13. February 2019

A farrowing booster feed

Peri farrowing

To make farrowing easier and to improve the start of lactation of sows, Vilofoss offers a way to act on their dietary electrolyte balance using FarrowPulse.

“Punchier” sows during farrowing makes for less stress to farmers. This is what Vilofoss offers with FarrowPulse. “The aim is to help sows through a quicker transition from ‘gestation’ to ‘lactation’, managing multiple farrowing problems, i.e. the duration of farrowing and muscle tone, the number of stillborn piglets, and also when lactation kicks in,” explains Pierre-Stéphane Revy, Head of R&D and Formulation at Vilofoss France. This is why the company decided to create a complementary feed, capable of lowering the electrolyte balance (EB) (Na+ + K+ –Cl-), in particular, in sow feed during the peripartum period. According to the specialist, “Lowering EB facilitates the mobilisation of calcium in the bones through the acidification of the blood, thus optimising uterine contractions“. This well-known fact is generally achieved through a change of feed in the farrowing pen, providing the change is made prior to farrowing. FarrowPulse can be used to strengthen this effect.

To achieve this, the feed contains calcium chloride. "A recently published article (1) demonstrated that this can significantly reduce farrowing times and the number of stillborn piglets,” added Pierre-Stéphane Revy. Vilofoss chose to add the ‘warm milk’ flavour to overcome the lack of palatability of the calcium salt and to disguise the smell. The particularity of FarrowPulse lies in the phosphor contained in the formula, which acts as an enhancer of the effect of calcium chloride. “Trials conducted at the Schothorst Research Centre (the Netherlands, 2014) revealed reduced farrowing times when EB was lowered, and even more so when phosphor was added,“ said the specialist.

The number of stillborn piglets halved

He continued: “We then tested FarrowPulse on six French pig farms. On average, the number of stillborn piglets was halved. Moreover, the piglets saved were not necessarily small, and continued to develop until they were weaned. The farmers also noted improved sow behaviour before and after farrowing. A particular benefit of the product is that it acidifies urine, limiting the development of pathogenic flora, and therefore enhances the well-being of the breeding sows and their piglets. Furthermore, on a French farm with 800 sows, for example, piglet weaning weight rose from 6 to 6.5 kg at 21 days of age, which goes to show the better start to lactation achieved using FarrowPulse.”

Farrowing management, therefore, seems easier with this feed, thus improving the working conditions for the farmers, as per the testimony of Rose-Marie Allain.



  • A complementary feed in powder form or pellets to boost farrowing
  • Given to the sow seven days before and three days after farrowing
  • Distribution: top feeding or mixed with peri farrowing feed, 100 g per sow per day
  • Packaging: 25 kg bags
  • Manufacturer: Vilofoss
  • Marketing: Vilofoss and customer distributors


The benefits

  • Shorter farrowing times
  • A reduction in the number of stillborn piglets
  • Less farmer intervention on the sows


BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS- Rose-Marie Allain, employee at the SCEA, la Ville Péan in Hénanbihen (22), France, 800 sows

“We started using FarrowPulse in February 2017. We sprinkle it by hand, that way we are sure how much the sows receive. It is palatable, and they take it easily; in fact, to such an extent that we give it to them at the same time as the feed, to avoid them having to get up. On our farm, it takes 15 minutes a day to give it to 42 sows in the farrowing pen. It is a little awkward given the layout of the rooms where the females face the walls, but we gain in the long run as we intervene far less often. Farrowing does take place under good conditions. The sows go to the end of their pregnancies and are more energetic during farrowing. We rummage less and they deliver properly. Consequently, we have reduced our use of oxytocin. In addition, the breeding sows eat well and no infections have been noted, which enables us to prepare them properly for the next reproductive cycle. The piglets are extremely vigorous. However, FarrowPulse has not enabled us to reduce the number of stillborn piglets, which was already low (on average, about 0.7 stillborn piglet per litter). On the downside: the product is volatile, so we will use it in the new pellet form in the future.”


(1) Elrod et al.2015.


by Elisa TAURIN December 2018 / No. 537 / Porcmag