier in Hanover.

The German company outlined how it has gained a lot of experience in the field of young animal nutrition over the past decades. Its current focus is in the area of NPD to promote a healthy gut and positive intestinal flora. Its new dietary supplement, BEWI-SAN Digest, is designed to do just that in piglets.

The EU ban on therapeutic doses of zinc oxide, plus the ongoing reduction in the use of antibiotics in animal farming, prompted the development of the dietary supplement.

“It is like a pre-starter feed, we want to prepare the gut for solid feed intake later on, and reduce the risk of diarrhea,”​ Hans-Bernd von Hebel, key account manager, BEWITAL agri, told us at EuroTier.

Inhibition of bacterial growth

In terms of encouraging positive intestinal development, BEWI-SAN Digest is formulated with raw materials such as carob flour, which contains certain oligosaccharides that can bind toxins, inactivate them, and eliminate them from the body, said the representative.

Carob flour contributes both to the inhibition of bacterial growth and to the prevention of diarrhea. It forms a kind of gel from the excess water in the intestine, which attaches itself to the intestinal wall as a protective layer, reported the spokesperson.

The product is also designed to stimulate early feed intake, he said. Unlike other products, it is fed from the second day of life. “Due to its slightly sweet aroma, the product is also readily taken up by young suckling piglets. This has a great influence on intestinal development even at this early stage of development.”

The supplement provides the piglet with electrolytes and compensates for fluid loss as well, reported the company.

During diarrhea, high amounts of electrolytes and fluids are lost, and must be replenished as quickly as possible. In addition, said the developer, it is important to normalize the intestinal function again and to promote the regeneration of the intestinal wall. Thus, the product comprises banana and carrot flour, ingredients that have a high-water binding and swelling capacity, which the producer said brings various positive effects: the intestinal peristalsis is stimulated, there is a re-solidification of feces and normal defecation. “This prevents the spread of pathogenic germs in the intestine.”


A trial of the product has been carried out on one of the company’s partner farms in the Netherlands. But EuroTier serves as a way for it to find partners to trial the supplement in additional markets, added von Hebel.

The product was extensively tested over several months on that Dutch family farm, which has 500 sows and significant piglet rearing.

A total of 480 litters were evaluated as part of the trial. In the test group, BEWI-SAN Digest was offered in the piglet dish directly after colostrum supply from the second day of life over a period of four days. In the control group, an electrolyte drink was offered during the same period. Subsequently, both groups were switched to the same piglet milk.

The experiment, claimed the company, showed that by using its dietary supplement compared to an electrolyte drink, both suckling piglet losses could be reduced by more than 12.6% and weaning weights could be increased by 390g, and that this advantage continues throughout the rearing and fattening phase.  

Further tests show that offering solid feed early also has a positive effect on performance and health traits, compared to supplemental feeding offered only a few days before weaning, added BEWITAL agri. “The benefits of BEWI-SAN Digest can be further enhanced if the product is offered restrictively in several portions throughout the day for a period of three days after weaning,” ​it suggests.

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