Promote gut development in young piglets

A healthy intestine is crucial for the development of a healthy piglet. The piglet is born without its own immune status and at the beginning only has a passive immunity, which it receives through maternal antibodies via the sow’s colostrum. Until the piglet has fully developed its own immune status, there is an immunological gap, which often occurs during the critical phase of weaning. In addition to the stress of transport, regrouping and a change in germ pressure, there is also the change in feed. Here it is important to support the piglet as best as possible.

Rearing phase is crucial

The challenges in piglet rearing are becoming more and more extensive. Thus, the ban on therapeutic doses of zinc oxide in June this year again poses a new problem. It is well known that zinc has multiple effects, including on intestinal health and the immune system in pigs. The elimination of therapeutic dosages of zinc of up to 3 000 ppm means an even closer examination of the feeding concept on farms. An important building block for the entire breeding and fattening phase is already in the piglet’s rearing phase.
In order to provide the piglet with the best possible conditions for a successful start, it is important to influence intestinal development in a positive way as early as possible and to minimize germ pressure as much as possible. Bacteria such as streptococci and clostridia are not per se pathogenic for pigs. They are part of the natural germ flora of the pig and are therefore also found to a considerable extent in healthy pigs. The aim is to strengthen the immunity of the animals as early as possible and at the same time reduce the use of antibiotics. This is done by suppressing the undesirable bacteria and thereby promoting the development of desirable bacteria in the gut. A mature and stable immune system, a stable intestinal flora and good intestinal health of the animal form the basis for optimal growth and are the basis for exploiting the maximum growth potential. The villi growth is positively influenced, which increases the digestibility of feed and thus can reduce the feed expenditure.

Figure 1: The intestine has multiple functions and is the largest immune organ of the body.


BEWITAL agri has gained a lot of experience in the field of young animal nutrition over the past decades, which is incorporated day by day into the development of new product ideas. Currently, a lot of research is invested in the development of new products to promote a healthy gut and positive intestinal flora. One result of these new and further developments is the new product BEWI-SAN Digest. The dietetic feed for piglets is based on natural components. The main focus of BEWI-SAN Digest is to promote positive intestinal development already in young suckling piglets.

Promotion of a healthy intestinal wall

The specific and fiberrich composition of BEWI-SAN Digest also promotes intestinal activity in the posterior segments of the intestine. The dietary fiber increases the rate of fermentation in the rectum, thus ensuring a steady absorption of energy from the gastrointestinal tract, which contributes to a more constant blood glucose level in the piglets. The intestine plays an important role not only in digestion (Figure 1). It is also the largest immune organ in the body and the headquarters of the immune system. An intact intestinal wall is essential for a functional intestine. This is because it is one of the first barriers that prevents invaders such as bacteria and viruses from entering the blood and spreading throughout the body, causing damage. Intact intestinal flora is therefore particularly important for maintaining a healthy intestinal mucosa.

Special product formula

In order to meet the various nutritional and physiological requirements for positive intestinal development, BEWI-SAN Digest is formulated with a careful selection of raw materials. That is why we use carob flour among other ingredients in the composition. Certain oligosaccharides of carob flour can bind toxins, inactivate them and eliminate them from the body. Thus, 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. Nutritionally interesting ingredients of this component are also sugars and tannins. Tannins have an astringent effect in the intestine and can prevent diarrhoea. BEWI-SAN Digest promotes early feed intake thanks to its appetite stimulating effect. Unlike other products, BEWI-SAN Digest 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. This is because the early development of a healthy, stable intestine brings advantages for the entire rearing period.

Strengthening and regeneration of intestinal activity

Another significant advantage of the product is the stabilization of digestion. In case of digestive disorders, BEWI-SAN Digest can be supportive due to its special formulation. The product provides the piglet with important electrolytes and compensates for fluid loss. Electrolytes are essential for humans and animals. During diarrhoea, high amounts of electrolytes and fluids are lost. These must be replenished as quickly as possible, because electrolytes form a delicate balance in the body and are the basis for all important biochemical processes. In addition, it is important to normalize the intestinal function again and to promote the regeneration of the intestinal wall. The main influential components are banana and carrot flour. Both natural components have a high water binding and swelling capacity, which brings various positive effects. The intestinal peristalsis is stimulated, there is a resolidification of feces and normal defecation. This prevents the spread of pathogenic germs in the intestine.


Current results from practical use

The positive effects of the product were also confirmed in a practical test. On a Dutch family farm with 500 sows and piglet rearing, the product was extensively tested in practice over several months. A total of 480 litters were evaluated for the test. 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 practical test showed that by using BEWI-SAN Digest compared to an electrolyte drink, both suckling piglet losses could be reduced by more than 12.6 % and weaning weights could be increased by 390 g (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Results of piglet losses and biological performances

This advantage continues throughout the rearing and fattening phase. This is also confirmed by various studies. Piglets that have already taken in solid supplementary feed in the farrowing pen also start eating faster after weaning. This significantly reduces overeating and the associated increased risk of diarrhea caused by E. coli. In addition, these piglets show higher feed intake, higher daily gains and therefore increased body weights. 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. 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. In order to make weaning as easy as possible for the piglets and to ensure a smooth transition, BEWI-SAN Digest can be used to ensure a smooth adaptation to solid feed at an early stage. Due to the well-known taste and aroma, a prompt feed intake after weaning is guaranteed. Too little or too late feed intake after weaning is closely associated with stress-related disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, which as a consequence can lead to increased permeability of the gastrointestinal tract and ultimately to diarrhoea.

The handling of the product also brings significant advantages. BEWI-SAN Digest is easy to use in practice due to its special composition. It is easy to mix even in cold water and, thanks to its natural thickener, remains stable over a longer period of time. Feedback from the field also confirms that the product can remain in the piglet pan for several hours without any problems of quality and feed intake due to the increased temperatures in the farrowing pen.


The use of BEWI-SAN Digest offers many benefits for the suckling piglet. Whether to introduce them to solid feed, to develop a positive gut microbiota or to support physiological digestion in case of diarrhoea. With the help of the product, the piglet is accustomed to solid feed at an early stage, prepared in the best possible way for the critical phase of weaning and the occurrence of digestive disorders is reduced to a minimum. A successful and smooth weaning phase combined with positive intestinal development form the basis for successful young rearing. Last but not least, BEWI-SAN Digest can therefore be a supporting component in the reduction of the use of antibiotics or zinc oxide.